The foundation of Spanish is established in the same way we learned our native language as children: by seeing, hearing and repeating. While seeing an image, one hears the appropriate Spanish word describing it. Thus, one enters directly into the use of the new language, avoiding translating from one's native language to Spanish. From the very beginning, the student learns to think and express himself in Spanish.
Immediate communication is the goal of the course. The method stresses the development of speaking skills and listening comprehension through controlled oral practice. Vocabulary is related to the areas of activity of daily life. Grammar explanations are simple and practical, allowing the student to make immediate use of them in speaking. Rules are used actively: through exposure and practice, the correct forms begin to sound right to the student's ear.
Upon arrival, participants are tested for their facility in Spanish and placed in small classes at different levels, from absolute beginners through advanced. Thus, active participation of each student is assured. Changes can then be made if a student progresses at a faster rate or shows different learning needs. The small group situation provides a relaxed classroom atmosphere that facilitates spontaneity.
Depending on the type of program, the total number of participants, etc., students are scheduled to attend classes in the morning or afternoon. Morning classes start at 8:15 a.m. Afternoon classes start at 1:15 p.m. Students must attend classes at the times indicated by the Institute.
The instructors are all native speakers of Spanish. They have university degrees and are experienced in teaching Spanish as a second language. They share the Institute's belief that classes must be enjoyable to the students.
Books and materials
Most books and materials are original and exclusive. They have been produced throughout the years by the Institute’s experienced staff. They are continuously being revised and updated. Books and materials are designed to satisfy, depending on the program, the needs of absolute beginning students through very advanced ones, including non-native Spanish teachers. Since classes at the Institute are intended to be active and a fun learning experience, a variety of activities and materials keep the students involved and interested: charts, flashcards, videos, movies, CDs, songs, board games, card games, etc.
The community, a classroom
Although it is in class that structures and forms are learned and practiced, the acquired skills are immediately applied in real-life situations as the student leaves the classroom each day. Walking through the streets, riding buses, visiting places of interest, shopping, meeting people and interacting with the host family, all provide great opportunities for further practice and improvement. The whole community becomes a giant classroom.