Cactus teachers use ‘full immersion’ and the ‘communicative approach’ in their lessons. In order to explain exactly what this means we have broken this down into a question and answer section that will help you understand exactly what to expect on one of our language courses.
What is ‘full immersion’?
‘Full immersion’ refers to using only the language being taught, with no translations into the common language ie English. This encourages everyone in the class to communicate using the language they are learning, to really ‘live’ the language and create an environment where students feel comfortable speaking and listening in the foreign language, and most importantly feel comfortable making mistakes and thereby improving.
What is the ‘communicative approach’?
The communicative approach focuses on the student doing the work rather than the teacher. This means that the students should be doing a lot more talking than the teacher and the students are given an opportunity to discover the mean and use of language through tasks and activities, rather than explanations from the teacher. This is achieved through lots of pair-work and group-work activities which allow students to learn from each other and have maximum input.
How do teachers use the Full Immersion approach?
Teachers can make themselves understood using a variety of techniques, even from beginner level. Typically teachers will use gestures, visuals, objects, and examples to convey meaning, and this always involves a context for the language.
What is the student’s role?
Students need to work hard in class and it is important that students participate fully. It’s also important to understand and recognise that speaking up and making mistakes is a completely normal part of the language learning process and that language correction by the teacher of their own and others’ mistakes is an integral part of improving.
What are the advantages of full immersion and the communicative approach?
1. You learn faster. As you become used to this way of teaching you will absorb vocabulary items more naturally and quickly.
2. You learn to speak more naturally, without analysing every word and sound. This method trains you to think in the language you are learning, and not to translate word for word.
3. You’ll have more confidence to use what you have learned outside of the classroom. Because you are ‘living’ the language in the classroom, you will be better prepared to use it in ‘real’ scenarios.
4. You will understand the language when you hear it outside of the classroom. Because you are used to hearing the language spoken, you will be able to understand it in real-life situations.
5. You will develop good pronunciation as you will get maximum exposure to the language. This will help you to develop correct speech patterns and native-like pronunciation.
6. Learning in this way is fun. You will be using the new language straight away, which is a lot more motivating and engaging than only studying grammar rules.
Cactus language offers the following types of language courses:
Evening language courses: 19 different languages in 15 UK locations
Language holidays: worldwide immersion courses in the country of the language
Private tuition: tailor-made and corporate language training solutions throughout the world
TEFL: teacher training courses for both English and other languages all over the world
Online courses: for teacher training, English and French