Click on the buttons below to read more about any one basic tenet of INTERLINK instruction.
In needs-based classes, the learner’s needs take precedence over every other concern and consideration. Factors such as students’ needs, educational backgrounds, cultural conditioning, idiosyncratic learning styles, and personal circumstances all play a role in how (and how well) students learn, and therefore, are of consequence to how teachers conduct classes. At INTERLINK:
- the needs of the students come first
- individual learning styles and preferences are recognized, appreciated and accommodated
- students are encouraged to become independent learners
- the teacher is not a lecturer or performer but a mentor, guide and coach
- the focus is on what students learn rather than on what teachers teach.
Because we believe that we cannot truly “teach” language but only guide and assist students in their learning, the teacher’s role is to be a facilitator who provides “a nurturing context for learning” (H. D. Brown) Textbooks are auxiliary tools, not the core of a class. Using student knowledge and experience as starting points, classes focus on expanding, examining, challenging, and reformulating this content, with academic outcomes in mind. At INTERLNK:
- students learn through “doing” language in purposeful, authentic communication
- success is measured by what students can “do” communicatively, academically, and cross-culturally rather than by what they “know” cognitively
- learning takes place outside as well as inside of the classroom through continual language practice and (cross-cultural) contact with authentic texts
- the role of the teacher is to devise and structure effective opportunities for learning
- “teacher talk” is kept to a minimum
Holistic education refers both to teaching to the whole person and the integration of skills and materials within a given activity. Just as we cannot ignore the whole character of the learner, neither can we ignore the unified nature of language itself and teach such skills as grammar or pronunciation in isolation and without regard to real communication.
- we promote interaction between the whole learner and whole language
- we focus on attitudes, study habits, social skills, as well as critical thinking and intellectual abilities
- language is learned as a “whole” system and not a collection of isolated skills
- classes integrate linguistic, cross-cultural, and academic skills
Reflection helps students retain and integrate what they learn, as well as better understand their own needs, strengths and weaknesses, and identify initiative-taking strategies for coping with problems and making further progress. At INTERLINK, students:
- develop greater self-awareness and learn to accept responsibility for their own learning and growth
- develop greater sensitivity and respect for others
- develop their capacity to think clearly and critically
- learn how to apply their knowledge and skills in new ways and contexts
Teaching should be flexible and responsive to students’ individual needs. Instruction focuses on students rather than on the materials of instruction.
- each student is respected and treated as a unique individual
- a caring relationship is established between student and teacher
- students are encouraged to examine their own strengths and weaknesses and their own individual styles of learning
- attention is paid to affective factors that impact learning
- learning is viewed as a process of personal growth, not a mechanical process of accruing information
Heuristic learning or learning through discovery tends to be inductive, experiential, creative, self-motivated, and dynamic. The paradigm of heuristic learning is represented by a student solving a problem rather than digesting information fed by a teacher. At INTERLINK:
- students are encouraged to learn how to learn and not just accumulate discreet facts and pieces of information
- teachers help students “discover” language patterns and relationships, and develop “inner criteria for correctness”
- teachers focus on devising situations and activities from which a student can learn through their own discoveries