Our teaching methodology & class structure

Teaching method Intercultura Costa Rica

CLASS SIZE

Class sizes are kept small and dynamic, with a maximum of 6 students per class, in order to maximize student talk time and one-on-one attention from the teacher. Classes are held for 4 hours per day, and have a maximum of 6 students, with an average of 3-4 (except during high season, with averages of 4-6). Classes containing only 1 student may be reduced to 3 hours per day instead of 4. Exceptions may apply for academic credit candidates, and/or at the discretion of the program director.

COMMUNICATIVE CLASSROOM

In a communicative classroom, language is seen as a social tool. With this in mind, our Spanish courses not only teach grammatical conjugations and the syntax of the language, but also the wider cultural aspects of language and communication, with the goal of engaging and stimulating learning. 

At Intercultura, you won’t find our Spanish teachers dictating to students, while they frantically take notes. Instead we implement activities that involve real communication, in which language is used for carrying out meaningful tasks that are relevant to the learner. Social interaction activities such as pair and group work, role play, discussion sessions and dialogues are used, helping students to learn the language and express their own communication needs.

WHAT IS THE COMMUNICATIVE APPROACH?

The Communicative Approach to teaching the Spanish language actively engages the learner in the classroom. This system of teaching puts the focus of learning on the learner, meaning that they are engaged and active participants in the language acquisition process. Students learn to speak in real-life situations that teach them to communicate appropriately in a social and linguistic context. Our syllabus and framework for class sessions are tailored to the needs of students in an immersion program, and are designed to integrate cultural activities into the learning process.

Take a look what Spanish in action can look like - Spanish and cooking class combined:



FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQs)

How far will I get in a month? 

A typical student who is also living in a homestay and taking our standard Spanish group classes, and who begins with no previous Spanish experience, can expect to reach an average of high beginner level after four to five weeks; high intermediate after eight to ten weeks; and high advanced after 12 to 15 weeks. It is also common (and recommended) to remain at any given level until oral proficiency at that standard is reached. Students who are staying with other foreigners may take a little longer, while those with knowledge of other romance languages make go faster. We try to group students into classes with similar levels and abilities, and you are always able to request a change if you feel the class is too difficult or too easy for you. 

Communicative Method - what it is all about?

Our Spanish program uses immersion teaching methods centered around the Communicative Approach.

  • Our goal is to enable students learning Spanish to truly express themselves. Instead of a traditional grammar program, classes are designed to provide balance between theory and practice.
  • The course incorporates all aspects of language acquisition: conversation, grammar, reading, listening, writing, general comprehension and idiomatic expressions.
  • In addition to formal textbooks, we use a wide variety of current materials: newspapers, literature, internet, videos, advertisements, music, short stories and more. Classes also incorporate field-trips and out-of-class learning experiences by taking students to practice their Spanish in supermarkets, the beach, buses, restaurants, and other areas where practice is a necessity. Classes are interesting as well as educational!