Our Blog

The 5 C’s of Language Learning

Here at the Capital Region Language Center, we have found success utilizing the well-known education goals referred to as the five C’s of language learning. This approach helps our students – whether adult or child – quickly pick up language skills. With the five C’s, we are preparing our students to not only learn the language but to apply the language to their everyday lives.  

Here are the five C’s explained: 

1. Communication:  


Communication refers to the ability to communicate in more than one language. We do this in our classes by practicing conversations, exchanging opinions and thoughts, and showing emotions. Students are also able to read and understand the written language as well. They can present the information they are learning to listeners.  


2. Culture: 


Culture refers to gaining knowledge of other cultures. Students will be able to understand the practices and perspectives of the culture they are learning. Students are better able to understand other people’s points of view and way of life.  


3. Connections: 


Connections are all about connecting the language they are learning to other subject areas as well as acquiring additional information. Students further their knowledge of other disciplines through the language they are learning. Students also gain information that is only available through the language they are learning.  


4. Comparisons: 


Comparisons refers to comparing the language being studied to their own language. Students may discover patterns, similarities and differences within the language they are learning and their own as well as their cultures.  


5. Communities: 


Communities refers to the ability to use this new language to communicate in their communities and around the world. Students do this by using the new language in the classroom and beyond it, too. 

We hope you see how the 5 C’s of language learning is a useful goal for helping students quickly incorporate new language skills into their everyday lives. 


Visit Our New Location!

Our new location is 21 Aviation Rd, right across the street from our previous building!
We have more classroom space and shiny new white boards and displays!
Our new break room has a kitchen area with tables where students can relax and have a snack in between classes.
We also have a large training room where we will host cultural events that are open to the public. Visit our Events page for more details!


Winter Weather Cancellation Policy

Winter Weather Cancellation Policy


1.  We don’t cancel until we have either a blizzard or icy roads.  Snowy roads alone will not cause  us to cancel, however you should decide whether or not you attend class based on your own comfort level of traveling in the snow.


2.  Because we have schools in two different counties (Albany and Saratoga) we do not follow any one school district’s school closing schedule.   Sometimes we close for just half a day.  A decision will be made by 8 AM regarding morning classes up until 2 PM and a decision will be made by 2 PM for classes from 3 PM through the evening.


3.  Anytime that we have a partial day closing or full day cancellation, it will be listed via the School Closings Network.  That information will be available through the following media outlets:

The Daily GazetteThe Post-StarThe SaratogianThe Times UnionWFLY — FLY 92WGNA — Country 107.7WGY — 810 WGYWNYT TV WRGB TVWRVE — The RiverWTEN TVWYJB — B-95.5WXXA TVYNN


4.  If Empire State English is closed it will be listed under Capital Region Language Center.


5.  The School Closings Network will specify closings per location, so for Colonie, Saratoga, or for both locations, since the weather can be very different in our different locations.


Please check one of the media outlets listed above around 2 PM for afternoon and evening classes, and again the next morning around 8 AM.


Making friends at the Festival of Nations

On Sunday, October 26, Kim and I had a table at the Festival of Nations. This annual multicultural event is hosted by the International Center of Albany at Empire State Plaza. The Convention Center was filled with tables of wares for sale from all over the world, all oriented toward the stage where local groups performed songs, dances, and martial arts demonstrations. From Scottish highland and traditional African dancing to tae kwon do and hulusi flute-playing. Food tables with too-many-to-list international delicacies were arrayed in the exhibit space outside the Convention Center.


Vicki and Mme Pauline

Vicki and Mme Pauline

During the event, Kim and I met a woman visiting from Togo. Pauline was in Albany visiting her daughter and only spoke French. I was only too happy to speak French with her! She was very happy to meet someone in our region who had heard of Togo and knew that it’s located in West Africa. She even gave me directions to find her in case I ever visit Lomé.

You never know what friends you’ll meet when you speak a world language!

Click here to learn more about the festival and participating countries.



Fall Vocabulary BINGO – Spanish

Games are great, in class and out, for practicing vocabulary. Here are 4 Spanish Fall Vocabulary BINGO game boards you can print to use in the classroom or at home with your child. Just print the number of boards you’ll need based on the number of players, and then print an extra to cut up to pull pictures one at a time out of a basket, bowl, or envelope.

Click here or on the picture below to print the boards: Bingo Otono Game Boards



And here’s the vocabulary list: Otono vocabulario

BINGO Game for Fall Vocab – French

Games are great, in class and out, for practicing vocabulary. Here are 4 French Fall Vocabulary BINGO game boards you can print to use in the classroom or at home with your child. Just print the number of boards you’ll need based on the number of players, and then print an extra to cut up to pull pictures one at a time out of a basket, bowl, or envelope.

(I use these same printed and cut-up pictures as flashcards and to play BOUM!)

Click here or on the picture below to print the boards: Bingo Automne Game Boards


And here’s the vocabulary list, au cas où (just in case): Automne vocabulaire

Amusez-vous bien!

Children and Second Languages

Kids are sponges. Parents know this. Once children start talking, the words snowball. One day they say two or three words and a few days later their word list has grown exponentially. It’s the same with a foreign language.

So why should your child study a second language?

Studies show that kids who study another language have higher linguistic, cognitive, and creative abilities. Language-learning students score better on standardized tests related to math, vocabulary, and reading. Learning the rules of grammar and the structures of a new language improve a student’s understanding of their original language. Memorizing foreign words and grammar rules exercises the brain, just like a muscle. This makes language students better at remembering all kinds of lists and sequences.

In addition to making a person smarter, language students are more perceptive. Learning a language broadens cultural horizons and opens the mind, teaching students there is more to the world beyond their own communities. Students have a deeper understanding of that world and of the human experience.

The mental gymnastics required to switch between languages, makes language students better at making decisions. Studies have shown that bilingual children are better at solving social problems than monolingual children. Other studies have shown that the benefits of learning a second language apply to adults, too. It’s never too late to learn another language!

Additionally, knowing more than one language will give kids greater opportunities in the work force. Speaking another language gives a job-hunter access to more people and resources than a monolingual. Job-hunters in 2014 who speak another language can expect high salaries, too. More bilinguals in the work force benefits the country, in general.

Of course, some language students just want to connect to their heritage, regardless of the cognitive and work benefits. They want to be able to communicate with family in another country and better understand where they come from. Whatever the reason to learn a language, the benefits are clear.

What’s the most important benefit of second language-learning for your child?