Today marks our first day of language acquisition. We are using a Growing Participator Approach (GPA) where a nurturer comes to our home for three hours in the morning and two hours in the afternoon. The afternoon sessions will be used to get us out in the community while using our nurturer as our guide.
The first 30-40hours of our language acquisition is not like other foreign language programs. In the first 30-40 hours we are exposed to over 300 words and are required to respond to them nonverbally. In fact, we may not speak at all during these first lessons. Not. a. word.
We are being trained to listen. Our brain is being trained to differentiate sounds and interpret them. We are not to imitate sounds yet, just to listen and respond to the information through body language. We won’t retain all the words. But through the process of mass exposure and training our ears to listen, we will become familiar with the a large amount of vocabulary and be able to master hundreds of words as this process continues. We are encouraged to think of it as an iceburg; large base of vocabulary, small surface of mastered words. The more we add to the base, the more pops out of the water into the mastery world.
After a few days of being here, Wanne (pronounced Vonnie) and I decided it would be best for Rachael and Abi to also have a Portuguese nurturer to better prepare them for school. Rachael does not know this yet (nor are we going to tell her this far in advance to keep her nerves at bay), but she will have an entrance exam before being enrolled in third grade at school. She will be tested on math and Portuguese. While the school knows that she will fail her Portuguese test and this will not affect her placement, they would like to know where she specifically is starting in her education. There is no concern for her Math scores. She has already tested into the middle of third grade in the States and the school has already guaranteed her a spot. Abi will not be tested before entrance.
Beyond the testing, we thought it most helpful to have Rachael and Abi learn some Portuguese before entering a strictly Portuguese environment. So Rachael and Abi will be following the GPA approach as well with a nurturer, Elsa, whom they have already come to love. Elsa has completed secondary school (high school) and is currently scheduled to test into university to study English, with hopes of a future career in translation or teaching. Elsa knows some English and has already been helpful in, as the Sunday School teacher of the children’s class, helping Rachael and Abi with a few English words in order for them to more fully participate in Sunday School. Elsa is gentle, sweet and a bubbly smiler. The girls are VERY excited at the chance to work with Elsa.
We covet your prayers during this process of language acquisition. Specifically, please pray for all of our frustration levels with being mute for the first 2+ weeks of language. Please pray that we would fight valiantly through our hiccups and that God would bless us with understanding and discernment in grasping vocabulary and letting go of others. Please also pray for the two littles, Hannah and Eden, as they continue to make adjustments to our GPA schedule.
Thank you for your love and care for us.
We can’t wait to hear what’s happening in your world too! =)