"I have had Jose Bermudez Cuadros as a Spanish teacher for ten years and have found him exceptional in clear explanations of vocabulary, grammar and idioms and have also had his two books, both the basic and advanced and can highly recommend both him and them to anyone learning Spanish. I have also found him very flexible in fitting in with my schedule."
We started with no knowledge of Spanish at all. We used 'El Mundo en Español - Beginners to Intermediate' for Levels 1 and 2. The book is designed to make learning easy and painless for the beginner. It starts with a comprehensive pronunciation guide, and introduces students to all the necessary components early on, i.e., numbers, articles, genders, pronouns and the most important verbs. Each chapter contains a vocabulary and practice exercises, so students start to speak Spanish right away. Grammar and syntax is introduced as needed and practiced immediately, so the student is never bogged down with trying to memorize huge chunks of non-conversational knowledge. The table of contents is clear, and detailed enough that it is easy to find a topic. The appendix contains conjugations of all the verbs taught in the book, an invaluable resource. It also includes a vocabulary list. The book was designed so that students (and teacher) do not necessarily have to build from chapter to chapter. After learning the basics, you are free to pick and choose from more advanced chapters based on what you feel is most important. Most impressive was that I was able to understand spoken Spanish and hold slow conversations before finishing Level 2. In contrast, I have studied another language before, and found that the books and methodology used were technically sound, resulting in decent reading comprehension but little conversational ability.
'El Mundo en Español - Advanced' was used in Level 3. It introduces more advanced tenses and structures, with the focus being on conversation and reading and discussing stories and writing out more detailed answers to questions. It follows the same model as the first book and is equally well thought out.
I really enjoyed José's classes. His style is casual and conversational but professional. He does not lose track of the fact that learning a language is hard work, but his interaction with the students is so much fun that I really didn't notice the work. There is always time for questions, jokes and fun comments in every class. He is always encouraging, never negative even if students are having a tough time with a topic. Somehow he was able to put on a great learning experience for each student with classes consisting of many levels of competency. He understood the different needs, confidence and skill levels of each student, and would challenge the ones who wanted that approach and gently guide those who were more tentative. Classes felt more like a fun social event than a chore, but not at the expense of learning. I have taken 5 courses with Jose. I was able to get by in Spanish in Costa Rica after 3 courses, and now I feel ready to take part in the local 'Spanish Cafe' nights where only Spanish is spoken. In summary, José is an experienced and skilful teacher with a great sense of humor, and he gets great results. I intend to take more advanced courses with him.