We’re an up-and-coming nonprofit whose mission is to help people acquire a second language. We’re located on St. Thomas in the US Virgin Islands. We want to start
- a Spanish summer camp
- Spanish after-school classes
- a Spanish immersion preschool
- English-as-a-second language classes for adults
- Spanish classes for adults
We’ve already launched our YouTube channel for parents yearning to become bilingual along with their children. In the future we hope to freely share some of our classroom-tested ideas online to help language teachers and students.
We aren’t like other language schools
Our teaching methods set us apart. Our language classes will be about conveying messages in the target language. Beginners will understand the messages through non-verbal cues like gestures and pictures. We base our teaching methods on the work of linguist, Stephen Krashen. This video shows him demonstrating how to teach a German lesson. He uses very little English and manages to get messages across.
The children in our Spanish classes will enjoy similar lessons plus familiar stories, traditional Spanish songs and playground games. We will have cross-curricular activities like phonics, math and science – in Spanish. It will be similar to the experience a child would get if the family moved to a foreign country and enrolled the child in a Kindergarten classroom.
We teach Spanish by conveying messages in Spanish.
Without pressure or strain, our students will ‘pick up’ or acquire the language naturally, just like they acquired their first language.
Our adult students will learn second languages like children
Contrary to popular belief, adults can ‘pick up’ languages too. In fact, the only way to become fluent in a language is by “picking it up.” Memorizing grammar rules, practicing applying them, and copying conjugation charts will get you good grades in school, but will not help anyone reach fluency. The research is clear;
The only way to learn a language is by “picking it up.”
Stephen Krashen published findings about this since the 1970s. If you want to learn more about his findings you can read one of his books online for free here.
SK Language Organization is so impressed with Stephen Krashen we used his initials in our name.
No one is too old to learn English as a second language
Some readers may not believe that adults can pick-up foreign language because they know adult immigrants who only speak their native tongue. Those immigrants have surrounded themselves with other foreigners who speak their language. They listen to media in their native language. They have little English exposure, even though they live in an English speaking country.
Those who immerse themselves in English learn English.
Adult immigrants who want to learn English need to:
- listen to English media
- make English speaking friends
- read English books
- go to English events, such as church services
Classes can be helpful if they provide “comprehensible input” (understandable messages) in English. Classes that focus on grammar rules are not very effective. Stressful classes that force students to speak are not so effective either.
How effective do we expect our classes to be?
Our students’ results will depend on how much time they spend learning their target language. Children enrolled in Spanish immersion preschool for three years will become fluent in Spanish. After preschool graduation, the children will forget Spanish unless they hear it regularly. Monolingual parents need to make sure their children hear Spanish through things like play dates with Spanish speakers, Spanish cartoons, and Spanish Sunday school classes at a local church. If the parents find that they can’t arrange enough Spanish activities for their children, we will welcome our former preschool students in our after-school classes and summer camps. Our goal is for our preschool students to be fluent in Spanish for life.
OUR BLOG is full of ideas for parents and children to learn language outside of classes.
Spanish summer camp combined with once-a-week after-school classes will not make anyone bilingual because it will not provide enough hours of Spanish immersion. If our students wish to become bilingual, they must spend much time outside of the classroom watching Spanish TV shows, playing with Spanish speaking friends, reading Spanish books and going to Spanish events.
Classes alone can only take you so far
It takes an incredible number of hours to learn a foreign language. Anyone who tells you their book, app or quick course will make you fluent has a very “creative” definition of fluent.
Are you interested in becoming a student, enrolling your child, donating easy-to-read books (English or Spanish), volunteering, or joining our board of directors? Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org