It happens to me so often and I never seem to get bored of it. I walk into a country- a Peru or a Belgium or a Japan- a perfect stranger, definitely out of place. Most often it is a cafe. You can see the eyes of the waiter or the girl behind you apprising you. She is bracing herself to hear English, a language she knows very approximately. Here’s another tourist she tells herself, almost ready to dispatch with me as soon as possible and move on to the next customer. And then it happens. She hears a Hola or a Konnichiwa or a bonjour from my mouth, followed by a fluent list of the things I want, accompanied by what I believe to be my winning smile. And everything changes. She smiles. She warms up to this tourist who is no longer one. She even recommends a few things that you might like. She gives you directions to the museum. She talks about life in Tokyo or Bruxelles or Paris or Lima. And you see the world open up for you.
That’s the power of languages. It converts perfect strangers into immediate friends. It breaks those barriers that are so invisible to the naked eye and suddenly makes you realize that we are all one- just divided by frontiers of our own making. People go out of their way to help you out when they see you make an effort to actually speak to them in a language that is so near to the heart. The heart melts and transforms itself into a smile on the face. Beautiful secrets hidden from the stranger’s eyes are now yours to gaze at and admire.
And then, of course, there is the culture. So intimately tied to the language and so difficult to understand if you don’t get the tongue that dictates it. How do you explain the French art-de-vivre if the language escapes you? Or the nuances in Spanish spoken in Costa Rica, Mexico, Spain, and Argentina and how closely it dictates the way of life in each one of these places. Or that joy of opening a book in another language and seeing how people think in a language.
All this and so much more awaits you who now wants to enter the world of language learning. Step right in and get ready to travel the world from the comfort of your chair.
Zaphod, Founder,Babel School of Languages
With the standardization of Language Certification across the world through organizations such as the Common European Framework, Japan Foundation, etc. , there has been a lot of research done on how to adapt the same language learning objectives to adolescents and young adults, given that they remain similar to the ones designed for adults. One approach has been to make the topics a little different: the materials take into account the interests of young people.
While the competencies evaluated are the same, i.e. the four communication competencies: written and oral comprehension, and written and oral production, it is well understood that young adults are in the process of discovering and understanding the world around them.
Thus, the approach taken in teaching these young minds focuses on getting them to exchange opinions, discover other interests, and develop a level of comfort in expressing what moves them in the language that they learn.
Our courses hence bring in dimensions from various domains that pique the curiosity of the learner and help them appreciate the culture that they are now in contact with through the language. Tools such as music, videos, and fiction play an important role in this teaching process.
The instructor is an active leader in this process of discovery always ready to open another new window of perspective to the student.
At Babel School of Languages, we are constantly fine-tuning this process helping young adults and adolescents discover new worlds through languages.