1. Upon selection of the day(s) and time for the classes, Discovery Language Programs will prepare enrollment forms for eligible students. The forms are distributed at the school and are returned to the school office, or the Discovery Language Programs main office, with payment approximately 7-10 days after distribution. (sample form provided upon request). Discovery Language Programs handle all administration.
2. Standard class size is 8-14 students per teacher and language. Whenever possible, students are divided by grade and ability levels.
3. Discovery Language Programs teaching staff is carefully selected. Teachers are fluent in English and the target language they teach. They are either native speakers, have lived extensively in a foreign country, or have a degree in the foreign language they teach. While we do not require certification, over half of our teachers are certified. If not certified, some form of teaching experience is required. Regardless of experience, all teachers are trained in the Discovery Language Programs method. As of today we have over a hundred teachers on staff.
4. All teachers are evaluated periodically by a supervisor. Aspects of evaluation consist of lesson preparedness, use of games/movement, use of target language, students’ knowledge of the material, pronunciation, participation/interaction, discipline and enthusiasm.
5. Communication between the teacher, the school and the parents is an important part of our program. On the first day of class, parents receive the home phone number and the email address of their child’s teacher and are encouraged to call with any questions or concerns. Our teachers are also provided with contact information of the parents so they can email them on a weekly basis. Parents are constantly informed about what is happening during class and what the students are supposed to prepare for the following meeting.
Parents may observe their child’s class at any time. There are usually two “Open Houses” and parents are invited to a presentation. Mid-way through the program, Discovery will prepare a parent survey to inquire about their opinion of the program, their child’s learning of the language, suggestion they may have, etc.
6. At the beginning of the program, each child receives a schedule with the dates that class will be held in accordance with the school calendar. If a class is cancelled, an additional class is added to the end of the session and a revised schedule is sent home. The school office also receives copies of each class list and calendar.
7. Each student receives a workbook and a CD he/she is responsible for bringing to class each week. Every unit (such as “The Family,” “Food,” or “Clothing”) has three to four pages of fun, creative and enriching activities and a detailed vocabulary list. Each unit also provides interesting cultural notes particular to the way of life in the country where the foreign language is spoken.
The CD coincides exactly with the topics covered in class and is a great tool for home reinforcement.
Additional handouts are distributed over the session to cover current events, holidays, etc.
8. Progress reports are sent home approximately every 12 weeks. They can also be sent more often if requested.
9. Teachers are to arrive 10 minutes prior to the start of class and must stay until the last student is picked up. If class has ended and a child has not been picked up, the teacher will consult the list of home/work/emergency phone numbers provided for each child and attempt to contact someone. All teachers are specifically instructed to never leave a child unattended at the school.
10. At the end of the session, we encourage the students to go on a “field trip” with the teacher to an ethnic restaurant. Parents and siblings are also invited to attend. This is an enjoyable activity in which the students can experience the language and culture first-hand.
11. In order to keep the students’ interest in the language over the summer, teachers often give out simple homework assignments. For example, during the month of July, students may be asked to watch a Spanish channel for 10 minutes and see how much they can understand, count as high as possible, listen to their favorite sounds on the CD, and/or teach a friend or sibling how to say their birthday in the target language. Students who complete the extra work will receive a dictionary when they return in the fall.
12. Discovery Language Programs provide liability insurance for our programs. A certificate of insurance will be provided upon request.
13. The length of our program varies. The longest program runs for 22 weeks and covers the whole school year. Twelve and fourteen week programs are also very common. An eight week pilot program can be initiated at any time during the school year.