About Our Founder and Primary Instructor Barry Carstetter
Growing up in the Appalachians; Southern West Virginia (on a dairy farm) and Northern Pennsylvania, where he finished high school, Barry Carstetter began learning Spanish as a youth, even though he had not yet met even one Spanishspeaking person, and would not until he was fifteen.
Barry had a burning desire to learn the Spanish language. His childhood heroes were Zorro, The Cisco Kid, and movies that depicted the genre of Old Mexico, i.e. Clint Eastwood's Spaghetti Western's. He loved the music of Santana, Malo, Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass and The Baja Marimba Band.
By chance, one day at the city library he noticed old and damaged books and records being thrown away. After a little dumpster diving, he came across a set of ten, slightly damaged, LP records containing hundreds of Spanish phrases. After memorizing all the phrases from the records, he then enrolled in Spanish classes at his local high school. However, after years of traditional classes of verb conjugations and grammar drills, making straight "A's" and even becoming President of his high school Spanish Club, he became disillusioned with the traditional academic approach to learning and eventually concluded that fluency, in any foreign language, could not be achieved in a classroom. He believed that if he were to truly achieve his dream of speaking Spanish fluently, he would have to acquire it and not just study about it out of a textbook, in the stark, cold setting of a classroom.
So after graduation, he became a volunteer with a non-profit organization which led him to south Texas and eventually on to Coahuila, Mexico, where he taught illiterate native speakers to read and write Spanish in an all-Spanish speaking environment. It was during this time that he began to speak Spanish with native fluency and formulate some of his own theories about how language is acquired.
In 1987, Barry attended a workshop presented with the methodology called Accelerated Learning. The workshop was facilitated by Robert Kiyosaki, an American investor, businessman, self-help author and motivational speaker, best known for his N.Y. Times Bestsellers "Rich Dad Poor Dad" series of motivational books and other material published under the "Rich Dad" brand. The impact it had on Barry was phenomenal. He asked Robert and his team about the method and where could he learn more.
Because Accelerated Learning was developed in Russia, information about Accelerated Learning was scarce during the Cold War. Barry discovered that the first real test of Accelerated Learning was performed with a a group of 12 students who learned the Italian language by taking a course that was presented in 3.5 hours per day, five days per week, over a period of five weeks. Uniformly, participants achieved a basic conversational ease in words, testing above 90% accuracy in recognition and recall, and 65-70% retrieval capacity.
As a result, the young man who once concluded that foreign language could not be learned in a classroom, went on to create a system of classroom teaching and learning based on Dr. Georgi Lozanov's Accelerated Learning, that to date, Barry and his teachers have successfully used to teach more than 10,000 students in the U.S. and abroad to speak Spanish.