Some of the major aspects of the AIM that ensure the language development of both the teacher and students are:
- Pleasant repetition – AIM’s carefully selected, high-frequency, functional vocabulary allows even the teacher with very limited proficiency to communicate at a basic level with the students from the first day. This same vocabulary is repeated thousands of times throughout the program and the teacher who has more than one class benefits from many opportunities for repetition and practice.
- Gestures – the teacher learns and reinforces vocabulary both for her/himself and the students, through this multimodal technique that deeply embeds the meaning of words. In addition, as the teacher gestures sentences, syntax and grammar are very concretely acquired as well.
- Script for practice and confidence building – All activities are carefully scripted with the PDL, thus providing a model so that any teacher can come to a deep understanding of how AIM effectively scaffolds vocabulary acquisition. Most importantly, for the teacher with limited language skills, the script also models how to form simple sentences using the high-frequency, fucntional vocabulary. This modeling build the teacher’s ability to engage in meaningful interactions from the first day.
- Language manipulation activities – The purpose of these activities is to teach students to manipulate the language and negotiate meaning in very simple and then increasingly more complex ways. The teacher who has limited skills will also benefit from the same practice and will be guided along with the students to move from memorized text out to simple story writing, modeled extensively in the program.
The AIM is a highly scaffolded approach, providing ample modeling for the teacher to learn the strategies and techniques. As the teacher learns to gradually introduce the language to the students, those who are less proficient benefit from the same gradual, supported introduction to the language to develop their own proficiency.