Express Fluency is offering our first free intro class in Putney, VT. Come join us on February 26th at the Putney Public Library to experience a refreshing way of learning languages. We will provide some background on language acquisition and then give participants a first-hand experience of what it feels like to acquire Spanish easily and while having fun! To register for this free class, please email Elissa McLean, [email protected] Or call 275-2694.
New language school to bring innovative teaching methods to Brattleboro
Originally published in The Commons issue #239 (Wednesday, January 29, 2014).
BRATTLEBORO—A new language school is bringing cutting-edge language teaching methods to Brattleboro.
Express Fluency, opening in Brattleboro on Jan. 30, establishes what it says in a press release is the first language school in New England in which students “develop fluency quickly and easily via an engaging method based on the latest brain and language acquisition research.”
The school offers a free Spanish class to beginners on Jan. 30 at 5:30 p.m. at the Neighborhood Schoolhouse, 231 Western Ave., and thereafter will offer Spanish classes for all ages — including after-school programs, adult day, evening, and weekend courses, and family programs.
Express Fluency says its methods are based on the language acquisition research of linguist, educational researcher, and author Stephen Krashen, professor emeritus at the University of Southern California.
These “comprehensible-input-based” methods are transforming the way languages are taught in schools throughout the world, Express Fluency notes. Teachers using this approach avoid textbooks and grammar drills and instead bring Spanish to life through dynamic and engaging classes.
While thousands of teachers have been trained in the method, Express Fluency says it is the first school in the Brattleboro area to use these methods with adult populations.
Express Fluency says it plans to roll out courses in French, Mandarin, and other languages as requested. Businesses and organizations have hired Express Fluency to develop Spanish proficiency among staff.
Read the article online here.
Learn Spanish with your kids!
Express Fluency is offering a new program for families.
These weekend classes are the perfect way to learn Spanish as a family! Our dynamic story-telling approach engages children and adults alike. Our classes get our students moving and participating in lively discussions and stories. Readings and audio recordings are provided to help keep the Spanish alive at home after the course is over.
Express Fluency’s weekend immersion courses are our most popular classes. We currently offer Spanish immersion programs in Brattleboro, VT and New York City. This winter and spring we are excited to be teaching courses in Boston, MA, Burlington, VT, and Portland, ME. More information on these classes is coming soon.
If you are in the Brattleboro/Southern Vermont area we are offering the following courses in February:
February 1-2: for advanced beginner/intermediate students
February 15th-16th: Family weekend class! (recommended for adults and children ages 8+).
More information can be found here.
We hope you’ll join us!
This is my first blog entry for Express Fluency. I thought I’d share this piece about my evolution as a Spanish teacher. In 2009 I learned about a way of teaching languages that changed everything about the way I teach (and even changed my life). I am looking forward to continuing on this journey with you!
Why I’ve Learned about Teaching Language
How many people do you know who studied a language in high school or college and still couldn’t speak that language? Plenty, right? And I was one of them.
Many people say to me, “I wish I could speak Spanish, but I can’t learn languages.”
Here’s the good news: There is no such thing as a person who can’t learn a second language. The trouble is that the way we were taught in school isn’t the way our brains acquire language.
I studied French from 5th grade through high school. I could conjugate any verb in any tense. I could read Le Petit Prince, and I could write an essay (dictionary in hand). But I couldn’t carry on a conversation. I studied Spanish in college with the same result.
Because I didn’t learn Spanish in a classroom (I traveled and lived in Chile, Cuba, Mexico and Guatemala after college), I knew there had to be a better way to teach a foreign language than the dry memorization, verb conjugation and rote conversation practice I had to go through. When I started teaching Spanish, I thought games and fun activities were the answer. I invented verb conjugation games. I had my students make up skits. They had fun. They liked Spanish class. But they still couldn’t speak Spanish.
In 2009, I went to my first workshop in Teaching Proficiency through Reading and Storytelling®. Here’s what I learned in a nutshell: When we understand the language we hear or read, we unconsciously decode the symbols, like babies do. When we were babies, we didn’t memorize vocabulary lists or learn about tenses and conjugation. We heard the language spoken to us, and eventually we acquired it. We could already understand, speak, and read in our first language before anyone told us about an indirect object pronoun.
Well, as teachers, we don’t have countless hours with our students, so we have to make sure everything we teach is comprehensible in order to speed the acquisition process.
After that first conference, I was sold. Since then, I’ve learned as much as I can about TPRS® and other Comprehensible-Input based methods. And I’ve used these methods to teach hundreds of people, from toddlers to retirees, to converse in Spanish. And I’ve never had so much fun teaching. And my students have never had so much fun learning. And most important, my students are learning Spanish quickly and easily.
It feels like magic…but it’s not. We’re hardwired to acquire language this way.
Anyone can learn a new language.