The foreign language teaching methodology known as Accelerative Integrated Method (AIM) uses gestures, music, dance, and theater to help students learn a foreign language. The method is most frequently used with children and has been met with a lot of success.
The basic premise of AIM is that students learn and remember better when they do something that goes along with the words they are saying. For example, when the students say regard (in French meaning "to look"), they hold their hands in front of their eyes in the shape of binoculars. This "gesture approach" includes defined gestures for hundreds of essential French words, known as "pared down language." The gestures are then combined with theater, storytelling, dance, and music to help students remember and use the language.
Teachers have found great success with this integrative approach to language learning; in fact, some students achieve results comparable to those programs that use full immersion teaching methods, even when the AIM-educated students only study the language for a few hours a week.
Many classrooms have found that children often feel comfortable expressing themselves in the new language from the first lesson. By participating in many different kinds of activities in the target language, students learn to think and write creatively. Students are also encouraged and given the opportunity to practice oral communication in the language they're learning.
AIM is particularly well-suited for children, but it could be adapted for older students.
Accelerative Integrated Method was developed by French teacher Wendy Maxwell. In 1999, she won the Canadian Prime Minister's Award for Teaching Excellence and, in 2004, won The H.H. Stern award from the Canadian Association of Second Language Teachers. Both of these prestigious awards are given to educators who show great innovation in the classroom.