Finding a Good Learning Program

Finding a Good Learning Program

Good programs come in different sizes and shapes and what it is good for one family, isn’t for another.

Probably the first question that parents can ask, is about the program’s philosophy, specifically in relation to the level of proficiency they expect.

Also, it is important to know that good programs and schools respect cultural diversity and promote cross-cultural understanding.

Curriculum and lesson plans

Ask for the curriculum and lesson plan, to see how much time the kids spend in the foreign language.

Bilingualism won’t come from repeating French numbers, days of the week, and colors for a half-hour of French twice a week.

Materials and Environment

What type of material they use in class? Do they different things like videos, crafts, books?

Look at the classroom decoration: do they have posters and pictures in the second language?

Are there different game materials in both English and the target language?

Native-speaking Teachers

A non-native teacher can provide quality second language input; but generally speaking, in any given school, the ratio of native-speaker teachers is a factor to consider.

Teacher Qualifications, Experience, and Retention

What kind of training/qualification do teachers have? Did they receive any specialized training on Child Education?

How long have teachers been teaching this age group? How high is the class turnover?

Classroom management

In addition to these answers, use your own judgment: ask to observe a class.

Do you notice whether or not the teachers adapt to the child level? Do they adapt their vocabulary to the age group?

Is the class having fun? Gauge the engagement. Are they motivated?

Are the teachers and students using the language?

Extracurricular Activities

Does the program offer any sort of extracurricular activities?

Of those, are there activities that parents can get involved in?

Finding a good tutor

No teaching program is useful without the right person to teach it.

Talk to the tutor, and get a general feeling about whether or not he or she matches your expectations.

In addition to the program’s outline, it is common to ask the individual tutors for a portfolio: which usually includes a resume, teaching plans, recommendation letters, certificates, media, and other evidence of how they teach.

Once you look at the lesson plan, ask why they chose the topics and activities they did. That will give you a quick sense of how permeated they are by the program.

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