The neurolinguistic approach (NLA) is a new paradigm for the teaching and learning of languages developed by Joan Netten, Ph.D. (retired professor from Newfoundland and Labrador’s Memorial University) and Claude Germain, Ph.D. (professor emeritus at Université du Québec à Montréal).
Unveiled in 2010 and explained in an article published two years later (Netten and Germain, 2012), the approach stems from research carried out by the authors to explain the success of Intensive French. The pilot program, conducted in Newfoundland and Labrador for an initial three-year period starting in 1998, was driven by teachers of Core French (also called Basic French in other provinces) who wanted their students to be able to spontaneously communicate in French by the end of high school (Grade 12).
As we know, French is one of Canada’s two official languages and, by extension, of critical importance in our country. Because most youth do not have the opportunity to attend a French Immersion program, the majority of students do not have the chance to achieve this level of communication. This was evidenced in the results of oral competency interviews, notably in research conducted by Harley et al. (1991) and Ellis (1997).
After a study of existing research in neurolinguistics (especially the work of Paradis ) and in other areas, Netten and Germain (2012) established the principles of what would become the “neurolinguistic approach.”