Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Why use Real Language right away? Part One : It will motivate your students to learn more.

Since Denise and I have been using the conversational model in our classrooms, we have seen a dramatic change in our students—especially in terms of their confidence and motivation.  This change has spurred them on to reach new levels of language competency, and it has increased overall student success.

We decided to take a step back and ask ourselves why these changes have occurred.  For this post, (the first in a series of three) we will focus on the question of motivation.  How has the Real Language right away program made our students more confident and eager to learn?  Here are a few reasons:

Students practice the language in a low-stress atmosphere.
Students practice with a partner, and they become increasingly comfortable using the language.  Everything they need to have a meaningful exchange is provided for them—compelling graphics, English translations, and a dialogue.  Students learn better when they are having fun and feel relaxed.

After much practice, students feel ownership of the language.
The situations are often funny and easily modified.  Once students are comfortable with the basic structures and expressions, they naturally begin to create and piece together what they want to say.  It doesn’t take long before we see them adding bits of language to their everyday speaking-- it's beautiful to see them spontaneously use new expressions and vocabulary!

Expectations are clear and reasonable; evaluations are focused.
The oral and written evaluations provided in the curriculum give the students a sense of satisfaction.  In Level I, the written evaluations focus on vocabulary recognition.  If the student can match up the image to the word, they have succeeded.  For a young elementary school student, there is no greater satisfaction than seeing an A+ on his or her paper—and nearly all of our students do.  We believe that the progression of the evaluations in our program mirror the process of learning a language, starting with recognition and moving on to production, in both oral and written forms.

It has been a joy to see the students grow in their language learning.  The positive reinforcement they receive builds in them a sense of accomplishment.  As their confidence develops, they increasingly believe that they are capable of learning the language and want to learn more!

Here's a little evidence of confidence and motivation with my 6th graders :

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Homeschooling with Real Language Right Away

We have several home school families using our materials, so we wanted to post some information about how homeschoolers can use our materials.  Here are some answers to key questions:

It’s a communicative method for teaching French and Spanish.  The foundation of the program is a series of partner conversations, so children encounter the language within a context.  No vocabulary is presented in isolation, and children are given everything they need to practice!  The conversations are meant to be a starting point for encountering the language, and the activities in the Student Activity Book and the Teacher’s Guide help the student move toward ownership of the language, so that those expressions, structures, and vocabulary can be used spontaneously.

How much French or Spanish do I need to know to teach with this curriculum?
Of course, knowing the language well is ideal, but your high school French or Spanish will suffice.  This may be a great chance for you to learn along with your children!  For those parents who are less confident in their pronunciation, the Audio CD can guide you and your children. 

At what age can I start the curriculum?
As soon as your child is comfortable reading in English, you can start teaching them French or Spanish with Real Language right away.  Level I is appropriate for beginners ages 6 through 9, and Level II works well with children ages 10 through 13.  If you are starting at age 10 or above, you can start with Level II.

What should homeschooling families purchase?
Your children will enjoy practicing the conversations from the color Partner Conversations book.  The Student Activity Book will give your children a chance to complete written activities that will reinforce the language.  The Teacher’s Guide will give you many supplemental activities, important information about how to use the program, and oral and written evaluations to track your child’s progress.  If you need help with pronunciation, the Audio CD will be a helpful tool.

Questions?  Feel free to comment here or email us at