AMCO Methodology
Thread poster: Cristina Fernández

Cristina Fernández  Identity Verified
Local time: 16:54
Member (2008)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Jul 31, 2012

My son is turning 3 and he will start infant school next september . I was excited when the teachers told us about the teaching methodology they used for children, I thought it was interesting because it imposes a great importance of communicative approaches, allowing children to communicate more effectively.

Today, I´ve met some mothers of elder children who studied with this meethodology and they weren´t happy at all. They said it has been designed to be employed in Mexico and didn´t fit with the Spanish teaching system, that it´s expensive and useless.

What do you (as linguists/teaching related proffesionals) think about this method?


Neil Coffey  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 15:54
French to English
+ ...
I'd be wary about a school's main selling point being that they've "bought into a fad" Aug 1, 2012

Cristina Fernández wrote:
My son is turning 3 and he will start infant school next september . I was excited when the teachers told us about the teaching methodology they used for children

If you look at the history of language teaching over the past few decades, it's basically consisted of a series of "fads" introduced with successive generations (be it the "language laboratory", the "immersive program", "task based learning" or wotnot...).

Each of these promised to be the magic piece of snake oil that would revolutionise learning. But mysteriously, no particular generation appears to have stood out for their genial linguistic competence...

So... I'm not familiar with the particular scheme that you mention. But just bear in mind that if the school's main claim is that they have bought into some new proprietary method (rather than, say, the competence of their teachers in devising teaching strategies and adapting to the particular needs of their pupils), then it won't be the first time that this claim has been made and I would be skeptical about their choice of religiously following a particular method as being a great motivating factor for choosing that particular school.

It may accidentally turn out that your child is one of those that happens to be most suited to that particular method. But what if it doesn't... what solution is the school then offering you?

[Edited at 2012-08-01 01:47 GMT]


Mailand  Identity Verified
Local time: 16:54
Italian to German
+ ...
Methodologies come and go - the teacher/s is/are important Aug 1, 2012

In my opinion a "child attuned" teacher, preferably mothertongue or at least equivalent, counts more than any method. My bilingual children (German/Italian) started English as 8 years olds with a mothertongue teacher who has more or less developed her own method and loves to work with kids (and them with her), with stunning results.
Talk to the teachers, watch how they interact with the kids and trust your instinct.
Good luck

[Edited at 2012-08-01 08:25 GMT]

[Edited at 2012-08-01 08:26 GMT]


Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Local time: 15:54
Member (2007)
+ ...
How many people know about this fad? Aug 1, 2012

I'd be extra wary about a fad which has barely been discussed in English, if my Google searches are anything to go by. I expected my search to swamp me with informed debate about this methodology, but it appears that there's very little out there. Maybe there's a lot more in Spanish, but I can't access it as I'm still a beginner in the language, although learning fast using the totally old-fashioned methodology of cramming and practising.

I've been asked to teach two of these "new and innovative" EFL methodologies, and in the recent case I was able to sit in on a lesson. I have to say that some of the students (adults) were doing very well and were producing very natural English. But others were totally flummoxed by the use of coloured rods and coloured charts. It appeared that when they wanted to say anything, they had to work out what order to put all the rods in - rods of different lengths and different colours. In fact it seemed to me, and to some of them, that this was a more important achievement than producing fluent English. That's actually a bit harsh - as I said, it was working well for some of the students, but others clearly saw this as time-wasting and an unwanted intrusion in their language learning.

I believe that it was working for most of them only because they had a highly-trained but also highly-motivated teacher. I could not see myself having that motivation, so there was no way I could have taught it successfully. So, I would advise you to try to get to know the teachers. If they are really dedicated to this methodology, then it may work reasonably well. Of course, you can't guarantee they will stay at the school.

Another question to ask yourself is obviously what would happen if the school discontinued using this system, or your child changed schools: would he be on a par with his peers and adapt quickly, or would he be really disadvantaged?


Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 07:54
English to German
+ ...
I took a look at their website Aug 1, 2012

Uhm, they are a little bit too focused on digital media. Which means that 3-year-olds are sitting in front of a computer while they should rather run around and play. Is this interesting school sponsored by a computer manufacturer?


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