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The Rassias Method ® (RM)

The Learning Institute at ASL in partnership with Dartmouth College Rassias Center presents a workshop on the Rassias Method in January 2013.
The Rassias Method ® (RM) includes some 50 dramatic techniques that work to banish the inhibitions that can delay the acquisition of foreign languages. RM techniques hold students’ attention and foster spontaneous use of the language. Teachers’ workshops in the RM offer instructors an array of dynamic classroom activities that use movement, sound, rhythm and motion to help students learn. Workshop participants enjoy a supportive, intensive, small-group session environment as they practice applying the RM techniques to their current classroom materials. Originally developed during the advent of the Peace Corps, the techniques have been adopted by teachers worldwide.

Friday, 18 January, 8:30 am–6 pm
Saturday, 19 January, 9 am–5 pm
Fees: Tuition is £250 per participant, which includes a non-refundable enrollment deposit of £150.
Meals: Lunch and coffee are included each day.

Accommodation: Accommodation is not included. Workshop participants are expected to make their own arrangements. Participants may book rooms at a discounted price at the Danubius Hotel by quoting: 1801ASLTHE

Danubius Hotel Regents Park
18 Lodge Road
St John's Wood
London NW8 7JT
Tel: 0044 207 722 77 22
Registration this workshop is now closed.
Contact: Barbara Capra, barbara_capra@asl.org, for more information.
For more information on the Rassias Center, visit their website.

What are the Rassias Method workshops?

The Rassias Method training attempts to channel your energy, enthusiasm and activities so that they will be more productive to you and your students in the classroom and for communication skills in general. Through the techniques we present, you should be better able to create the “illusion of spontaneity” for every class with which you interact. We believe that the most effective and dramatic kind of spontaneity in the classroom is rehearsed.

Learning to communicate more effectively in face-to-face encounters, an important part of which is language learning, should not be tedious. It should be stimulating, entertaining, and to put it quite simply, fun. There must be mutual respect and cooperation between teachers and students in the learning encounter. We believe that the more we can offer through effective materials and teaching methodologies, the more the students will be stimulated to acquire other languages. The Rassias Method’s holistic approach views language and culture as one, whole, and indissoluble.

Since 1975, we have participated in workshops for teachers and administrators from all over the United States and throughout the world. Participants use the various techniques over the course of three days in “hands-on” small group sessions. The workshops also provide a forum to discuss how to integrate these techniques into various curricula.

We do not presume to tell any individual how to do his/her job. We truly believe that by your dedication, shared commitment, and long experience in the classroom, that you are indeed a Master Teacher. Our aim, rather, is to outline an effective approach that will help stimulate and energize your classes.


There is no typical workshop participant. We welcome people interested in education from all over the country and the world. The Method that we present is applicable in public, private and charter schools as well as in universities. Teachers can apply the Method with any level of students from introductory to advanced. Age group is equally inclusive. The method has been applied to pre-kindergarten classrooms and community classes for senior citizens alike. We discuss how to adjust the method for various class sizes as well. A diverse mixture of teaching backgrounds allows for interesting workshop discussions.

What should I expect?

You should expect an intense, power-packed weekend, full of techniques, discussions, practice sections, and group participation. Participants will have the opportunity to present, animate and dramatize sample dialogue and drill material. There will be ample opportunity for practice, self-critiques and peer critiques of individual performances.

It is fair to say that the protocol for the Rassias Method training has been well established through the collective experiences of thousands of teachers over the past 25 years. However, there is always opportunity for individual variation in both content and style among workshop leaders.

What is the Rassias Method?

John Rassias, William R. Kenan Professor of French and Italian at Dartmouth College, developed this dynamic method for teaching language while training Peace Corps volunteers in the early sixties. He adapted it to teaching Dartmouth undergraduates in 1967. He is President of Dartmouth College’s Rassias Center for World Languages and Cultures, which supports efforts in Hanover and beyond to work with world language teachers using the resources of the network he has developed. Professor Rassias was most recently honored (March 2011) by the Peace Corps for his continued service.

In 1978-79, Professor Rassias served on President Carter’s Commission on Foreign Language and International Studies, which sought to develop national policy guidelines for improving foreign language study. He has received numerous grants from major corporations and foundations such as the Dana Foundation, Citibank, Exxon, Groupe Schneider, the New York Times, and the Rockefeller Foundation to further his language instruction via the Rassias Method. In the summer of 2006, Professor Rassias and Luanne Zurlo of Worldfund, NY, worked together to create a 2007 pilot program in the outskirts of Mexico City for what is now the Inter-American Partnership for Education, http://worldfund.org/index.php/our-programs/iape , serving hundreds of Mexican public school teachers each year.

The goal of all Rassias language instruction is to enrich lives by improving communication among people. Rassias Method instruction strives to make language learning a “whole science” in which students engage themselves fully in another culture as well as another language. According to John Rassias, the essence of the human experience is to recognize our connection with others and to strengthen these connections through real communication. As Prof. Rassias often says, “We talk about learning a ‘foreign language,’ but as soon as we begin to speak the language, it is no longer foreign.” The excitement and the power of being able to communicate, even at a basic level, is the heart of the Rassias Method.

How effective is the Rassias Method?

Evaluations have been made on the Rassias Method since the late 1970s. The Rassias publication, “The Ram’s Horn,” produced a Rassias Anthology that will be published in December 2012. Electronic versions will be available. The latest article on Rassias pertains to work with the Greater Lawrence Family Practice program in Lawrence, MA. This most recent paper on the RM (published in Teaching and Learning in Medicine in 2009) explains the effectiveness of an immersion program using medical school students who eventually work in a primarily Spanish-speaking environment as the subjects.

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