Thursday, September 5, 2013

It's back to school time, and we hope this video will give you some ideas for teaching language using manipulatives with comprehensible input, as we do at Tribeca Language.

Check out our new Video and let us know if you find these examples helpful.

We are the QTalk Team and we are here to help you!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

"What's the difference between QTalk and Rosetta Stone?"

How many times have you seen the Rosetta Stone ad while browsing the web? The marketing campaign is truly ubiquitous. And in fact, many school principals and administrators are asking us, "What's the difference between QTalk and Rosetta Stone?"
Well, there are many differences, and the big one is that Maurice Hazan's QTalk products and subscriptions are a set of flexible tools for learning language with a teacher, a real, live teacher, whether that teacher is in a traditional classroom, an online Skype classroom, a one-on-one tutoring session, a parent or relative teaching a child, or just a friend who has agreed to help you practice your conversation skills. QTalk's Maurice Hazan states in no uncertain terms, "You learn a language by speaking with another person." Yes, when you are reading, you can expand your vocabulary, but to truly activate and think in the language and be fluent, you must speak with a live person, on a regular basis, and not just repeating a few parrotted phrases but really dig in and express yourself, understand the other person, ask questions, tell stories, and do the things we do with language to build and strengthen our social connections with other people.

When we read a recent review of Rosetta Stone by another language instruction technology company, we found ourselves nodding in agreement, and glad someone is taking the time to describe what you really get with Rosetta Stone, and why it's not the best method to learn a language, especially for children.

Read the Language101 creator's critical Rosetta Stone reviews.Then take a look at the QTalk method and decide for yourself whether you agree with the reviewer. By the way, the Language101 materials look very interesting. QTalk until now has not focused on adult self-study materials, although many adult language learners have found QTalk Online Games helpful as a supplement to what they are doing in their language classes or in lessons with tutors.

UPDATE May 2014: Maurice wanted us to update this post because at the time it was written in Feb 2013, he was not offering a self-study option for students. Now with the advances in tablet and smartphone technology, including the tools for speech recognition, Maurice is determined to bring his teaching method to millions of language learners worldwide, not only in the eleven languages offered at Maurice's Tribeca Language center in New York City's Lower Manhattan, but also in the less commonly taught languages in every part of the world. Maurice also wants to emphasize that his approach is far more effective and much better than Rosetta Stone.

Here is the link to Maurice Hazan's Kickstarter project, and he asks you to pledge, even if only one dollar or seven dollars, but there are some really cool rewards for every level of pledge: 

You can follow the developments at

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Chinese Room effect in language teaching

Once more the questions are coming up about school budgets. We don't know whether there will be a sequestration in March, but we do know schools need to make every dollar count. What should teachers be focused on? What is the main purpose of a language class?

At QTalk we are always stressing oral fluency, especially the ability to interact in real-time conversations. It's the language equivalent of a martial arts sparring class - the time when you not only find out whether a student has the proficiency, but also the more they practice the better they get. No amount of memorization or parroting will get you there. Real, live people need to interact, in order for language to be acquired.

Without any question, there is a vogue about computers and mechanics that seeps into our thinking about learning a language. People even say things like, "My hard drive is full," when they feel overwhelmed, or they'll say, "I need to reboot," when they want to take a rest and "recharge batteries," well, you get the point.

We so completely agree with Chris Livaccari's points in this excellent article from the Asia Society newsletter:

Very much worth reading for every language teacher and student, and may especially for every administrator and parent. What seems to be "fluency" can perhaps be a Chinese Room effect. What does YOUR textbook, curriculum, assessment protocol, grading system actuall reward and measure? I think we all very much need to think about this.