TestimonialsFour-Star Guide Rating from About.com
From former Secretary of State of the United States Lawrence Eagleburger:
4-Star Rating About.com Guide Review - Platiquemos Language Program: Basic Course Level 1
Platiquemos Means Let's Talk
Platiquemos was originally created to train Foreign Service officers and other U.S. government agents involved in foreign affairs who need to learn to speak Spanish. The course has now been reformatted and adapted to make it easy to use and applicable a wide audience.
The course consists of eight levels. Each level includes approximately 175 pages of text and 6 to 8 audio CDs.
Method Of TeachingThe Platiquemos method is known as "guided imitation." The goal is to teach students to speak easily, fluently, and with very little accent, and to do this without conscious effort—just as one learns to speak one's native language. There are two important aspects of the "guided imitation" method. The first is "overlearning"—learning a relatively small body of material so well that it requires very little effort to produce it. The second is learning to imitate the sounds, sequences, and patterns of Spanish—at the tempo at which it is naturally spoken.
The FormatThe first two units focus on pronunciation. The following units consist of a basic dialogue with a few pertinent notes, drills and grammar, conversation, and (beginning with Unit 16) selected readings.
PronunciationPronunciation is the basis of all real fluency. Correct pronunciation safely relegated to habit leaves one's full attention available for other challenges of learning a language.
Basic DialoguesThe basic dialogues are the core of each unit. These dialogues present real situations students are likely to encounter, and teach the vocabulary and sentences they are most likely to need. New vocabulary is introduced in the basic dialogues. The student should learn both the literal meaning of each new word or phrase, since each will reappear many times throughout the course. Notes will suggest regional differences in both the language and the culture that will be encountered in various areas of Latin America and Spain.
Drills and GrammarIf the words and phrases learned in the basic dialogues are the themes, the drills provide variations on those themes. There are four kinds of drills in each unit (three before Unit 6). Of these, two are designed to systematically vary selected basic sentences within the structure the student has already learned. A further two provide a systematic coverage of important patterns.
The drill begins with a listing of basic sentences (and a few new sentences when necessary) that illustrate the grammar point to be drilled. This is followed by the various drills and a more detailed discussion of the pattern. These drills are mainly exercises in substitutions, responses, and translations, and highlight the grammar points covered. They are devised as oral answers to oral stimuli and are meant to be easily and rapidly answered. If a student finds a particular drill to be hard, the difficulty probably arises out of inadequately mastering the dialogues and earlier drills.
ConversationThe conversation section of each unit is designed to help bridge the gap between the more-or-less mechanical stimulus-response activity of the drills and the skill of free conversation, which is the ultimate aim of the course. These recombination monologues and dialogues extend the abilities of the student into ever more natural situations. The narrative is an anecdotal description of an event or situation that is then recast as a directed dialogue in which the instructor acts as a prompter for the student, who take the parts of an actor. The prompter gradually withdraws so that, in the end, the conversation is carried on freely.
Selected ReadingsBeginning with Unit 16, reading materials are introduced. Up through Unit 30, the readings tell a continuing story and expand on matters of interest hinted at in the basic dialogues. These readings require no new vocabulary except for easy and obvious cognate words that can readily be guessed. From Unit 31 through Unit 55, the readings are much longer and introduce a considerable number of new words. This vocabulary is introduced through basic sentences that summarize the content of the following reading. The readings are designed to provide information of interest and value about Spanish culture, and to provide insight into the practical problems an American is likely to encounter in adjusting to life in a Spanish-speaking country.
Schools Using Platiquemos