Christopher Steven Showers, the director of Ameringlés Language Services, was born in the United States and lived there until finishing his Bachelor’s Degree at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. His major was Foreign Language Teaching.
While completing his studies in the United States, Christopher worked as a volunteer teacher with the ROCS Project (Retain our College Students), an academic support program for university students who are at risk academically or have specialized learning needs. He also spent one semester at the University of Valladolid, where he obtained a Diploma in Hispanic Studies and managed several language exchange meetings.
Upon finishing his studies in the United States, Christopher moved to Burgos to work in a bilingual high school through a teacher exchange program managed by the Spanish Education Ministry. Once in Burgos, he began to study a Master’s Degree and, later, he was granted the Degree of Master in Teaching in Obligatory Secondary Education and Post-Obligatory Secondary Education, Professional Training, and Language Teaching. Said degree allows him to give English classes in public secondary schools in Spain.
In addition to his extensive professional training, Christopher has experience as a translator and teacher with the Spanish Red Cross and is in possession of a Spanish as a Second Language Diploma from the Cervantes Institute, said diploma accrediting a “C2 – Superior” level. He couldn’t think of doing anything other than being a teacher and translator and he founded this business to be able to do something that he loves while, at the same time, helping people to break language barriers.
“I read it OK, but I have more problems when I speak.” That’s a typical Spanish student’s response when you ask about his/her English level. Why are there so many people who can read English but really can’t speak it? Is there a fault in the educational system? At Ameringlés, we think so.
The system which has traditionally been used in Spain to teach foreign languages is a grammar-based system; that is to say, English has been studied like Mathematics – the most important things have been to memorize verb charts, study grammar rules, etc. This system is very good to quickly learn how the basic elements of a language work; nevertheless, it doesn’t give the student the opportunity to speak and practice in real-world contexts. Thus, the result of this teaching methodology is a student who knows how to read and write the new language perfectly but may have grave problems when trying to speak it.
That is precisely why, at Ameringlés, we have adopted the communicative approach as our teaching methodology in all of our classes. According to the communicative approach, grammar study is important; however, we must go further and provide the students the opportunity to truly speak the language. That means that our teaching method is much more dynamic than that of the traditional system and our students will study all the aspects of the foreign language always with one objective in mind: to be able to use the new language to interact with natives and non-natives in real-world contexts. Thus, grammar study — according to the communicative approach — is no longer an end in itself but, instead, it’s a means.
What does the communicative approach mean for the foreign language classroom? It means that from the very first day, English will be used as a communicative means in class and authentic texts, songs, and videos (taken from British and American sources) will be introduced early on in order to learn real English: what is really spoken on the streets. It also implies that learning will be meaningful — students will learn to speak about topics that they are interested in and that motivate them and the teacher will always try to relate what is being learned in the classroom with the real-world contexts there are outside of it. In this way, students will see, from the very first moment, the usefulness of what they are studying and will be able to put it into practice more easily when traveling outside of Spain.
Remember that the communicative approach has been working for years in foreign language classes in countries like the United States and England and it is the teaching methodology recommended by the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL).
Do you have a question about our teaching methodology? Send us an email and we’ll get back to you within 24 hours.