Institute makes learning new language exciting

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In this undated photo, Jason Fritz (center) teaches a class during the annual Summer Language Institute at Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro, Tenn. (Photo submitted)

The Summer Language Institute is at it again, offering a number of summer courses geared to teaching foreign languages.

For the 11th year, the Summer Language Institute will offer five-day summer courses in Spanish, French, Latin, Arabic and Mandarin to Middle Tennesseans.

Highly trained instructors will teach the courses from the Center for Accelerated Language Acquisition.
These instructors have been trained in total physical response and teaching proficiency through various reading and storytelling methods, which yield rapid language learning, according to experts.

One student who attended last year said that he enjoyed the methods of learning.

“I walked in knowing nothing and walked out knowing mucho,” Walker Purcell said.

The first session has already begun, but a second set of classes will be offered Monday, July 15, at Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro until Friday, July 26. 

Session two will offer all of the same courses with an addition of Chinese and complementary afternoon methodology courses for those interested in teaching future classes.

Courses will begin at 9 a.m. and end at 12:30 p.m., with methodology course from 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. in the Paul W. Martin Sr. Honors Building at the university.

Different from most high school foreign language courses, which generally focus on memorization for short-term memory, the institute uses body movements and storytelling to effectively help the brain store a new language in long-term memory.

“It produces an immediate immersion experience and comprehension at the same time,” said associate professor Shelley Thomas, who founded the Center for Accelerated Language Acquisition. “The Center for Accelerated Language Acquisition of MTSU focuses on using methods based on research as to how the brain learns best."

Infused with methods like total physical response and teaching proficiency through reading and storytelling, the resulting class in engaging, natural and fun, Thomas said.

“We know from research that unless there’s comprehensible input, there’s no acquisition of languages,” she said.

Classes will meet on the first day at 8:45 a.m. so attendees can receive parking passes.

The deadline for session two is Monday, July 1. Courses cost $300 each and $150 for additional courses.

MTSU students will receive a 50 percent discount, and courses may be taken for graduate credit hours by registering through the university.

For more information, visit or contact Thomas at

Tagged under  Center for Accelerated Language Acquisition, Education, MTSU, Murfreesboro, Summer Language Institute

Members Opinions:
July 02, 2013 at 9:10am
While the deadline was set to July 1, if you're still interested please email anyway.

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