It’s not everyday that one happens upon a book on foreign language pedagogy in one’s library. When I saw Teaching Spanish, My Way it surprised me that it would be something my library would carry. Most libraries don’t carry books about teaching unless they are connected to a college. I’m always looking for ideas to spice up how I teach, especially for my Spanish classes.
I had really high hopes for this book. Alas, they were two high. The opening chapter gives the author’s, Dee Eldredge, philosophy of teaching. It’s clearly meant for community or liberal arts colleges. Any high school or elementary teacher would have had a class on the topics that Eldredge addresses. Eldredge is sometimes patronizing in his tone regarding what “good” teachers should and shouldn’t do. It becomes humorous at some point, waiting to here what new shade he’s going to throw towards the “bad” teachers.
He then launches into a 100 page explication of Spanish language and grammar rules. This is definitely something you should read if you need a cure for insomnia. The odd thing about the inclusion of this chapter in the book seems to convey Eldredge’s feeling that most Spanish teachers have no background in Spanish language and culture. For me, as a high school Spanish teacher, it seems that Eldredge feels his collegiate colleagues aren’t well versed in these topics. So ultimately, this isn’t a book for high school teachers. If you’ve been certified to teach Spanish, you’ll know all of this already.
Eldredge means well, there was a lot of organizational problems compounded by poor writing. I liked best the historical analysis of the development of the Spanish language and liked least the 100 pages of Spanish grammar rules. This is more of a skim-to-read-what-you-want sort of book not a cover-to-cover read.