Hi, my name is Daphne
I’m the academic director of FU International Academy Tenerife (FUIA). I’d like to introduce you to our FUIA System for learning 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. The school totally relied on the teachers’ personal way 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 methodology.
Since 2005 we have been improving constantly in these specific areas and we’ve been able to create our own system based on our teaching experience. We’ve increased the quality of our teachers and we’re constantly updating our teaching techniques. We also keep exchanging our knowledge and experience among members of the teaching team.
The key elements of our Spanish learning system are:
- Definition of 48 levels of Spanish – from absolute beginners to academic mastery
- A comprehensive placement test at the start that determines your exact level of Spanish
- A teaching methodology with proven techniques, alongside the most up-to-date teaching materials and learning technology
- Detailed tests at the end of each course level to check if you can pass to the next level
The FUIA 48 Level System to Reach Academic Mastery in Spanish
We design our classes according to The Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR). This is a guideline used to describe achievements of learners of foreign languages across Europe and, increasingly, in other countries.
The Common European Framework divides learners into three broad divisions that can be divided into six levels:
A1 = Beginners
A2 = Elementary
B1 = Intermediate
B2 = Upper intermediate
C1 = Advanced
C2 = Proficiency
For each level, it describes what a learner should be able to do in each skill area: reading, listening, speaking and writing.
We took the European Reference Frame which consists of 6 levels and divided it into 48 sub-levels:
A1.1 – A1.2 – A1.3 – A1.4
A2.1 – A2.2 – A2.3 – A2.4 – A2.5
B1.1 – B1.2 – B1.3 – B1.4 – B1.5 – B1.6 – B1.7
B2.1 – B2.2 – B2.3 – B2.4 – B2.5 – B2.6 – B2.7 – B2.8
C1.1 – C1.2 – C1.3 – C1.4 – C1.5 – C1.6 – C1.7 – C1.8 – C1.9 – C1.10 – C1.11
C2.1 – C2.2 – C2.3 – C2.4 – C2.5 – C2.6 – C2.7 – C2.8 – C2.9 – C2.10 – C2.11 – C2.12 – C2.13
Each sub-level has its own content, learning objectives and an exam at the end.
During our courses in Tenerife
- We will make sure that you start in your exact sub-level of Spanish.
- You finish the next sub-level within a week in a 20 or 30 hours (teaching sessions of 45 minutes) intensive group course.
From zero knowledge of Spanish to proficiency (C2.13) it will take you 48 weeks in total.
Not aiming for mastery but still want to become fluent in Spanish?
You can achieve this goal after the first 24 levels.
This is how we choose the most appropriate course level for you
Before starting a course with us, you have to take a comprehensive placement test that determines your exact level of Spanish.
The results are our initial benchmark to choose the correct course level for you.
Go ahead and sign up for one of our Spanish courses!
When it comes to placing students in a class, we apply Stephen Krashen’s “Input Hypothesis” of his theory of second language acquisition.
Stephen Krashen’s Comprehensible 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.
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 input at one step beyond their current level.
In practice, this means that once we’ve assessed a student’s language level, he/she will receive input and materials slightly above their current level to help them improve faster.
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.
Along with this theory we provide you with meaningful interaction in Spanish – natural communication – because from our experience this is the only way you can really learn to speak Spanish.
This Is How We Teach Spanish – Our Teaching Methodology
The 3P’s method
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.
We do so through a variety of proven teaching techniques, alongside the most up-to-date teaching materials and learning technology.
Aside from our textbook, we use classroom material that helps us create a communicative atmosphere, such as: