Why is using the ULAT superior to using a textbook?
There are a number of very important reasons for choosing the ULAT over a textbook:
COST PER FAMILY
A yearly subscription providing access to the ULAT lessons for an individual or family costs just $60.00 per family per year! This provides homeschooling families and independent study students with over 150 Spanish and French lessons per year, hours and hours of video instruction, tests, testing guides, and lesson plans for any teacher that might work with them. However, very significant discounts are available to schools and to families that group their subscription request with that of others in their local homeschool organization. Click on SUBSCRIBE for those details.
CULTIVATING THE PROPER THOUGHT PROCESS IN THE LEARNER
The most important pedagogical reason for avoiding the use of a textbook can be found in the term “textbook” itself. Simply put, it is a book full of text. The last thing you want is for your students to think about text when they are learning their new language. You want to train your students to go from the level of image-laden thought directly to speech in the target language. Unless a textbook contains an entire year’s worth of lessons exclusively in the form of images interactively accompanied by sound, it will encourage your students to think in the following five-step fashion when they try to express themselves: image-based concept to an inwardly verbalized thought in their native language to inwardly visualized statement in terms of printed text in their native language to inward translation, typically word-for-word, and inwardly visualized in terms of printed text and finally verbalizing that statement in the target language. Such an unwieldy thought process leads to the slow, awkward, stilted speech that is the norm in world language students’ experience and it is fatal to their hope of ever attaining genuine fluency.
As an extension of the previous point, if indeed an instructor desires that his or her students think about the new language in a conceptually driven manner, as opposed to doing so in terms of printed text, the teacher will want to expose the learner to a vast array of images representing a great diversity of objects and activities. When limited to the confines of the four walls of your classroom, pictures and moving images are the best means of taking one’s students “beyond the walls” to the outside world about which you want them to be able to speak. The ULAT already contains over 4,000 images and continues to grow almost daily. By dint of the cost and size limitations of printing, a textbook cannot come close to the plethora of images an online program can contain.
WORLD-WIDE AND 24-HOUR AVAILABILITY
A textbook is only useful to a student for study if the student remembers to bring it home. It is highly unlikely that he or she will want to pack it in a suitcase when departing on vacation in Florida or on a Mediterranean cruise or even just on a weekend visit to their grandparents’ home (and almost as likely that it will get lost). With the ULAT, your students have access to their lessons (and interactive ones, at that) anywhere in the world, at any time and with any desktop computer, laptop, tablet or hand-held device. Few are the times and rare are the places nowadays where such access is not available.
DURABILITY AND SECURITY
Textbooks wear out. Even if one can continue to use a worn textbook, potentially with missing or defaced pages, the ULAT always looks brand new…and at less cost! Similarly, the problem of textbook theft is entirely resolved.