The Neurolinguistic Approach (NLA) for acquiring a second or foreign language (L2/FL)
is a new paradigm for teaching/learning L2/FL communication skills in an institutional setting

A new methodological approach

This new approach was designed by Claude Germain (Emeritus Professor, UQAM and South China Normal University) and Joan Netten (professor, Memorial University of Newfoundland) in the context of the emerging influence, in education, of neuroscience. It is based on M. Paradis’ neurolinguistic theory of bilingualisms (1994, 2004, 2009), as well as on studies in cognitive neuroscience by N. Ellis (2011) and N. Segalowitz (2010); it is also influenced by the views of L. Vygotsky (1934/1985) on the role played by social interaction in learning.

Five fundamental principles

These were set out by C. Germain and J. Netten (2011, 2012), who define the conditions for maximising the potential of learners’ brains in the classroom when the goal is, firstly, to develop the ability to spontaneously communicate orally in an L2/FL, i.e. to build an internal language proficiency that optimises the subsequent development of reading and writing skills (Germain and Netten, 2013).

An approach based on authentic communication

The NLA bases itself on the use of authentic communication and on exploiting social interactions. In this way, it allows learners to develop the necessary intelligibility and spontaneity, while also boosting their motivation through the whole learning process, which explains its growing popularity across the globe among teachers who find here the proof of its efficiency, alongside the empirical on-the-ground research that attest of its results.

The NLA thus provides a double pedagogical benefit: for learners, who see rapid growth in their target language fluency and accuracy, but also for teachers, who see genuine progress with less preparation time and classroom effort than required with the methods they used previously.

Claude Germain

PhD in Linguistics; PhD in Epistemology

Co-designer of the Neurolinguistic Approach, Emeritus Professor at the Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM, Canada), and Emeritus Professor at the South China Normal University (SCNU).

Joan Netten

PhD in Education

Co-designer of the Neurolinguistic Approach, Memorial University of Newfoundland and Labrador (Canada), awarded the Order of Canada for her work promoting the development of the French language in Canada.


NLA1 – Initial training in the Neurolinguistic Approach to teaching second/foreign languages


NLA2 – Advanced training in teaching in accordance with the Neurolinguistic Approach


NLA3 – Designing teaching materials to use which the Neurolinguistic Approach


NLA4 – Neurolinguistic Approach specific evaluation tools