The foreign language courses in the U.K. were arranged much differently than the typical U.S. language course. It seems that every American textbook series starts with the present tense in Spanish I, the Preterite and Imperfect Tenses in Spanish II, the conditional and future added in Spanish III, etc. In the British courses, the students began Spanish I with a focus on talking about themselves. They worked with all different tenses - past, present, and future - but only used them to speak about themselves. In the second year, they added the second person singular and plural as they began to ask questions of others. They were able to respond to questions about themselves by using the knowledge gained the previous year. In the third year, they began to talk about others in the 3rd person. This was such a different organization than what I was used to, but it piqued my interest.
This progressions seems to make a lot of sense. We start out talking about the most important person - ourselves. After that, we begin to use words to get what we want from others ("Hey, you!". Finally, we get bored talking about ourselves and turn to talking about other people, behind their backs when possible. My students have always had trouble switching tenses, but that makes sense. For each tense there are so many endings that in speech, when there is less time to think, they just get lost. What if there were only one ending to focus on that first time? Just the "yo" form, just the "tú" form, etc. Would our kids be better able to switch between the past present and future?
If you are lucky enough to be the only Spanish teacher, or if you have a lot of freedom, I would encourage you to be my guinea pig. If I was in a position to do so, I would immediately try this. Unfortunately, I have a department of 8 other Spanish teachers to coordinate with who would NOT be down for this. If I ever open my own school, this is first on my list!