Say Adios to Your Old Spanish Textbook: Chris Anama-Green Has Written a Brand New One

Posted by Monica Hoel

Don’t like the textbook you’re using in class? Write your own!

That’s what Dr. Chris Anama-Green did.

He noticed that the Spanish textbook he was using didn’t really relate well to his high school kids in Harlan, Kentucky. Textbooks tend to be written in broad terms so they can be sold widely, but the stories and settings used in those books just don’t always relate well to a rural student’s real-world experience.

Chris says another reason he took on the project of writing a new textbook is because the standards for teaching language in Kentucky have changed somewhat; there is now a little less emphasis on perfect verb conjugation and a little more focus on being able to actually communicate in another language. Current textbooks tend to be very “grammar-heavy.”

Cover of Chris Anama-Green's new Spanish textbook, Viajes desde Appalachia.So, Chris and his husband, Emmanuel Anama-Green, set about the business of writing a new Spanish language textbook. Emmanuel also teaches Spanish at Harlan County High School. The new creation relates more naturally to rural Appalachia and makes room for students to talk understandably in the new language they are learning. Viajes desde Appalachia (translated, “Trips from Appalachia”) trades references to a city bus for a scene on a school bus. And it uses town names that are found in Harlan County and surrounding areas – not city names like New York City.

Chris is also really creative in how he teaches his students. In Spanish I his students are required to call hotels in Spanish-speaking countries to ask questions. They have to ask about cost, availability, and what amenities are at the facility. He says he expects more from them than they think they can do, but after they complete the assignment they have newfound self confidence in using their new language skills.

Chris has taught for 6 years, and 5 of those have been spent at Harlan High School. He finished his Ed.D. in education at University of the Cumberlands, and is constantly looking for new ways to challenge and encourage his students. His belief in the abilities of his students is so great, that he created them their very own textbook.

The book is now available for others through Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

  • Chris Anama-Green, Emory & Henry Class of 2008

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