How effective would the a dual method of language instruction be if one side weren’t immersion? The opportunity for real world immersion is the reason Parlay Vacays chooses the exciting places we go on our vacays.
Immersion-only programs, Parlay Vacay believes, though they mimic real life circumstances and how children learn language, aren’t the most effective for adults to achieve fluency. With maturity come questions. These questions, left unanswered, present too much useless and tiring frustration and too many obstacles to moving forward.
STRUCTURED IMMERSION: Parlay Vacay knows that when it comes to the benefits of immersive learning, the majority of huge leaps forward in fluency are achieved during structured immersion where those surrounding the student participant are aware of and responsive to the student participant’s learning needs.
Parlay Vacay’s incredible 2 to 1 student to staff immersion ratio allows each student participant’s immersive learning experience to be highly customized. This ratio also makes the course suitable for student participants at every level of proficiency.
Parlay Vacay invites native speaking conversation partners on every vacay to provide structured immersion for the student participants to help them use Spanish in the most natural way. Limiting each group to 12 student participants ensures intimate, low-risk settings for language practice in even smaller groups while maintaining the many learning benefits of larger group participation.
Learning another language, even if for the first time, doesn’t mean starting from scratch. The cerebral networks of connections for language are already highly developed in adults and increase with every passing birthday.
The Parlay Way parses the language into four layers to be mastered and then inserted into use. These layers are taught in English during the “Fluency Foundations” component of the course.
Fluency Foundations: The insertion component of our courses consists of a series of sessions that leverage what student participants already know (even if they don’t know they already know it) of English as a basis for contrast and comparison to extend their already advanced communication abilities to another language.
Each layer is taught twice in separate sessions for the same student participants: The first round of sessions focus on fully understanding how the language works in each layer and discourage any attempt to memorize. All of the sessions are repeated after a night’s rest or a long, relaxing break from using any language at all. The second round of sessions focus on practice of applying the new information and preparing for insertion of the layer into use.
Advanced student participants find they not just refresh their knowledge but refine their skills when approaching the language in layers. Repeat Parlay Vacay student participants may choose which Fluency Foundations sessions to attend, utilize additional time with conversation partners or enjoy free time as they choose.
If you really think about that, it makes perfect sense.
It’s not just about who’s the best mimic. Some adults even make a living at mimicking.
Young children seem to learn more quickly because they double their kid-size knowledge over and over. And because they surprise us with it all the time. A bilingual child seems to have mastered two languages around age three when they can say everything they want and need to say in either. But what they want and need to to say is limited too and can be accomplished with a simpler vocabulary and sentence structure. You can accomplish that much mastery of a new language in a much shorter time.
Think about how long it takes before a very young child who already speaks at least one language, who can already say everything they want and need to say in that language, to be able to participate in conversations about a very wide variety of or new topics in any deeper way in that language. What about the variety and number of connections of any prior to the new information they vs. you can make and how quickly? No contest there.
Experiences create references and references cause knowledge to expand exponentially.
Why do people often say that they remember none or too little of the Spanish, French, or German they learned in high school classes? Just being younger while studying doesn’t guarantee better absorption or memory.
Teenagers start questioning how useful what they’re being taught is going to be in the future for them in particular. A lack of experiences hinders making meaningful connections. Learning becomes more about memorizing for tests and other milestones.
For the purposes of learning new languages, there are two aspects of intelligence at work in any individual learner, youthful or mature: fluid and crystalized.
Fluid intelligence is the enhanced ability to learn new things because nothing is assumed prior. For obvious reasons, this type of intelligence is abundant in youth and can decrease with experience. Adult learners can decide to assume nothing and to take new information more or completely at face value when this is deemed beneficial to the learning process. This isn’t impossible as adults have been children and have used this intelligence before.
Adult learners have much more of something called crystalized intelligence which can only increase with experiences, or the enhanced ability to use experiences as knowledge to connect to new information in order to integrate it. It is in the fact that adults can utilize enough fluid as well as crystallized aspects of their intelligence to be optimal for new language learning that they can do so faster and better.
The more experiences you have under your belt, the more connections you can make to new information.
The more information you already understand and use, the more quickly and deeply you can understand and use new information.
The better you understand and are able to use new information, the longer you will remember it in a meaningful way, not memorize it.
When it comes to learning new languages better quickly, the last thing you’d ever want to be is a clean slate.
Dr. Brumett, a dual Phd in English language arts and psychological linguistic anthropology specializes in comparative psycholinguistics and adult language acquisition. Her research and practice, dedicated to discovering how English-speaking adults can best acquire and improve additional language skills, lead to the development of Parlay Vacay’s signature dual method of teaching new languages to adults: The Parlay Way.