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MORE THAN JUST LANGUAGE COURSES

 

MYLANGUAGE offers LANGUAGE COURSES AND CULTURAL IMMERSION for greater cultural understanding and more practical and ready-to-use language skills.

 

Depending on your specific language needs, work requirements, time available for training and budget, you can choose to enrol in:

1) a straight-forward language course where acquiring language skills is the main focus

2) a more complete and enriching course formula consisting of a language course and a cultural immersion programme in one package.

 

While most people are familiar with normal language courses, our cultural immersion programme may be totally new to them. Here is the underlying philosophy we based it on, our objectives and our approach:

 

THE PHILOSOPHY

 

  • Cultural differences can become an asset when tolerance is reached through real understanding. The solution doesn't lie in “the compromise” but in “the comprehension”.

  • Understanding a culture and its customs is a very subtle process and a simple approach based on differences and stereotypes is more part of the problem than of the solution.

  • Communication starts with a common language and people become more receptive and open when approached in their own language.

  • The best way to understand cultural differences in real-life behaviour is to actually experience real-life situations. Just sharing the experiences fosters a sense of unity, and in a relaxed atmosphere students readily acquire a more in-depth appropriation and comprehension of the culture in question, something a mere presentation of key characteristics could never accomplish. Experience trumps theory.

  • A study done in the 80s (Reid, J., The learning style preferences of ESL students, 1987) found that language students prefer tactile/kinaesthetic learning methods by a wide margin. Based on this, other studies and our own experience, we try to integrate more physical and experiential elements into our lessons. Our school's teaching method can be defined by the following saying:

I hear, I forget. I see, I understand. I do, I remember.”

OUR LEARNING OBJECTIVES

  • Help people become aware of how enriching cultural differences can be if we look at them with a constructive attitude.

  • Help people acquire some solid linguistic and cultural knowledge as a basis for understanding cultural differences. There’s an English saying that “A little knowledge is a dangerous thing”, which means that a little knowledge about other people and their culture can be misleading, causing us to make false assumptions, become judgmental and make blunders.

  • Break down stereotypes and build social unity while still enjoying diversity. As a result, people find joy in working together and feel appreciated and respected for who they are (all positive features are being enhanced).

  • Tame”our cultural differences during our activities where laughter, the perfect bond between people, helps release stress and tensions.

  • Specifically provide the most appropriate language tools to use at work for efficient, positive interaction (e.g.: language ice-breakers, polite language, acceptable ways to show disagreement, avoiding bad language and bloopers, common language traps and pitfalls, social and linguistic nuances, etc.).

  • Offer people opportunities to meet co-workers they wouldn't otherwise approach on their own. Crossing each other in the elevator or at the cantina is not really interacting; people are shy in general and often need a third person or a special occasion in order to become acquainted. Participating in a language course can be a way to find another common ground and build friendships at the workplace.

OUR APPROACH:

We’d like to start off by listing the definitions for “integration” in the Oxford English Dictionary: 1. “the act or process of combining two or more things so that they work together” 2. “the act or process of mixing people who have previously been separated, usually because of colour, race, religion, etc.”

We believe these two definitions illustrate our “core philosophy” behind our cultural integration programme. Teaching methods are combined, people are brought together, cultures mix and real understanding is made possible. Academic teaching of both language and culture is combined with experiencing real events where differences manifest and are seen in a positive light. Diversity is seen as interesting and enriching, and the sense of unity created within the group is stronger than any perceived differences.

Our language courses including socio-cultural events are non-traditional language courses. The focus is on learning the language through actually using it in real life situations, sometimes even through learning something else related to culture like cooking, cinema outings or creative writing, or by being placed in situations where cultural differences become more apparent. All of the events are designed to:

  • introduce and explore the culture being studied

  • provide concrete language patterns and skills so that students become comfortable interacting both in and outside of the workplace

  • provide a relaxed atmosphere for sessions such as cooking, cinema, hiking, arts, conversation groups so that people really enjoy the courses and readily absorb the information

  • practice the language freely for the purpose of achieving fluency without being constantly corrected

  • expose students to different accents and help them adapt to new situations (for example, we sometimes switch teachers during the last half hour of a class and ask guests to participate in our activities).

 

 

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