I spent thirty years as a Naval Officer, in Nuclear Submarines, and after retirement went back and got a Ph.D. in mathematics. I now teach at the University of Arizona. I guess that gives me a little more life experience, and a somewhat more demanding attitude towards things. I am learning Spanish because it is useful in Tucson, and I teach content courses to pre-service elementary teachers. I am interested in the teaching and learning of mathematics.
The teaching at ILISA, albeit of a different subject, is impressive. The first step is placement; what you learn builds on what you know. My class is challenging but not overwhelming — they were right on target. By design there’s a new teacher every week. People express themselves just a little differently, and the change improves your comprehension. The transition was flawless. Without being told, I know the two teachers did a meticulous turnover. Teaching is a carefully crafted enterprise here. There is a lot of conversation, and so we make a lot of mistakes. Their treatment is creative; the territory around the mistake is explored until the student develops a clear picture of the linguistic structure, so that the same mistake is less likely in the future.
And it is fun! There are afternoon trips to interesting places, all in Spanish, and you walk away saying, “Hey, I understood that!!!” The home stay, people, society, sights, music, natural surroundings are all about what the brochure said. I’ve made empanadas in someone’s home, danced salsa, been to a family birthday party. I’ll go home with lots of great memories, and much more Spanish than I came with. ILISA has my unqualified recommendation.