Frequently Asked Questions about the ULAT

What is the ULAT?

The ULAT (Universal Language Acquisition Tool) is an extraordinarily inexpensive and yet highly effective and revolutionary 3-year language program that trains students to think as does a native speaker of the language they are learning. The program is appropriate both for the school environment and for homeschooled or independent study students. The ULAT enables students to attain fluency in the target language through its respect of the Natural Language Acqusition Sequence. This sequence involves an exclusive focus on the skills of listening and speaking for months before ever exposing the students to the printed word. Once a sound oral foundation has been established to the students' knowledge of the new language, and after some phonics instruction, the students then begin elementary reading activities. Finally, not until after an entire year composed primarily of oral skill development, combined with some elementary reading, do the students begin to learn the skill of writing the language.

Why such an insistence upon delaying exposure to the written word?

Prematurely exposing students to text-based instruction, which remains the norm in the typical American world language classroom, is the most damaging thing that a teacher can do to a student's potential of ever speaking the target language in an authentic manner. Premature text-based instruction is a far simpler approach for the instructor, but it is fatal to the students' long-term prospects for genuine fluency. Exposing students to the printed word too early in their world language training causes them to establish unhealthy mental links between the new language and their native language, obliging them to pass their thoughts through the grid of their native language prior to being able to express themselves in the new language, thus resulting in slow, awkward, halting speech. Additionally, premature exposure to the printed word encourages the students to apply the English phonics system to the new language, resulting in inauthentic and unattractive pronunciation.

How does the ULAT actually go about the instructional process?

The best and most complete response to this question is provided in the video found below:

Why not just use a textbook?

The ULAT is far less expensive and, as alluded to in the second question above, it is far more pedagogically sound than the use of a textbook. Additionally, unlike a textbook, the ULAT is available to students at any time and anywhere in the world where they have Internet connection. It does not wear out and it does not get lost.

What is the cost of using the ULAT?

For families and individuals, the cost of a year's subscription to the ULAT world language program is $48. However, for school districts, individual schools, homeschooling co-ops and families submitting their subscription request as part of a group, very significant discounts exist. To see the specific cost breakdown per size of institution or group, click here.

How can a classroom teacher learn to use the ULAT?

There are three ways by which classroom teachers can learn to use the ULAT program. One option is to request an 8-hour onsite training session animated by a ULAT representative. The cost of that training is $350, plus the instructor's travel and lodging expenses. They can also consult the extensive "Teacher Training" section of this website. Finally, they can read the free ebook, "In Other Words", found in this website. The activities within those lesson plans are linked to extensive explanations and advice as to how each activity is to be performed. The program also provides the correct answers to its tests, as well as a grading key for each test and suggestions as to the weighting of the elements that go into assigning a grade for the course. For oral testing, the correct answers are provided by means of videos, otherwise the test answers are provided in written form.

Can the ULAT be employed independently, that is, without the benefit of the presence of a trained world language teacher?

It can and, in fact, it is currently being used in just that fashion by homeschooled students from all over the country. Its hundreds of instructional videos and interactive lessons can provide students with the training they need and its answer keys and videos serve to verify the accuracy of student performance.

How does the ULAT present cultural information regarding the countries where a language is primarily spoken?

It does not. The ULAT is exclusively a language teaching tool. Whereas much free information on a particular culture is available online, the most profound means of gaining an understanding of another culture is first to master its primary language and then to learn about the culture first-hand, either via travel or through online relationships with people from those cultures. The ULAT provides the linguistic tools to make such exploration possible.

Can the ULAT be used on wireless devices such as an IPad?

Yes, it is compatible with wireless devices depending on the speed of the Internet connection. Because of the vast number of images and sound files to be downloaded with each lesson, the ULAT functions best when used on a desktop computer connected directly to the Internet via a cable. However, most importantly, the ULAT's first 15 lessons are available for you to try out free of charge, not just so that you can learn what its lessons are like, but also so that you can test out its functioning on your different devices.

How can I be sure that the ULAT has a track record of success?

Don't take our word for it. Go to the Feedback section of the site to read of the experience of former and current teachers and students who have used the ULAT.