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AIM Language Learning

http://www.aimlanguagelearning.com/

I've been having a look at the AIM (Accelerative Integrated Methodology) website to find out a bit more about this approach which has become widely used in Canada and, to a lesser extent, elsewhere. Although AIM has been around a few years, I confess I had only heard of it briefly via Twitter colleagues from Canada and it has not made a great mark in Britain.

The best way to learn more about it in detail would be to watch the introductory videos in which the method is explained and seen in use by enthusiastic teachers and pupils.

What struck me was that, if you get beyond the faintly hokey appeals to research, there is much that is familiar if you are a teacher who enjoys games, song, mime, drama, group and pair work. This is a set of resources and a methodology which gets youngsters very actively engaged in listening to and using the foreign language in all kinds of fun ways. There is a strong emphasis on the use of mime and gesture, considerable use of music and acting out, all underpinned by what is claimed to be an inductive approach to grammar. There is, as with many methods, an emphasis on high frequency words.  It is good to see that stories are used rather than traditional topics; stories fire the imagination and can lead to more creative language use. The teachers we hear from in the videos are are clearly huge enthusiasts and the snippets of classrooms we see reveal high quality language produced by smiling children.

The videos feature, largely, younger learners, who respond best to this kind of approach and I would imagine that teachers employing the method would temper it for older learners, appealing to more analytical skills. I can imagine that primary French teachers and children would respond very well to the resources, although I can also see its appeal for younger secondary students. It is possible to become an AIMS Foundation certificated teacher and there is an online training programme also available.

Teachers are always on the look out for panacea methods, and whilst this might not quite be it - because there is no such thing - there is undoubtedly lots to admire.

It is all created by Wendy Maxwell who has won awards for her tremendous work. Here are some sample materials.

I would have thought that AIM deserves wider recognition in the UK.

Comments

  1. Great blogpost, Steve. You've described AIM very well. You just got one thing wrong: it IS a panacea method! :) Waiting for an invite to introduce AIM to the UK!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Please come Sylvia! What you do is amazing, I would love to do the training here in the UK.��

      Delete
  2. Ha ha! I'll have to take your word for that!

    ReplyDelete
  3. HI Steve. I also enjoyed your post. AIM is an amazing teaching tool. I couldn't imagine teaching French without it. I learned French as a second language in Canada and learned it via the deductive approach. That is why oral communication is my weakest area. AIM teaches learners to speak before they read and write, the same way we learn our maternal language. That is why it is such an effective approach. Come on over the pond and see it in action!
    Pauline

    ReplyDelete
  4. I'll get my ticket!

    I would add that speaking before reading and writing is not new. The "oral approach" (developing grammar skill via contextualised practice such as question-answer and repetition) has been doing this since the 1950's. The appeal to child-language acquisition is not new either. That's why I wrote that the principles of AIM are not unfamiliar. The extra emphasis on mime, gesture and acting does make it stand out a bit though.

    Thanks for commenting. It's great you have an approach you and the students enjoy.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Is there any hope of AIM being introduced in the UK? As a French Primary teacher I can see the huge potential there. I already use lots of body language and active fun games, songs, etc.... but they do it to such an extent I find admirable. I'm ready to learn, anyone ready to teach????

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. In response to leromancer, I have been wondering the same thing.
      Have you had any success? I have implemented AIM in French in a primary school in Western Australia at the beginning of the year. I really love the whole thing and have found the kits/resources wonderful. If you are still interested, and would like to learn a bit more in person, I am in the UK (London if not too far) from mid December this year to mid Jan next year.

      Delete
    2. In response to leromancer, totally agree about the potential. I started teaching French using the AIM program and find it rewarding for myself and the kids. I teach in primary school in Western Australia. If you are still interested in learning a bit more I will be in London (if that's not too far for you) in a few days to visit family.

      Delete
    3. Hi Kirsten. I cannot meet you in person, but if you are in the London area you may be interested in contacting Helen Myers who works in Dorking, Surrey. You can find her on Twitter. @HelenMyers or at Ashcombe School. She is interested in all sorts of things.

      Delete
  6. It isn't well established in the UK, but isn't it putting a name on what many teachers do already? I would go to their site and have a look round for any more ideas there. There are teachers on Twitter who are keen, notably @warhelmets.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. @warhelmets is old! I am now @mmegalea and I can give you lots of information about AIM! yes, it does need more recognition in the UK! We are slowly getting there!

      Delete

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