How is GrapeSEED effective? Why GrapeSEED?
- 1. The Functions and Concepts approach takes advantage of the natural language learning capabilities of children
- GrapeSEED is based on the "Functions and Concepts" approach (ideal for a child's brain), as opposed to the antiquated grammatical approach (designed for an adult brain). While there are ways to convey thoughts using the grammatical approach, this requires a high level of analytical conceptualization to understand the objective, effects and structure of the grammar and to be able to select the appropriate language function and expression. The process of putting together the subject and the verb after changing the verb to express your thoughts is not an easy process even for an adult. If you learned a foreign language during your school days, you can easily understand this difficulty. This process, which is difficult for an adult, seems impossible to a child. Even if the child learns some grammatical phrases by heart, he might not be able to functionally use them, to communicate with them Aside from being highly ineffecient, this approach also is discouraging for the young learner.
Regarding the Functions and Concepts approach
When children listen to a phrase, they try to link
1. The series of sounds
2. What they are trying to achieve
3. How it works
Thereafter, to solidify their understanding, they reproduce the sound and repeat the whole process until the expression becomes functional. The result is success in communication. Language learning becomes fun. The process is highly efficient. The student rapidly advances in proficiency.
Children get excited when the "thing" they learn to say works according to their expectations. They are eager to test the new words whenever they get a chance, and they keep trying them out and naturally increase their store of vocabulary and concepts. This is the heart of the "Functions and Concepts" approach that GrapeSEED is based upon.
As they advance in their learning, children continue to use the first words and concepts they learned, and go on adding more of the common usage words and functions. As they hear the new words and use them more frequently, the children become agile in their usage of the language functions. In other words, they learn to communicate smoothly.
As they build their language skills, children seek more words to accurately express their desires and emotions. GrapeSEED responds to this enthusiasm and dexterity by teaching them new phrases at the right times to steadily improve their communication abilities.
- 2. Acquiring essential vocabulary in phases as needed to speak in English
- Studies show that people who live in an English environment require approximately 800 words in a day. At GrapeSEED, we have studied and analyzed this enormous amount of data, and have compiled a glossary of what we consider essential to learn English conversation. We add these words to the curriculum, beginning with those with the highest frequency of use, so children start communicating in English quickly once they know a few words. The children acquire advanced English language skills from the very beginning when they start learning vocabulary as part of a focused and phased system. By teaching practical phrases with frequently used vocabulary from the very beginning, we give students confidence that they can speak in English!
- 3. Special phonics system promotes accelerated reading and writing skills
Phonics is a set of rules that determines the pronunciation of a word by looking at the structure of the alphabet. Recognizing the specific phoneme at the alphabet level, and then pronouncing the sound accurately using phonics, is the fastest way to learn to read and write in English.
GrapeSEED further develops the knowledge of phonemes and phonics through a special phonics system in the curriculum that is based on the principle that all the sounds of the phonogram are taught at the same time. Once you learn this principle, you can correctly decipher the pronunciation of English words 90% of the time. This accuracy level exceeds the 60% success rate of horizontal phonics learning by a huge margin.
In GrapeSEED phonics, sounds are taught in the order of their frequency of use, so when children look at a new word they are able to recognize the phoneme in no time and know which sounds should be attempted first (decoding). Using this method, they are able to read the new word by putting the phonemes together. This connects the pronunciation, articulation and various other aspects of reading and writing in the best possible way.
This exhaustive system of phonics is incorporated in the curriculum from Level 1, so children acquire the habit of being proficient in pronunciation from the very beginning of the program.
- 4. Multi-faceted learning process encourages children to think in English
- The comprehensive GrapeSEED curriculum uses a variety of learning methods, such as songs, chants, poems, stories, et cetera. These methods follow the same diversified approach and offer the same experience children have when they learn their mother tongue: they learn vocabulary and language usage directly. By using a variety of study materials together, the children naturally learn to use the appropriate tenses, grammar and basic English syntax.
- In the GrapeSEED program, language functions are more important than language structures, so children first study language usage and vocabulary by listening. At the onset, a specific amount of time is devoted to pronouncing the words until they can pronounce them correctly. Once the children get used to listening, they try to understand the usage of English words they learn in songs or poems without converting them into their native tongue first and then they try to create expressions for their own emotions and thoughts without translating them into their native tongue. In other words, they are able to think in English just like a bilingual person would.
- 5. Flexible, Levels-Based Structure for the Classroom supported by an Extended English Environment (EEE)
The GrapeSEED curriculum consists of 40 levels. Since learning and practice at each level are divided so as to ensure an increase in skill throughout the curriculum, individual schools can set up the study schedule according to the environment and the specific needs. Typically, children can achieve Level 1 in 20 classes of 40 minutes each, if an adequate number of related repeat sessions are carried out for each class.
However, with the limited time in kindergartens and schools, it is generally difficult to manage the requisite number of repeat sessions. Repeat sessions are one of the most important elements to successfully acquire ESL. To become bilingual, children should be in an environment where the second language is used for at least two hours every day.
To accomplish this, GrapeSEED provides CDs and DVDs as an essential part of the EEE curriculum so that children have a link to their lessons beyond the classroom, and can continue their repeat sessions in the Extended English Environment. This does not imply that they only repeat the lesson content. Each of these study materials has a specific purpose. The CDs are designed to improve listening abilities, while the DVDs provide a variety of expressions.
EEE study materials improve flexibility in the GrapeSEED program. For example, if only 2 or 3 classroom sessions can be set up in a particular week, the curriculum can still proceed smoothly by changing the schedule of EEE learning at home. Experience has shown that the children who use the EEE learning materials every day are the ones who gain a high level of English proficiency in the shortest amount of time.