Frequently Asked Questions about Pars Omni® Spanish Classes

Q: Do you have adult class sessions that are less than 3 hours long?

A: Three hours has been found to be optimal for learning with our unique method. Most students report that after a three hour session (1.5 hours of class, half an hour break, and another 1.5 hours of instruction) they feel mentally and physically fresh and alert. Under some conditions, slightly shorter or longer class sessions may be offered.

Q: Are there homework assignments?

A: There are no homework assignments given in the Foundation course. In fact, extensive outside work during the early part of the course can actually be counter-productive. As the course progresses, students begin to appreciate new ways to enhance their own learning outside the classroom. In the beginning, any outside work we do is heavily conditioned by study habits we have picked up in previous schooling. These habits, though perhaps effective in those old school contexts, often create additional stress and are generally oriented toward short term memory. And in all of our programs, we are targeting long term memory. Prior to the class, you will be given additional information on homework.

Q: How many students are there in the class?

A: Class size ranges from 6 to 14 students in the beginning courses. A Pars Omni class requires a group of sufficient size to allow spontaneous interactions among group members, without placing too heavy a performance burden on individual students. And, if the class size grows too large, individual students get too few opportunities to actively speak the new language.

Q: Is one to one tutoring the best method to learn a language?

A: One-to-one tutoring provides complete attention from a trained instructor, who can offer immediate and frequent correction of pronunciation and grammar. However, this unnatural communication style puts a heavy burden on both instructor and student. The student is always on the spot; he feels impelled to stay alert and consciously focused throughout the lesson. This style of teaching attempts to channel all the learning through the conscious mind and ignores other levels of the mind.

Compare this to how a child learns her first language. A child is surrounded by older children and adults, all speaking and understanding a language. Even though the child is not consciously focused on ‘learning’ her new language, she picks it up rapidly and seemingly with little or no effort as she seeks to become more integrated with the others around her Research shows that adults can learn languages more quickly in an organized social setting where there are interesting and emotionally stimulating interactions among group members.

Of course, conventional group classes usually have none of the benefits of one-to-one tutoring, but are often tiring and boring. The best conventional group classes can be interesting and stimulating, but usually fail to reach the “reserve capacities” of the students. Our instructors are trained to orchestrate the dynamics of a small group of students so as to accelerate the learning process and make it a joyful experience at the same time.

Q: In the past, when studying another language, I found myself easily embarrassed and reticent to speak. How can I overcome this?

A: We all have experienced moments of embarrassment which are always accompanied by stress. Probably the most effective thing we can do as individuals to lessen our embarrassment is to place ourselves in situations where we will be encouraged or required to speak the new language. Eventually, the embarrassment wears away as we gain confidence.

Our view is that embarrassment, anxiety and reticence are significant (and universal) barriers to learning and that it is the teacher’s responsibility to create conditions for their reduction. Students find, even during the first class, that our teachers achieve this comfortable classroom environment.

 

For more information or to register for our Spanish classes, click here to contact us today. We look forward to hearing from you!