Methods

THINKING ON YOUR OWN FEET

Emphasis on conversational Spanish is meant to strengthen the student’s  ability to find solutions to their communication problems. The key is to get ideas across so people can understand each other. We advise out students not to get stuck on specific words. If a person can’t find the word they want to use in Spanish, they can simply replace it with other ideas related to the same word. Keeping it simple is just fine.

The goal is to keep one’s thoughts flowing along with the movements of the tongue, and soon, without even noticing,  the student will be speaking in Spanish. For example, if they want to say the phrase: “I need to pay my bills,” but don’t know the word “bill” in Spanish; they can start by describing what the word “bill” implies. They can say, “I need to pay for my food, clothing, housing, etc.” The key is not to translate words, but ideas.

NON-VERBAL LANGUAGE

In our classes, we emphasize the non-verbal aspect of language. Many teachers don’t focus on non-verbal communication, which is essential. We enjoy spending the time to explain its diverse uses in the Spanish- speaking world.

It’s important to know, for instance, that the OK hand signal made in the U.S. can be very offensive in Perú and can get a tourist in real trouble!

The examples are endless, and we make non-verbal communication part of our sessions in order to  take an small, entertaining  break from grammar and conversation lessons.

LEARNING WITH SONGS AND GAMES

Music and Games are one of our favorite methods to work with. Studies show that new material is more likely to be remembered if it is presented in a fun environment. At KDF we use songs, poetry, and playful techniques to showcase new material to students.

In class, we work with videos & lyrics, fill in the blank games, crossword puzzles, charades, phonetic exercises, tongue twisters, riddles, funny stories, jokes, and short sketches. Learning a language is not all hard work, it can also be a lot of fun!

EMPHASIS ON PHONETICS

Our instructors’ curiosity for learning languages has led them to study techniques for analyzing the position of the speech apparatus (mouth & tongue) in every grapheme (letter) and phoneme (sound) being written and pronounced. At KDF, we use different methods to exercise the muscles of the tongue and mouth to make the student sound more like a native speaker.

Once a poor habit is acquired, it’s hard to get rid of later. That’s why we help students to develop a proper accent from the beginning. Our goal is to compare different pronunciations from one language to another while linking the target language with the student’s native accent.   We want to help our students feel comfortable and confident enough to carry out a conversation in Spanish, and  to produce original ideas in the target language.  Ultimately, our goal is to help the student think in Spanish because thinking in Spanish is the real key to learning it.

LEARNING RELATED TO YOUR  LIFE

Language exercises with no contextual meaning to a student, such as parroting phrases, memorizing conjugations, and studying lists of vocabulary are not the best way to learn a language. The best way to learn a language is through activities attaching meaning to the experiences of the student. When the student can relate the material to their own life, it’s extremely beneficial to the learning process. By using the conversational method,  instructors encourage students to talk about their own, real life experiences.  Discussing personally relevant scenarios rather than empty, pre-developed conversation creates a bridge to success.

In class, the students’ level will dictate the conversation. For beginners, discussions revolve around the weekend, daily routines, or likes and dislikes. In the more advanced classes, students can discuss books, ideas about life, or current events.

LEARNING NEW APPROACHES

Each student has a different approach to learning Spanish. Every person is unique with different needs and abilities. For this reason, KDF instructors can provide you with a personalized approach. Together we will work on reinforcing each person’s strengths and finding the best approach to the inevitable struggles associated with learning a new language.

While it’s important to study vocabulary and pronunciation, our approach is directed toward a more in-depth understanding of the language.  Every session  is conducted in Spanish based on your level. Having a conversation in a foreign tongue can be intimidating. If students get frustrated, it’s OK, instructors will help you every step of the way.  It’s natural to feel a little anxious! Anxiety can be an ally in learning a new language.  Learning is a lifelong process and we are excited to learn with our students as we take a leap into a new and exciting world.

USE OF TEXTBOOK AND MATERIAL

Kasa de Franko’s own method and materials are meant to help students become fluent in Spanish. Additionally, select material such as online exercises and videos recorded by Kasa De Franko  help students learn the grammar aspects of the language.

KDF recommends other resources such as a quality dictionary. However, students can’t always rely on a dictionary or Google. Dictionaries give you a basic sense of a word, but overlook the cultural background behind the word’s meaning. A dictionary can’t give you the connotative sense of a word or phrase; only a native speaker can provide you with that. Interpersonal interaction is far more crucial when learning a language, although reference tools come in handy when you need them.