From September 2005 until December 2010 Jane Cronin was teaching Spanish to large audiences in various locations throughout the Costa Blanca and Costa Cálida areas.
After becoming well-known locally for her Spanish teaching on radio and television, Jane launched the project with a complete beginners “Survival Spanish” course, organised by Torrevieja Town Hall Office for the Attention of International Residents. Within a few days of being announced the office had signed up 160 students with many more names added to a waiting list. Attendance at the course was also exceptionally high with the vast majority of students successfully completing the entire twelve week course. . This first level Survival course was designed to give students a basic knowledge of everyday spoken Spanish and an insight into the Spanish way of life.
After three more sessions of “Survival Spanish” scores of students were requesting a follow-on course. This second level course was launched in January 2007 and entitled “Essential Spanish”. The demand was such that by 7 o’clock on the first morning of registration a large queue had formed outside the town hall office, two hours before the doors were actually due to open.
The “Essential Spanish” course was designed to teach students to start piecing the language together for themselves without resorting to complicated grammatical explanations. It has been consistently attended by more than 200 students at a time, most of whom follow it with intense interest and enthusiasm.
During the same period Jane started running both level courses in the Hotel Thalasia, San Pedro del Pinatar, with similar success.
In September 2008 Jane launched a third level course entitled “Practical Spanish” aimed at taking students forward into a real working knowledge of the language. Around 230 students followed the first session in Torrevieja and San Pedro. In January 2009 Jane stopped working under the umbrella of Torrevieja town hall taking the Torrevieja courses to Los Arcos restaurant where enrolment has continued to be extremely high. In early 2009 Jane started travelling once a week to Urbanización Camposol near Mazarrón to teach her Spanish courses there, starting with Survival Spanish Her fame clearly went before her with 100 people quickly signing up for this initial experience. Jane’s aim is to establish her presence at Camposol so that she can take students through all the course levels.
During 2009 requests started pouring in for a fourth level course, which Jane launched in Torrevieja and San Pedro in September 2009, having piloted a shortened version from April to June 2009 in San Pedro del Pinatar. Another challenge is to provide audio teaching materials to accompany the courses. This has been done very successfully with a “Survival Spanish” CD and booklet covering the contents of the level one course which can be purchased via this site [ here
]. The intention is to produce similar materials for each of the levels.
In January 2010 a fifth level was launched which continues the quest to understand the structure of the Spanish language, including the use of the subjunctive, still keeping to conversational forms and usage where possible.
Finally, 26th April 2010 was the date for the launch of the level six. This course brings together many of the themes and structures of the previous courses, working more with texts and comprehension skills to provide meaningful contexts to the language.
The success of these courses can be attributed to a number of factors. Firstly, of course are Jane’s skills as a teacher and communicator as well as to her ability to inspire people with confidence. In addition the audience format works well with many people who would shy away from a classroom setting. However, Jane’s personal belief is that her success proves there is a real hunger to learn, provided information is put across to people in the right way. The consistently high attendance figures give the lie to the popular belief that English residents in Spain are too lazy or ignorant to learn Spanish. “Most of my students are of retirement age, with some in their eighties and even one or two ninety-year-olds. They are mainly people who have come to Spain to retire and would not otherwise think of learning a foreign language. The greatest satisfaction I find is when many of them tell me how much more confident they feel about communicating with the people around them and how much more at home they feel in Spain.”