You're a chicken: The Evolution of Purdue Safety Spanish

October 7, 2013
When it comes to learning – you’re a chicken. A free-range chicken, to be more specific. I’m not implying you are frightened. Not a “chicken” in the 8-year-old insult sense of the word.
When it comes to learning, you’re like a free-range chicken… you’re a free-range learner.
You’re in constant motion, busily moving from activity to activity throughout the day. You’re mentally juggling any number of priorities from work (problems, opportunities, relationships) to family to personal development to fantasy football.
When it comes to learning, you need room to roam too.
You need free range to do what you want, when you want. A learning schedule that demands you sit down and learn from 1-3 pm on a Tuesday afternoon – and retain what you’ve learned, ideally – isn’t very realistic. The other priorities in your life are tough to ignore simply because a mandatory online webinar is starting.
At Red Angle, we’re obsessed with customizing free-range learning programs to help our Clients. For example, the students at Purdue’s Building Construction Management program. We’re entering our second year of our partnership with Boilermaker U. as the students of BCM 457 – Construction Safety – learn Safety Spanish as well.
Students will learn the most critical Safety terms to communicate with Latinos on the jobsite in their language of preference: Spanish. Latinos are nearly 2x as likely to be injured or killed on the job. Preparing the next generation of construction managers to connect with Spanish-speaking workers is critical.
Students are free-range learners as well – choosing to learn when it suits them best. Given BCM 457 takes place M-W-F at 7:30 and 8:30 am… the classroom often becomes the least likely place they’ll retain new information (especially on Fridays).
With free-range learning in mind, Red Angle expanded our training tools for this term. It starts with the daily online training that only requires 3-4 minutes per day. Then we include a customized Safety Spanish book, complete with Indiana University potshots and Gene Keady references. The Safety Spanish portion of the class is 6 weeks long, so we have 6 individual workbooks, one for each week.
Surveys of past classes indicated Flash Cards were popular, so we created a custom set of 70 flash cards + container. The container is waterproof, so it can withstand an accidental swim in a pitcher of beer (hey – free-range learning may include bars…).  We also have an audio book available for download.
Our belief is if we develop these custom tools and make them easily accessible (online, on their iPod, in their hands, in their backpacks), they’re more likely to use them whenever it fits their schedule.
Free-range chickens can roam around the farm and eat when they want.
Free-range learners can roam around campus and learn when they want.
Our job as trainers and teachers is to make learning as easy as possible.
Teaching tools should make learning easier for students. Tools and methods should adapt to the students… instead of forcing students to adapt to us.
El Presidente

Bradley Hartmann is El Presidente of Red Angle, a Spanish language training firm focused exclusively on the construcción industry. Hartmann has been successful improving Safety, Productivity and Profitability by speaking Spanish on the jobsite. Hartmann lived in Guadalajara, México, during his undergraduate studies and later earned his MBA. Hartmann also teaches Construction Spanish at Purdue University’s Building Construction Management Program. He has authored two books: Spanish Twins: Start Speaking Spanish on the Construction Site with Words You Already Know and Safety Spanish: Simple Spanish Skills for Solving Safety Problems. Hartmann would love to hear your thoughts digitally at or at 630.234.7321.