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European Language Academy
ELA Newsletter October 2006

ELA Newsletter - Term 4, October 2006


In this newsletter:
Language learning tips

Reminder for Term 4 enrolment

Learn Chinese, Japanese, Korean at Asian Language Academy - SPECIAL OFFER

Government announces new foreign language policy

What can I do to learn Spanish, French, German, Italian quicker?

Now that you have signed up for your French, One of the most common questions we get asked at ELA is how to accelerate your language learning. Though many students may feel they have a mental block or even lack the aptitude for learning foreign languages, most can learn a second language IF they are willing to put in the necessary time and effort. Here are some practical suggestions for studying effectively, overcoming anxiety, and learning the grammar and skills necessary for success in learning French, Spanish, German or Italian.

  • STUDY EVERY DAY. A foreign language course is different from any other course you take. Language learning is cumulative: you cannot put it off until the weekend. Study 1 or 2 hours for every class hour. We recognise that this is a difficult one for busy professionals.

  • DISTRIBUTE YOUR STUDY TIME in 30-minute periods throughout the week. Focus on a different task each time: vocabulary now, grammar next, etc. Get an overview during the first half hour: spend 10 minutes reviewing dialog, 10 minutes learning new vocabulary, 10 minutes learning new grammar...so you'll at least have looked at it all. Approximately 80% of your study time should be spent in recitation or practice, and it's best to form a study/practice group with other classmates so that you can meet once a week outside of class. Practically if you come in to ELA once a week on a Monday, this could mean doing 30-minute revision sessions on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays.

  • ATTEND AND PARTICIPATE IN CLASS -- even if you are not well prepared. Class time is your primary opportunity for practice. Learn the grammar and vocabulary outside of class in order to make the most of class time. Spend a few minutes "warming up" before each class by speaking or reading the language.

  • MAKE YOURSELF COMFORTABLE IN THE CLASS. Get to know your classmates so you will feel you are among friends. Let your teacher know your goals and apprehensions about the course.

  • LEARN ENGLISH GRAMMAR. Grammar is the skeleton of a language, its basic structure: you must learn it. Review a simplified English grammar text. Compare new grammatical structures in your foreign language to their English equivalents.

  • DEVELOP A GOOD ATTITUDE. Have a clear personal reason for taking the class. Set personal goals for what you want to learn. Check with the teacher to make sure this is realistic. Respect your classmates. Encourage others and others will return the favour.
  • DON'T BE AFRAID TO MAKE MISTAKES. Leave perfectionism at the door; give yourself permission to make mistakes and learn from them. This is the only way you will learn a foreign language. We understand most of our students are capable professionals at work and may feel a certain pressure to perform in class. Let go of this expectation of yourself. Language learning is not like learning maths or economics. At ELA, we find that people who do well tend to be people who can laugh at themselves.
  • GET HELP IF YOU NEED IT. Talk with your teacher. Form study groups with your classmates. Buy some CDs or other resources that will help you learn. Check out our recommended provider www.newbeginnings.co.nz

Term 4 enrolment update

To all our existing students, please re-enrol ASAP as classes are filling up fast. Check out our timetable page for the current timetable. And then email Estelle at the office to confirm your enrolment.  New classes for French, Spanish, Italian and German are also starting up. Do tell your friends. Because of the sheer number of referrals we get every term, we feel obliged to reward our brand champions. We're finalising a refer-a-friend promotion and will update you shortly.

Asian Language Academy

Some of you would have noticed that we have recently started a new school specialising in teaching Chinese Mandarin, Japanese and Korean. Check out www.asialang.co.nz for more info. As a special for our existing clients, we will waive the registration fee for Asian language courses at ALA. The normal course fee of $299 per term still applies.

Push for school pupils to be taught extra languages
We have seen significant growth in student numbers at ELA in response to some macro level changes in New Zealand generally and Auckland specifically. A key driver is the increasing number of Europeans, South Americans and Asians moving to NZ. Another factor is the growing popularity of South America, Europe and Asia as a tourist destination. Kiwis are now more inclined to go off the beaten track, to explore places where English is not spoken.

The government has recently announced some exciting changes in the languages area. Schools will be required to give students the chance to learn a second language apart from Maori or English.  A draft curriculum for primary and secondary schools places a strong emphasis on teaching languages. If adopted, the curriculum would require all schools with Year 7 (Form 1) to Year 10 (Form 4) students to offer classes in a second language. 

Schools would be expected to look at teaching other languages, such as French or Spanish (which is great news for us).

The new curriculum 
* What is it? Sets out the Government's expectations of what primary and secondary schoolchildren should be able to achieve by the time they leave school. 
* Why is it changing? The last massive seven-volume document was issued in 1993. The Government says it needs to reflect modern education needs. 
* What does it say? Weaves eight core values into teaching, and says pupils should be taught English, mathematics and statistics, science, social sciences, technology, the arts, health and physical education and languages. Gives more power to schools to decide how they teach students. 
* What happens next? Consultation for three months, then final amendments. The new curriculum will come into force in September next year.