All teachers of the GoStudy Training Center are native speakers. The educational process is based on the direct method—the predominant non-use of the students’ native language. From the first lesson, only Czech is used.
The aim of the courses is to develop students’ passive language skills (understanding of oral and written speech) and active skills (reproduction of oral and written speech) at the B2 level and above.
GoStudy educators use a combination of a communicative teaching method and accompanying methods.
GoStudy courses are intensive. Students study the language for 5-6 academic hours a day.
The task is to use the 1,200 academic hours allotted for the language course as efficiently as possible while making the learning process interesting and supporting the students’ desire to learn the Czech language.
Learning through dialogue
First of all, teachers introduce students to the language of everyday communication situations. Most often, teaching is carried out through dialogue, where the teacher acts as an assistant and a friend. So that students do not experience difficulties in real communication in Czech, we explain to them how to use the language for various purposes (we teach them to distinguish between formal and informal, oral and written speech) and from the very beginning of training, we train the skills of making a conversation.
At the first stages, communication skills are practiced with a limited lexical and grammatical base, at the last stages—the skills of using the vocabulary learned during the year at the B2 level and above.
“My students appreciate the communicative approach to teaching Czech and the fact that we often go on walks and excursions around Prague.”
Brainstorming and role-play
Part of the communication method is the so-called brainstorming. The teacher sets the task and the students share their ideas—they just list everything they think on the topic. The teacher takes on the role of a guide, helps students think in the right direction, comments on all their ideas, and gives hints. Such tasks are very effective in mastering vocabulary. The goal of the method is to teach students to quickly respond to a question, not be afraid to speak and to easily express their opinion in Czech. At the same time, grammar and writing skills are practiced here.
Another communicative method loved by our students is role-playing games. In order to make the learning process more diverse, our teachers include games in it. These can be board games, bingo, crosswords, dominoes, puzzles, cards, and so on. The goal is to consolidate the grammar and vocabulary learned. Teachers often organize competitions for students and organize work in pairs or groups.
Graphic materials are used to ensure the productive skills of speaking and writing. GoStudy has a very rich base of educational illustrative materials.
“Working as a teacher is very demanding and difficult, but I really like it. My students say about me that I am incredibly patient :)”
Out-of-school activities play an important role in increasing the motivation of students to learn the Czech language, so we always organize a lot of trips, excursions, conversation evenings, and participation in cultural events. The goal is to help students start actively using the Czech language in everyday life.
Audiovisual and audiolingual methods
We actively use the audiolingual method when practicing phonetic skills. Our teachers use a projector almost every day. We pay a lot of attention to listening assignments, listen to Czech songs, and watch fragments of Czech films. For them, we have developed tasks aimed at developing productive speech skills. Such techniques, as imitation, memorization, the formation of a speech utterance by analogy, are used.
Only proven methods
In our training center, we refused to use such modern methods, as suggestionstopedia (the use of musical influence to improve the perception of the material) or the act and speak method (learning a language through theatrical performances).
We need our students in a relatively short time, that is 6-8 months, to learn to speak Czech well and to reach the B2 level. We use proven methods for this.
“My goal is to teach so that my students are not afraid to speak Czech, enter Czech universities, and integrate into Czech society.”
Formation of grammatical competencies
We need our students to master Czech grammar well. The teacher’s explanation of grammar is not always the main method of presenting grammar, that is, the frontal method is the main one, but we also try to push students to learn to deduce grammar rules themselves. First, it makes the rules easier to remember. Secondly, the student learns to understand Czech as a system.
Critical reading teaching method
We prepare students for studies in Czech universities; therefore, one of our main goals is to teach them to understand the texts. The entrance exams in many areas test the ability of applicants to understand complex texts in the specialty. In the first stages of training, we work with the simplest texts. On them, students learn reading strategies in Czech.
Once we learn the basics of grammar, we start working with more complex texts, i.e. newspaper articles or popular science texts from various thematic journals. It is important for students to learn to understand the main ideas of the text.
Our teachers carry out different types of tasks with students, referring to tests from entrance exams to Czech universities of previous years. This work includes an in-depth study of the vocabulary of the Czech language. Students learn to choose synonyms and antonyms. In the classroom, critical reading skills, the ability to deduce what follows from the text, to determine the author’s intentions are developed.
Students undergo intensive phonetic practice in the first week of training. Further, throughout the course, teachers correct mispronunciation in the classroom and additionally develop students’ phonetic competencies within the framework of advisory hours. If necessary, a speech therapist is involved in the training process.
We are aware of all new techniques
All GoStudy teachers are members of the Association of Teachers of Czech as a Foreign Language (AUČCJ).
Our teachers regularly participate and speak at meetings and seminars. As members of the Association, they are up to date with new techniques, textbooks, and projects. At a meeting of the methodological commission of the GoStudy Training Center, we discuss which new techniques are advisable to include in the educational process and to what extent.
Testing and monitoring student progress
In the learning process, we distinguish individual stages. Intermediate tests of the progress of students’ knowledge are regularly conducted. All teachers create small tests that check how students have mastered certain topics. With an interval of every 100 academic hours, all groups of our students write a comparative test. Throughout the course, teachers provide an assessment of the language progress of each student and individual recommendations.
Each GoStudy teacher has advisory hours. A student may come and ask to explain a topic he/she does not understand.
If among the students, there are children with learning disabilities—with dyslexia and dysgraphia,—teachers apply an individual approach to them. At the end of the training, each student writes the final test and takes an oral exam. This exam informs students about the level of knowledge of the Czech language they have achieved, according to the CEFR (Common European Framework of Reference for Languages).
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