WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT LANGUAGE ACQUISITION BEFORE TAKING A CLASS
Anyone can learn a new language.
The way most of us were taught a foreign language in school was asking our brains to function in a way they weren’t designed to. Unfortunately, most people don’t become fluent in a language through the classes they take in school. And many people leave these classes feeling like they are bad at learning languages.
The secret to acquiring language is simple:
You must hear a lot of the language and you must understand what is being said. Our brains unconsciously do the work for us when we understand what we hear.
You are most likely to pick up a new language when you are relaxed and not thinking about learning. There’s no need to try to repeat what you hear. Just concentrate on trying to understand. We acquire language by listening and reading, not speaking. Stop us to ask for translation or to slow down if you don’t understand what I’m saying. (This is your most important job—stopping the teacher if you don’t understand something!)
Turn off the part of your brain that wants to turn this into work… wants to memorize… wants to study… wants to learn the rules. All of this gets information into your short-term memory, not the long-term. We discourage note taking, because you can’t write and listen at the same time. You should get enough repetition in class that you won’t need notes anyway. Plus, you can write words down during breaks or after class or take pictures of the board. We’ll also be sending you readings from the class so you’ll have all the vocabulary after class in the context of stories.
To get a new language into your long-term memory you must:
● Listen. Be aware of when your attention wanders.
● Stop and signal me when you don’t understand even one word.
● Laugh. It releases endorphins that contribute to long-term retention.
● Take breaks and move around. A little physical movement is good for the brain.
In class we will be co-creating stories involving volunteer student actors. No one is required to be an “actor” in a story. (Luckily every class always seems to have people who don’t mind standing up in front of the group!) You are welcome to sit back and relax and be entertained.
Please feel free to email us if you have any questions prior to your class.
Have you watched our introductory video? If not, click here.