Created by Professor Traute Taeschner in collaboration with other European universities, the Narrative Format main concepts are:
The Narrative Format: the theoretical basis of the DinoCrocs language teaching programme is based on these three principles:
The Principle of Narrative Format: learning a foreign language in a manner analogous to the processes of maternal language acquisition through repetitive experiences shared by the baby with the adult. The use of theatrical stories, with the support of gestures and mimicry, allows the meaning of words and phrases to be learnt through active work.
The Principle of Good Communication: in order to learn to speak an emotional bond between the conversational partners is essential. Establishing a relationship of affection and complicity is key to motivate the desire to communicate.
The Principle of Bilingualism: pretending not to understand the everyday or hosting country language and keeping the conversation in the foreign language.
The Magic Class: 6 steps to live a magical world!
Each class takes place in the creative world of fantasy, where only the new language is spoken and children, surrounded by the love and affection of the Magic Teacher, have fun and learn, each one according to his/her age and individual skills.
- Let’s begin!: We enter the magical world of DinoCrocs!
- DinoTheatre!: as if we were actors, we act the Hocus&Lotus story all together.
- DinoMusical!: and now we are singers! We repeat the story but now with music!
- DinoBook: we love reading and seeing the illustrations of the book, learning colors and shapes.
- DinoCartoon!: highest expectation: the cartoon! We watch the funniest situations repeating the previously used language again.
- See you soon!: we hold hands and close our eyes to get back to the real world.
The Magic Teacher: the role of the Magic Teacher is key in the Hocus&Lotus educational programme.
Only the teacher who has completed our training can teach the Magic Class.
Our Magic Teachers really get into the imaginary world of DinoCrocs, and transmit the fantasy of their adventures to the children in a very empathic and lovely way.
With detailed analysis of their gestures, posture, frequency of smiling and other factors, we define the "magic" performance of each teacher.
Educational top quality materials: to ensure the success of the programme, the use of the Hocus&Lotus materials is a must. They are an educational tool and are to be used both in the class and at home.
Each item of the kit has been created and tested to perform a specific function within the programme and succeed in the language learning process. Language repetition comes with different formats: songs in the CD, cartoons with the DVD, written stories with the books and e-Books and online activities, carried out with the educational tool of the t-shirt.
Its use allows contact with the foreign language every day while encouraging the link between school and family.
The parent's role: recent research studies confirm the importance of parents’ involvement not only for better school results but also to help social integration of the children. With our programme, this daily DinoCrocs routing of 5-10 minutes also provides the necessary daily contact with the foreign language. Parents can share the language learning:
- Listening the CD with the songs.
- Watching the cartoon together.
- Reading the book (also available online when not fluent in the foreign language).
- Playing any of the activities available online with the kid.
Bilingualism and multilingualism: misconceptions and both linguistic and cognitive advantages/benefits
In many parts of world it is quite normal for children to be exposed to two or even more languages right from birth, but in Europe this is relatively unusual. Growing up with more than one language is often regarded as ‘special’ and ‘effortful’ and still surrounded by many false beliefs, misconceptions, a direct result from lack of information. A prime example is that the home language of children from minority and migrant communities is often regarded as an obstacle to successful linguistic and social integration. As a result, bilingualism in these communities is often abandoned and children are in danger of growing up with a negative perception of their home language and cultural identity.
Nevertheless, recent research on language and cognition in bilingual speakers sends a completely different message. Many studies show that children who grow up with two languages often develop high levels of fluency and literacy in both, and even tend to have an earlier grasp of some key components of literacy. Also, children who know more than one language have a spontaneous understanding of language structure and this makes it easier for them to learn additional ones. As a result, having one language can actually facilitate the development of the other.
Because bilingual children have to constantly switch between languages by choosing one or the other, depending to their interlocutors or even different situations, they develop a powerful mechanism for keeping the two languages separate. This is what lies at the root of other reported beneficial effects of bilingualism in non-linguistic domains involving mental flexibility and multitasking: bilingual children tend to do better than monolingual children at tasks where they have to selectively pay attention and ignore irrelevant information, or even switch between alternative solutions to a problem.
Therefore, as multilingualism is becoming more common in our society, research on language and the brain provides very powerful arguments for encouraging bilingualism in young children and for maintaining minority languages, whether indigenous or introduced by international mobility.