Hi, my name is Daphne
I’m the academic director of the FU International Academy Tenerife (FUIA). I’d like to introduce you to our method of teaching you the Spanish language.
When the FU International Academy opened its doors in 2000, there was no method at all. The school hired and fired teachers according to the demand for Spanish teaching in Tenerife. We totally relied on their own method of teaching.
When Frank Sellingsloh became director of the school in 2004, everything changed. His first goal was to become an accredited Spanish school of the CERVANTES INSTITUTE, which he achieved just one year later in 2005. In order to get there, we had to comply with many quality control procedures, most of them related to teaching methods and methodology.
Since 2005 we have improved constantly on these specific areas and we’ve been able to create our own system based on our experience. We increased the quality of our teachers and constantly update our teaching techniques. We also keep exchanging our knowledge among members of the teaching team.
From experience, we know that the only way to prepare you to communicate effectively in Spanish is engaging you in interactive and communicative classes. We do so through a variety of proven teaching techniques, alongside the most up-to-date teaching materials and learning technology.
This is how we choose the most appropriate course for you
At FUIA, we pay attention to every detail from the moment participants book a course with us.
Before arriving at the school, you have the opportunity to take a placement test. The results are our initial benchmark to choose the correct course for you.
When it comes to placing students in a class, we apply Stephen Krashen’s “Input Hypothesis” of his theory of second language acquisition.
The Input Hypothesis
Stephen Krashen researched into how we learn a second language. In our classes we use his theory, along with our other methods and teaching practices, to help our students learn Spanish. Our student reviews clearly show our methods work, so we think Krashen’s theory is on the right track!
From our extensive experience teaching Spanish we’ve found Krashen’s theory useful for our students’ progress. It sounds complicated but actually, his theory is simple.
Krashen suggested that students will improve and progress when they receive the second language at one step beyond their current level.
In practice, this means that once we’ve assessed a student’s language level we give them materials slightly above their current level to help them improve faster.
However, we also believe that every individual has unique learning needs. So we tailor all of our courses to suit the students.
We use this method to help students learn Spanish at the optimal rate, but if we feel that any of the classes we provide are too advanced we re-assess the students needs. Above all, we ensure that our students feel comfortable and are happy with their progress.
This is how we teach Spanish
Once in our classrooms, we follow Krashen’s “Acquisition-Learning Hypothesis”. We provide you with meaningful interaction in Spanish – natural communication – in which we concentrate in the communicative act rather than in the form.
That’s why we practise the 3P’s approach
We introduce /revise target language linguistic objective (5 minutes).
The teacher presents unfamiliar words or structures, gives examples, writes them on the board, plays a recording dialogue, shows a video, projects a presentation or gets you to read a written text. This means teachers provide a conscious knowledge “about” the language (Krashen’s “Learning Hypothesis”).
Controlled use of target language (10-15 minutes).
You practise the new language using words or structures in a controlled way. Possibly, by completing written exercises, using the new language controlled in a pair or small group work, practising dialogues following a pattern provided by the teacher, etc.
During this practice, the ‘learning’ system activates the ‘monitor or editing’ system. The ‘monitor’ acts in a planning and correcting function when three specific conditions are met: 1) the learner knows the rule, 2) the learner has sufficient time to reflect, 3) the learner focuses on form or correctness. The role of the ‘internal monitor’ should be minor. Being used only to correct deviations from normal speech and to give speech a more polished appearance. (Krashen’s “Monitor Hypothesis”)
Some activities related to learning “about” the language are:
- Repetition drills
- Guessing games
- Dialogue building
- Information gaps
Communicate in a meaningful way (25-30 minutes).
You use language you have learnt to express yourself more freely, e.g. to talk or write about your own life and interests. You will express opinions, or imagine yourself in different situations. Production can be oral or written.
‘Acquisition’ is the product of a subconscious process, very similar to the process children undergo when they acquire their first language. It requires meaningful interaction in the target language – natural communication – in which speakers are concentrated not in the form of their speech, but in the communicative act.
According to Krashen, ‘learning’ is less important than ‘acquisition’ (Krashen’s “Acquisition Hypothesis”).
These are examples of activities related to production through natural communication and acquisition:
- Real life dialogues
- Pair-work interviews with personal info
- Personal charts & tables
- Preference ranking – opinion polls / give opinions
- Giving personal info about self- social networking
- Mingle activities
- Interactive games
This is what our Spanish lessons look like
Our groups are multicultural and diversified. We’ve adapted our method to this context, adopting an action-oriented approach.
We view you as a member of a society, where you must interact and communicate to complete everyday tasks in many different circumstances and environments.
We are aware of the linguistic, sociolinguistic and pragmatic competencies you’ll need to complete these goals in the real world.
The contents of our courses go along the same lines as the CEFR (Common European Framework of Reference for Languages) developed by the Council of Europe, and the Curriculum Plan of the Cervantes Institute.
These two documents provide a coherent and comprehensive basis for the curriculum guidelines, the design of teaching materials, and the assessment of proficiency.
In our lessons, we don’t forget the key role that “affective variables” play in language acquisition.
We are aware that learners with high motivation, self-confidence, a good self-image, and a low level of anxiety will be more successful in acquiring a foreign language.
In contrast, low motivation, low self-esteem, and an elevated level of stress can activate the affective filter and create a mental block (Krashen’s “Affective Filter Hypothesis”).
This is the material that we use
Our teachers are committed to offering classroom activities that are meaningful and relevant, communicative and collaborative, by giving the extra-linguistic context that will help you understand and, therefore, acquire.
Aside from our textbook, we use classroom material that helps us create a communicative atmosphere, such as:
Online activities, etc.
We apply our method to all our courses. Through years of experience, we have demonstrated its effectiveness and efficiency. Our students’ testimonials are proof of our results.