These courses combine personalized language learning and the focus on the needs of each student with a total immersion in a new culture. Therefore, our program is centered around the following characteristics:
Communicative Approach: Language is a communication instrument. Therefore, our education prioritizes the acquisition of a functional language in real contexts and not simply grammar. These contexts give the opportunity to acquire capabilities to interact and develop the communicative competency that permits you to produce and understand messages in an appropriate manner in specific contexts. This implies the development of different capabilities and is divided into the following categories:
Linguistic Competency: Centered on the knowledge and adequate use of lexical, phonological, syntactic and semantic skills.
Sociolinguistic Competency: Considers contextual factors according to the register, attitude and relation that is established between speakers in search for adequacy of meaning.
Discourse Competency: Permits tense cohesion and coherence in the understanding so that the texts are comprehendible.
Strategic Competency: Permits compensation for errors in occasional communication for deficiencies in some of the previous skills through verbal or paralinguistic elements.
Task Approach: The Communicative Approach has created an atmosphere for new methodological proposals that we see necessary in order to go further into the content to communicate and include processes in education. From there, the procedural programs and task teaching emerged. Task teaching is part of a constructive cognitive conception of learning, which permits the student to be in contact with the language and solve related problems through interaction with different contexts. This education model intends for the student to act and “do something” with the language, and furthermore, create a fusion between the functional program and task teaching. This model combines linguistic, cultural and emerging content with the goal of obtaining a final product that requires certain interaction, investigation, analysis and reflection. In this framework, the courses include the following activities:
Conferences: Conferences take place once a week. On one hand, these conferences provide a listening practice for the student. They also offer information about relevant topics in a manner that the students can understand, know and value little by little the socio-cultural reality of Bolivia and Latin America. In this way, the conferences facilitate the process of acculturation. On the other hand, they promote students to have an experience of cultural, pastoral, and social exchange that help them relate the language to this context and interact with the Latin American culture with confidence.
Conferences strengthen the community of students so they learn with a communal spirit.
Educational Outings: Students go to a variety of places of interest both within the city of Cochabamba and other departments of Bolivia. This way, students have the opportunity to live the history and reality of Bolivia and Cochabamba through practicing the language with a unique cultural immersion. It also provides a space for students to interact with each other.
This methodology promotes an integral and intercultural education. To achieve communicative competency, the correct use of the language and social interaction is only the first step in the program. Later, the student must achieve intercultural competency: that is to recognize the values of a new culture, interact among two cultures (their culture and a new) and understand and accept the differences.