Dan Berman

Former Agricultural Attaché American Embassy, Mexico

I was a student of Mr. Castro for the first 6 months of 2011. During that time he took me from a beginner level to a point that I feel confident in my ability. I have studied 2 other languages, and am in some position to judge his methods compared to others I have experienced. The best way I can summarize this is to relate that before I began my study I asked the school to rotate teachers, and after I started with Mr. Castro, I resisted my own request. Mr. Castro has several qualities important to successful language teaching: first and foremost is patience; wherever the student is, he will meet at that point and proceed, always correcting, but never inhibiting expression. Next is being focused on the student rather than himself; the class is mostly spent with the student speaking, rather than listening, as is too often the case. Following this is flexibility; he interweaves grammar with conversation from the outset, to encourage the students to begin to express themselves from the outset. Finally, innovation; he uses the internet in very unique ways which combine challenging learning with diversion. My job requires high-level economic literacy, and as soon as he understood where I was going, Mr. Castro tailored part of our program to my individual needs. The other part of the program was his original text/method ‘Peru Spanish‘. This is a progressive series of lessons that present grammar and vocabulary concepts through a unified format that starts with a fictional narrative or informative essay, and then adds supplementary exercises. Again, the emphasis is on quickly getting to the important takeoff point of self-expression,. I found it a useful format for breaking the language into digestible chunks. On a personal note, I deeply admire Mr. Castro as a person, and see how his optimism leads him to always encourage the student; I always knew that our interests were the same and that my success was his success. I conclude where I began: Luis Castro is a unique instructor who has integrated his own style into his textbooks in a way I found very effective.

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