Academic Approach

Academic Approach

Our immersive approach to language learning exposes students to language and culture—not just in the classroom—but throughout their daily activities at the Academy.

The Academy programs consists of four weeks of hands-on language immersion, with a mix of both academic and experiential curricula. Students will work independently and collaboratively in the classroom setting and through opportunities for language acquisition outside of the classroom.

Academy students will receive approximately 125 hours of supervised instruction and an additional 150 hours in the target language during cultural exploration classes, free time, meals and excursions. Students’ commitment to maintaining the Language Pledge® results in tremendous language gains—on average one full language level in four weeks for the large majority of our students.

How Grammar is Taught at the Language Academy

Our curriculum at the Academy includes teaching many grammar concepts, although not as explicitly as in many language textbooks. The curriculum is not organized by grammar topics, and rather than memorizing verb conjugations or sentence structure, Academy language instructors teach grammar more implicitly through usage and the development of communication skills.

Textbooks vs. Authentic Materials

Although students will attend classes for three hours every day during the week, there are no textbooks for students to buy or hours of homework for students to complete. In place of textbooks, our teachers—who are trained in the Middlebury method of immersive language learning—utilize authentic materials to introduce students to new vocabulary and language principles, as well as history and culture. Students might read newspapers in language, watch videos with native speakers or learn about traditional fables, myths and legends through cultural materials. Students are encouraged to bring a dictionary with them to look up vocabulary words that are essential to daily tasks living immersed in language, but that's the only book suggested.

Language & Culture Are Inseparable

Extensive research shows that learning language and culture simultaneously is important for achieving language fluency. As such, our curriculum gives equal weight to teaching tangible language skills, as well as expanding students’ knowledge of various cultures, customs and global perspectives. Academy students pursue a variety of activities that enrich their understanding of the places that speak their language, from cooking and dance classes to lectures on politics, history and art.