FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

How often do your classes meet?
Where are the classes held?
Where are the teachers from?
What kind of teaching experience do they have?
How do the classes work?
What kind of materials are used? Is there homework?
How do I know which level is right for me?
What if I still have questions?

 

How often do your classes meet?

All our classes are eight weeks long and meet once a week. Evening classes are always 90 minutes long, while weekday daytime classes are 75 minutes long in Manhattan (for people who have to get back to work) and 90 minutes long in Brooklyn.

Where are the classes held?

Classes meet in one of our beautiful bookstores, not in a stuffy classroom. Manhattan classes are held at our flagship store at 12 West 19th Street, near Union Square. Our Brooklyn classes meet at our shop at 249 Warren Street (between Court and Smith) in Cobble Hill.

Where are the teachers from? 

All our teachers are native speakers. Our French teachers are from France, our Spanish teachers are from Colombia, our Italian teacher is from Rome, our Arabic teacher is from Cairo, and our German teacher is from Berlin. We believe that a native speaker of a language is the best person to answer questions about grammar, colloquial usage and the culture, and to model correct pronunciation.

What kind of teaching experience do they have?

All our teachers have taught in classroom settings for several years in New York, both at renowned language schools and privately. As a result, they are familiar with the typical strengths and weaknesses of Americans studying their language.

How do the classes work?

Our teachers use a communicative method that emphasizes conversation and interaction. As a travel bookstore, we find that most of our students are interested in practical usage — to be able to make conversation, order in a restaurant, and speak and understand with confidence while traveling — and not just to learn to say “The cat is on the table” (although you’ll learn that too!)

Our classes include a combination of teacher presentation and student practice and participation. Each week, the teacher will present and review a grammar or thematic topic, linking the lesson to real-life situations wherever possible.

In the first lesson of the Beginner Spanish class, for example, students learn the present tense of the verbs ser (to be) and vivir (to live) and some basic vocabulary by introducing themselves to the group (“Soy Clara. Soy abogada. Soy de Boston. Vivo en Brooklyn en un apartamento pequeño.”) After the students introduce themselves to the group in this way, they break into pairs and describe themselves to their partners using the words and concepts they have just learned. Then, they present their partner to the group. (“Clara es abogada. Ella es de Boston pero vive en Brooklyn en un apartamento pequeño.”) By the end of the lesson, they have acquired new vocabulary and have learned, among other things, how to describe themselves, how to conjugate two new verbs in the first and third person, how nouns and adjectives change according to gender, and a few pronouns and prepositions.

What kind of materials are used? Is there homework?

Our beginner, advanced beginner, and intermediate classes follow a textbook, and each class usually corresponds to one chapter in the book. We offer the book for sale to students for $18 including tax, 20% off the cover price.

Students are advised to review the material on their own between classes for at least one hour per week. We also recommend that students make every effort to expose themselves to reading and listening in the target language, and our instructors make frequent recommendations for original-language newspapers, TV and radio programs, and language-learning apps.

How do I know which level is right for me?

Our beginner classes are for absolute beginners or for people who studied the language a long time ago and want to start again from the beginning to make sure they don’t have any gaps. Our classes move pretty quickly so even if you already know a few things but are rusty on the grammar, our beginner class could be right for you.

Our advanced beginner classes are for people who have studied more recently and know the basics, including how to conjugate in the present and simple past tenses. More advanced grammar is presented and the classes incorporate more speaking practice. Before the end of the course, each student is expected to give a short, two-minute presentation on a topic of their choice and to answer questions about it from the group. (Sounds scary but you can do it: it’s fun!)

Our intermediate class is for people who can speak and understand at a basic level — and are familiar with the basic present, past and future tenses — and are looking to enhance conversational fluency. Our intermediate classes review more advanced grammar, but also include weekly conversational practice, based on topics students prepare in advance.

Our most advanced class is Film and Conversation, in which students watch films at home on Netflix and we discuss them in class. Students should be able to speak and understand reasonably well, even if they make some mistakes, as the classes are conducted entirely in the language of study.

What if I still have questions?

Fill out the question box on this page and we’ll answer any particular questions you might have. If you’re still not sure which level might be right for you, we can also try to arrange a brief, in-person language assessment with the instructor.

Got a question?


What is the last letter of "idlewild"? 
“Idlewild could be considered the Murray’s Cheese of bookstores. Catering to the taste of literary travellers, books are organized by country, with guidebooks, nonfiction, and fiction served together, the way they should be, like cheese and crackers.”
- The New Yorker