Q-Talk: Watch, Speak, Learn

Why does Tribeca Language succeed where countless other schools and teaching methods fail?

For high schools and colleges, the emphasis is on a fist-pounding scholastic method. The classrooms reek of formulas and note-taking. And every rule will be forced into you by relentless repetition and dogged brow-beating. Infinitives, conjugate, simple sentences… infinitives, conjugate, simple sentences…

But who really learns under these conditions? Sure, most of us probably got B’s and maybe an A- minus. The drill-sergeant method, however, appeals more to the few than to the many. How many students have taken years of Spanish or French in high school and college? How many were able to speak those languages after all those years?

Many of us could ace an exam. But ask us to have a conversation with a native speaker and, suddenly, the house of cards collapses. We stumble, try to make the necessary translations in our head, trip over prepositions, become flustered, embarrassed, so on.

The Q-Talk method wipes the table clean and starts from the beginning — our childhood. How do children learn language? They repeat what they hear. Eventually, they make connections between the word and the object.

Mama = the woman who won’t allow you to eat before supper.

Papa = “Sure you can, just ask your mama first.”

No = if I cry, maybe I’ll get what I want.

And this is how we acquire language on a meaningful level. We do a lot of asking, and we figure out how to get around those pesky No’s.

Really, though, it’s even simpler. Children repeat what they hear most. They don’t question why one sentence uses “good,” yet another uses “well.” They just pick the one that sounds right. It’s ok to be corrected, but it’s not ok to conjugate verbs every day. That’s called “classroom.” Tribeca Language is not a classroom. It is a comfortable place for speaking words.

While new words may initially seem foreign, soon enough these very same words will become as familiar as croissant, taco, bouillabaisse, kaput, schmooze.

So the entire raison d’être for this post is to remind everyone to recapture the inner child within us. After all, if a child can learn to speak within a year or two, there’s no reason why an adult shouldn’t be able to do it in half the time.

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