The Neurolinguistic Approach with Adults

The Neurolinguistic Approach is now being used with adult learners of French as a second language, as well as with other second languages, such as Spanish and Japanese.

Units are being created for use with adolescents and adults, and an adapted version of the Introduction to the Teachers’ Guide has been produced.

A number of establishments apply the NLA in their second language programs in various countries, for example: Belgium, Brazil, China, France, Iran, Japan, Mexico, Taiwan.

For further information on programs for adults, please write to

The Neurolinguistic Approach for Indigenous Languages

The Neurolinguistic Approach is also being used in some parts of Canada to teach Indigenous Languages: Han (Yukon), Cree (Saskatchewan and British Columbia), Dene (Northwest Territories), Inuktituk (Iqaluit, Nunavut), as well as French, English and Cree in the Baie-James area.

There has been a resurgence in efforts to revitalize Indigenous languages across the country, and the Neurolinguistic Approach is the focus of a number of pilot projects. A number of challenges face educational authorities that wish to implement a language program, not the least of which is the small number of qualified teachers who are fluent speakers of the target language.

In the Northwest Territories, where there are eleven official languages, a special certification program is offered through Aurora College to provide teacher training to speakers of Indigenous languages. In 2012, a first two-week training session dealing with the NLA was offered to some thirty teachers, representing all areas of the Territories. While one school district decided to apply the NLA strategies as well as possible in 2013-2014, it was only in the 2015-2016 school year that an official territorial pilot project was started. Some modifications to the approach proved to be necessary, as the recommended intensity could not be replicated and there are few resources available in the different Indigenous languages to support efforts in using a literacy-based approach to develop oral proficiency. Reading material continues to be developed, and the Our Languages curriculum guide was implemented throughout the territory in September 2019.

Since the NLA emphasizes spoken language as an entry point into the language, this approach is well-suited to First Nations school systems. There are many similarities between the teaching strategies proposed by the NLA and the way in which knowledge in general is imparted in Indigenous communities.

The Ahkwesahne Mohawk School Board has adopted the NLA for their immersion and core programs.

Since 2016, teachers of Cree, English and French (student and adult learners) in the Commission scolaire de la Baie-James (James Bay School District) have been receiving training in the Neurolinguistic Approach (NLA) to support the development of oral proficiency. Subsequent training sessions are added for the integration of reading and writing, always grounded in NLA pedagogy. Teachers from the elementary and secondary levels receive this training during professional development days.

In the development of a Viable and Guaranteed Curriculum (VGC), the NLA is favoured as a best practice for language teaching.

The Sabtuan Adult Education Service (Baie-James region) has created thematic units in English and French for the adult education sector.

In Iqaluit, Nunavut, the approach is also assisting to improve second language teaching with an Intensive and Post-intensive French program. A program for learning Inuktitut is also taking its first steps.

Language courses are developed and taught to civil servants of the Government of Nunavut. These courses integrate the NLA at all levels, from Beginner to Intermediate. The participants are mostly Inuit, and the authentic practical applications take place in their actual work contexts.

The NLA is also used by the Saanich School Board (Vancouver Island) in their Saanich Immersion Program.

The approach is also being implemented in other Indigenous communities. Several workshops and training session have been given in the following communities:

• Secoten teachers in British Columbia
• Cree communities in Saskatchewan

The Neurolinguistic Approach in Asia

The Neurolinguistic Approach has been used in China since 2010 to teach French to young adults at South China Normal University, Guangzhou/Canton. The Chinese students take a two-year program with courses based on the NLA. Since 2014, there has also been an experimental project established at the college (senior high school) level in Nanhai, near Guangzhou. More than a hundred students each year participate as part of a three-year preparation for their acceptance at a university in France. There are also projects being developed with adults in Japan and Taiwan.

In March 2015, a three-day training session (eight hours a day), was organized in Japan by Olivier Massé, of the French Institute of Tokyo. This training session was offered to 30 teachers of French as a foreign language from different cities in Japan. As this session specifically targeted teachers who work with adult learners, two teaching units developed for use in Canadian schools, as well as the introduction to the Teachers’ Guide were revised by Joan Netten and Claude Germain, in order to adapt them to an adult milieu.

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