CULTURALLY INFORMED LANGUAGE INSTRUCTION
We believe that in order for learning a language to be an engaging experience, cultural context must inform the process. Language and culture are inseparable. Language, like food, music, customs, and clothing is one of the ways that culture is expressed so if you want to connect more deeply to a language, you must connect to its culture. Cultural context is of vital importance to the language learning experience because:
- Language is deeply influenced and informed by a culture. Two countries can share a language but how they communicate using that language can be vastly different. For example, Spanish from Argentina is very different from how it is spoken in Colombia, Mexico, or the originating country of Spain. English spoken in South Africa is influenced by Dutch and sometimes can appear to bear little resemblance to English spoken in Scotland or the US. The accents and vocabulary can vary dramatically and even common words that are in two countries’ lexicons can have completely different meanings.
- Culture is what animates language with vitality. Without cultural context, language is lifeless. Without culture, language is reduced to nothing more than a sterile collection of vocabulary words and grammar rules. Language is NOT merely vocabulary and grammar rules. It is a medium for humans to connect to other humans. The vitality is in the connection, not the definition of the words or the structure of the grammar.
LIBERATING TEACHERS TO TEACH
We firmly believe at our core that successful and engaging learning experiences are always driven by exceptional teachers. Experience has confirmed and underscored our deep rooted conviction that the teacher is the most vitally important component of an exceptional learning experience. The learning experience will only be as good as the teacher. This is where we invest the majority of our attention and energy; identifying and supporting exceptionally talented language teachers.
There are certain touchstone qualities that we consistently find in our teachers that we believe make a huge difference:ANIMATEURSGreat teachers have a special talent for bringing the subject to life. They are what might be described as an animateur, someone who animates a subject.EXCEPTIONAL EXPERIENCEWe work with language teachers who have bona fide experience teaching language in learning environments that have given them greater permission to exercise their creativity (such as in private language schools or dedicated university-based language programs).CURIOSITYGreat ESL teachers are always great students that have an incurable sense of curiosity about their world (most of the teachers we have worked with are avid travelers–with many having lived and taught language abroad), their teaching craft, and their students.CAREIt’s not at all unusual to see a community service spirit in great teachers. They always recognize that they are in service to their students and take great joy in supporting their students’ success.
NIMBLE IMPLEMENTATION GUIDANCE
Our goal is simple—to deliver a learning experience that requires minimal administrative effort by our clients. If a client is going to outsource their language learning needs, we feel that they should have an experience that:
- Relieves the client as much as possible of time and effort managing the program. We want the experience to truly be a turn-key experience for our clients where once they ask us to provide language learning services, we create, deploy, and manage the experience on their site with minimal effort required from the client.
- Gives the client complete confidence that the experience they are having with an external vendor is equal to or higher than the standards of excellence they would have if they were providing the experience internally. We understand that a bad experience not only reflects poorly on us but also on the decision makers within the organization that contracted us to provide services. We always want our clients to be glad they made the decision to work with us.
- Eliminates billing hassles through clear, intuitive, and verifiable invoicing.
- Provides clear and intuitive progress tracking reports if the client wants to monitor the performance of participants.