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The Difference

In the past, most opportunities to learn a second language involved some type of “drill and kill” methodology. The idea was that if learners would repeat words or phrases in the target language enough times, they would learn the language. Even today most programs available for those wanting to learn a second language rely heavily on English and on direct translations. Such programs generally expect students to learn by memorizing rules and repeating isolated words and phrases. Language is not taught in meaningful contexts. Other language learning products only offer training through CDs or audio cassettes, overlooking the overwhelming importance of visual input in language development.
Heflin and Thrall Language Publications recognized the need for a program that would allow learners to acquire Spanish in a more natural way, similar to the way they learned their first language. We also understood that when students feel highly threatened or anxious, they have a much more difficult time acquiring Spanish. Consequently, we created Puertas abiertas so students would have fun learning Spanish.
Level 1 of Puertas abiertas is designed to teach students ages three to adult the Spanish language in such a way that they can comprehend and enjoy the lessons, and develop a desire to become proficient in the language. Individual students and entire families will enjoy watching La Profesora (The Professor) and Pepe Tropical in different settings as they teach and converse and invite the learner to interact with them. Learners will also enjoy the Spanish songs with catchy tunes and simple lyrics introduced in the video program. The curriculum was originally created for preschool, kindertgarten, and elementary aged children in public and private schools, co-ops, and homeschool environments; but as Puertas abiertas evolved, we found students of all ages excited about the product because of its innovative approach to teaching Spanish.
Because students acquire language as they listen to and understand language, Puertas abiertas videos are completely in Spanish and offer students the unique opportunity to listen to Spanish in meaningful contexts and understand as they associate spoken Spanish with graphics, body language, and other visual and aural input. Their growing vocabulary will serve as a building block to learn new material. Students learn at their own pace and watch lessons as many times as necessary to feel comfortable with the material before moving on to a new lesson. While the number of active vocabulary words (specific words emphasized) in each lesson may seem small to the adult learner, they will be hearing these words in the much larger context of Spanish conversation.
The Student Workbook and audio program provide opportunities to review and practice material presented in each video lesson. For this first level, most activities do not require students to read or write, so even toddlers will be able to enjoy them.

Learn more about the Puertas abiertas team.