Our team of passionate and dedicated language coaches will provide students with the support they need to achieve their language learning goals - whatever those may be.
To create a more aware, educated and inclusive community through the teaching of language and culture.
Everything we do at CSL is about bringing people together. Our world is more interconnected than ever, but true connection is often lost as meaningful conversation is replaced with quick comments, likes, and impersonal interactions.
We believe language is the key to connection.
To truly understand a language, one must also understand the culture from which it comes. Our teachers provide a broader base for understanding languages by integrating cultural competence in our classes. This helps our students of all ages get in touch with a culture outside of their own and become global citizens.
At CSL, we strive to inspire our students and community to pursue humanizing, cross-cultural conversation and connection that is fueled by confident communication. Before all else, our purpose is to foster community through connection.
Whether in-person in the Chattanooga area or virtually across cities, states, and borders, we exist to bring people and cultures together.
Our teaching is grounded in the principles of Comprehensible Input, which research shows to be the most effective way to teach second language acquisition.
It explains that we acquire a language through messages in a non-stressful environment with lots of what we call "input.” Messages are input that will be provided through listening and reading, through books, stories, commands, movies, music, repetition, etc.
Brain research shows us that it is best to make the experience of learning another language as much like learning your first as possible. Rather than simply memorizing and reciting lists and charts (that most of us forget because it's in our short-term memory), our teachers present the language in a contextual way so that students are so interested in a story, for example, that they don't even know they are learning!
Again, think about how you learned your first language.
You heard a lot of one-word commands, repetition, songs and stories before you could say anything back. As the graphic below shows, we give students a lot of INPUT (listening and reading), and then when they are ready, they will provide OUTPUT (speaking and writing). As you experienced when you began speaking your first language, lots of quality input precedes even a little bit of output.
Above all, our goal is communication and providing our students with the tools they need to communicate successfully in the target language.
That’s why we strive to stay in the target language (the language our students are learning) at least 90% of the class time by presenting the language in a comprehensible way.
If we do our job, then students will acquire the language almost naturally.
" At Chattanooga School of Language, my daughter has done more than just checked off a box on our list of classes for her to take. She is actually acquiring a new language. I fully expect her to reach fluency. CSL is not drill and kill book work. The teacher and students speak to each other in the target language....just like parents teaching language to children at home. It really works!"
Mother of a CSL Spanish homeschool student
Public School Spanish Teacher
"Taking classes at CSL has been a wonderful experience. I have enjoyed and continue to fully enjoy my French class. My teacher is always well prepared and utilizes different strategies and resources to keep us engaged. Learning a language is more than just acquiring the grammar but the cultural component is an essential part of the language learning process. Additionally, lessons are taught in the target language providing total immersion which makes students communicate in the target language. I would highly recommend classes at CSL."
Certified Speaking Professional, owner of VincentPhipps.com
"Working with CSL has been fantastic! Laurie was insightful with placing me with an awesome instructor in Shelly! My Spanish goal is to be a continuous learner. The beauty of Spanish culture is seemingly everywhere. As the owner of a communication company, I want to be a good communicator in another language. CSL was patient with my learning style and resourceful when I was faced with language difficulties. Although I have a long way to go, CSL is giving me a solid language platform. Thank you very much!"
Mom to high school student who took tutoring lessons with CSL
"The Chattanooga School of Language has been a perfect solution for strengthening my child’s foreign language skills to supplement high school academic requirements. The weekly one on one tutoring sessions have made a big difference in preparing for oral and written tests, but also have helped to build self-confidence for classroom speaking requirements. From assisting with phonetics for new words to reviewing essays for grammatical improvements, the personal attention provided by the team has made a positive impact on my child’s foreign language progression."
Mom to high school student and CSL language student
"Lucie went to Spanish class today for the first time and told me she felt so confident talking out loud. She was very proud and comfortable in class...and felt like her time with CSL this summer was really well spent. She loved her CSL experience and I loved hearing her reaction to the first day of class! Thank you so much!"
Former Director of the Office of Multicultural Affairs, City of Chattanooga
"City government has worked with the Chattanooga School of Language (CSL) over the past four years to offer Spanish classes to our employees, police officers, and firefighters. This partnership has improved our front line interactions with the public. We have also used CSL translation services on City documents and interpretation services when hosting international delegations. CSL is an amazing partner and one of the businesses we rely on to make sure that Chattanooga is a welcoming City."
CSL French student
"CSL uniquely meets a genuine need for people in this community interested in learning about a language and its related culture at a reasonable cost. I've found the classes to be really enjoyable. It's the fun of learning, of course, but also the social aspects of being with like-minded people whom you didn't know existed in your community. The teachers I've had have been superb--informative about the culture, using good teaching methods, and have been personable and fun."
With a team of passionate and dedicated language instructors, CSL provides students with the structure and personal interaction they need to achieve their personal and professional goals in language acquisition and cultural understanding.
CSL Student Roadmap
for reaching proficiency and meeting your language learning goals
CSL uses the two major frameworks for assessing foreign language skills: the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR) and the ACTFL Proficiency Guidelines. These frameworks are used to indicate our students’ current levels of proficiency and the progress attained throughout a course.
Remember that true fluency and cultural understanding in a language can take years to master.
The pathway to proficiency is a fluid process and unique for each student.
These standards are to be used as overarching guides for expectations of what students can do with the language at various proficiency levels. Our focus for you is communication and proficiency in the language. When you take a class multiple times, as shown on the roadmap, that just means you are gaining more quality input and time in the language during that stage of the process - and that's a good thing that will strengthen your language skills! It's not about finishing a class and moving on if you're not ready. The pathway to proficiency is a fluid process and unique for each student. We hope you'll use this roadmap as a guide to help you visualize the steps you need to take to reach your language proficiency goals.Click to view the CSL Student Roadmap
Novice Low (<A1)
At this proficiency level, you have very little or no previous experience with the language. You can use some words to communicate.
Novice Mid-Novice High (A1-A2)
At this proficiency level, you can use words, phrases and some single sentences to communicate. You have a basic command of the language, are familiar with everyday expressions, and are able to make very simple sentences.
Intermediate Low-Intermediate Mid (B1)
At this proficiency level, you can describe experiences, events, dreams and expectations and give your own opinion. You often use sentences when required, using strings of sentences and connectors.
Intermediate High-Advanced Low (B2)
At this proficiency level, you can understand the main ideas of complex text and can produce clear detailed text. You can spontaneously enter into a conversation and express yourself fluently. You can use the language flexibly and efficiently for social, academic and professional purposes.
Advanced Mid-Advanced High (C1-C2)
At this proficiency level, you can express yourself spontaneously, very fluently and precisely, differentiating finer shades of meaning even in the most complex situations.