QTALK Method Founder Visits Language Classes

A cornerstone trait of a Parker progressive teacher is the understanding that, even as teachers, learning is never finished. A good teacher, student or person in general realizes, with advances in technology and understanding of the human mind, new and innovative ways to teach are constantly emerging. Fortunately, Parker faculty deeply understand this concept and are consistently expanding their knowledge through conferences, sabbaticals or conversations with their peers down the hall.

For Upper School French teacher Frank Schaldenbrand, this point was especially apparent when he took part in the most recent American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages Convention. He met with Maurice Hazan, an “innovator in the field of cognition” who has focused his efforts in developing QTALK, which he describes as “a fusion of neuroscience and common sense to learn any language.” QTALK is a language-learning method based on a series of icons to use for interpreting full sentences that may be complex to understand in another language. With visual cues that allow students to speak, QTALK helps students enhance their learning experience through active participation. Or, as Schaldenbrand described, “QTALK uses Hazan’s proprietary image library system to show each word—teaching vocabulary the same way we learn as babies—with images and sounds. Text comes after.”

With his interest raised in seeing the potential benefits of such a system, Schaldenbrand invited Hazan to Parker to share this method in a series of demonstrations to allow the Languages and Cultural Studies Department to see QTALK at work in a live classroom. Hazan made five presentations, including in a 7th grade Spanish class; Upper School French, Spanish and Mandarin classes; and a teacher-only Japanese demo during a debrief and discussion after the school day.

Schaldenbrand said, “Hazan made even the most quiet, challenging and reluctant students speak and laugh.”

By bringing in these different visitors, Parker faculty are constantly polishing and refining their craft. The school thanks Hazan for taking the time out of his schedule to come and personally showcase this method to Parker students and teachers.

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Francis W. Parker School educates students to think and act with empathy, courage and clarity as responsible citizens and leaders in a diverse democratic society and global community.