Curriculum Methodology


Language and culture are meant to be experienced.  With TongueTry, learning a language is an experience like no other, building confidence and language skills for the student and new opportunities plus life experiences for the tutor.



The curriculum for Tongue Try is focused on ensuring that language learners receive instruction and experiences that lead to REAL communication, not contrived language with no actual application.  To ensure this, our native tutors have been trained to provide engaging, effective instruction that creates a positive learning experience.



The foundation of our curriculum is built using the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) proficiency guidelines and Can-Do Statements at each level of language proficiency.  Instead of creating arbitrary levels of language learning, we have created lessons that lead students to different benchmark proficiency levels:  Novice-Low, Novice-Mid, Novice-High, Intermediate-Low, Intermediate-Mid, and Intermediate-High.  ACTFL and language departments recognize these levels nationally. 


In order to build our program, we have taken the 80+ years of teaching experience from our team, and utilized the the leading theories and methods in academia to create the building block for a new immersive language acquisition opportunity. 

Comprehensible Input is a concept that comes Dr. Krashen, one of the leading theorists in 2nd Language acquisition. In his Theory of Second Language Acquisition, he states that students are able to acquire new language when instruction is delivered in language just beyond the students’ current level of proficiency. Comprehensible input is simply an instructional shift when teachers provide input where students understand most, but not all, of the language.

Total physical response (TPR) is a language teaching method developed by James Asher, a professor emeritus of psychology at San José State University. It is based on the coordination of language and physical movement. In TPR, instructors give commands to students in the target language, and students respond with whole-body actions.

Teaching Proficiency through Reading and Storytelling (TPRS®) is a living foreign language teaching method.  It began as a teaching strategy created by a Spanish teacher, Blaine Ray in the late 1980’s. Through the years, thousands of teachers have contributed to the evolution of TPRS® It is based on the idea that the brain needs an enormous amount of Comprehensible Input in the language.  TPRS® focuses on the use of the most commonly-used words and phrases and use them in stories, conversations and other activities so that everything that is talked about in the language is understood by the students.

TPRS® is influenced by the work of Dr. James Asher and Dr. Stephen Krashen.  TPRS® combines Dr. Asher’s Total Physical Response (TPR) with Dr. Krashen’s language acquisition strategies, allowing teachers to focus on using the target language providing amble exposure to concentrated, comprehensible input. The by-product of telling stories and providing this type of input is that students build proficiency and fluency with the abilities to use the language.



Within each level, learners experience real-world applications that lead to deeper understanding, both culturally and linguistically.  There will be no lessons related to topics and phrases that do not have real-world application.  Every lesson has a purpose.  Every purpose leads to new opportunities for the learner and the tutor.  In the end, learners leave with the tools to communicate linguistically and culturally with the satisfaction of helping change the lives of the tutors.


Notes from our Curriculum Experts

As veteran foreign language teachers with over 80 years of teaching experience, 2 Ph.D's and a masters, and a publishing representative with several publishers, the one thing about classroom Spanish 1, 2, 3, etc. that is consistent, is that there is no consistency. Spanish 1 in one school district or for one publisher has different meanings than for another school district or publisher. Instead, TongueTry focuses on proficiency levels as outlined by ACTFL to truly gauge proficiency in using the language.

The focus of the TongueTry curriculum is to lead students to proficiency in speaking and listening. Although there are opportunities for reading and writing within the curriculum, those opportunities are not central to the curriculum. They are offered as support opportunities on the path to proficiency.

Our curriculum focuses on proficiency levels rather than textbook levels, which may be different depending on location or curriculum. But, for those who need to know how the proficiency levels correlate, here is a suggested correlation:

Spanish 1     =     Novice Mid-Novice High
Spanish 2     =     Novice High – Intermediate Low
Spanish 3     =     Intermediate Low-Intermediate Mid
Spanish 4     =     Intermediate Mid-Intermediate High


Ricky Adamson  PhD in Curriculum and Instruction; focus on Foreign Language Education

Ricky Adamson

PhD in Curriculum and Instruction; focus on Foreign Language Education

Jeanette and Tom Arnhart  Jeanette has a PhD in Comparative Literature and Cultural Studies - Interdisciplinary Track. Both Jeanette and Tom have Masters in Spanish Linguistics and Literature

Jeanette and Tom Arnhart

Jeanette has a PhD in Comparative Literature and Cultural Studies - Interdisciplinary Track. Both Jeanette and Tom have Masters in Spanish Linguistics and Literature

For further inquiries on our curriculum and teaching methodology, please send us a message. We are always open to input, feedback, and suggestions!