Educational Philosophy

At Sponge we believe that learning a new language is not only an enriching and useful endeavor but also a fun and engaging one, no matter your age! Adults in the Sponge Institute can expect an immersive, interactive experience that promotes community learning. We’re guided by our core beliefs:

  • Each language learner has unique motivations for coming to class, whether it’s travel, entertainment, business, or family. Regardless of the reason, we know that it’s only becoming more important to learn a language in our increasingly connected world. We want to help ensure success – that’s why we keep class fun, communication focused, and grounded in culture.
  • Learners are active participants and need authentic language experiences. Current research emphasizes the importance of learning by experience and from within a community of people with likeminded goals. We do this by employing a constructivist philosophy (Merriam and Bierema 2014).
  • Immersion is key to learning! We teach completely in language. Immersion as a practice not only creates a realistic context, it challenges each and every learner to step up and participate. It encourages authentic language interactions and presents opportunities to learn by doing.
  • Most importantly, language learning needs to be fun and interactive. No more grammar drills and fill-in-the-blank exercises. At the Sponge Institute, we teach language through interactive activities like role-play and games, as well as authentic cultural material such as music, film, and art.
  • There’s more to language than the language itself. We teach the five C’s of language instruction, as outlined by the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages. The C’s – Culture, Connections, Comparisons, Communities and Communication – represent the types of experiences students need in order to be successful learners.

Learning a new language can be a challenging task, but it is certainly not impossible. With the support of a community of learners and the guidance of exceptional Sponge instructors, any adult can learn a new language and have fun doing it.

Want to get started? Learn more about our programs.

Merriam, Sharan B. and Laura L Bierema. Adult Learning: Linking Theory and Practice. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2014. Book.