Only if it were required for a class would I use this book. It is typical of a class of texts designed more to market the product in pieces than to teach a language.
There are no answer keys to the many fill-in exercises thus making the exercises useless to the student working on their own, which is the case for almost all college courses including language instruction. (The instructor can only point the way and help correct errors; the student is otherwise on their own. Given class sizes, it is not possible for an instructor to guide each student to success in the subject even if the instructor wanted to.) People learn language by observational learning and feedback that they are doing things correctly, being able to learn from error correction, too. No answer key means no feedback. Doing the fill-in exercises is a good idea only if the student can immediately determine if they have got it right and to make corrections if they have made errors. The lack of an answer key shows a lack of pedagogical insight on the part of the authors and publisher.
The lessons are keyed to both a CD and DVD set. That is fine for those who need some instruction in how to pronounce Spanish text but the competition from other sources offers the same information from zero cost to way below the college text prices. The text in this case also offers far less cogent instruction than off-the-shelf competitors. Anyone who has to decide between paying their cost of living and paying for college texts can appreciate the difference.
The list of verb conjugations for regular verbs at the end of the test is very badly designed. There is no English equivalent supplied for these conjugations. Again, that means no way for the student to quickly see if they understand the material. Most if not all of us do not consider our native English in terms of technical labels of verb conjugations, but rather in terms of person or things acting, number of persons or things to which the verb applies, object of the verb, tense (past, present, future, infinitive), and so on--using model examples. It would have taken little trouble to add model English to the tables, but the authors failed to recognize the needs of the student.
The supposed lessons in culture of Spanish speaking countries are at best inadequate. Sociology and history are best taken up in texts devoted to those topics. I don't think the authors are willing to expand their text to include short articles that would resemble National Geographic en espanol, but anything less cannot be taken seriously. Text references to the names of professional celebrities who happen to be native speakers of Spanish, without some background information on same, assumes the reader has not much better to do but stare at the infamous idiot box and get reinforced for recognizing the names of Spanish-speaking actors, musicians, and athletes. (Were that the case, the reader would not have time to learn a foreign language. Watching a bit of Spanish language television each day can help, but the content does not.)
- Hardcover: 576 pages
- Publisher: Heinle ISE; 3 edition (3 October 2007)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1428205047
- ISBN-13: 978-1428205048
- Product Dimensions: 20.3 x 2.5 x 25.4 cm
- Boxed-product Weight: 1.3 Kg
- Customer Reviews: 20 customer ratings