Suggested Hours with a Nurturer by Phase

Suggested Hours with a Nurturer by Phase

by R. Huston

Phase 1          (80-100 hrs) Phase 2     (150 hrs) Phase 3          (250 hrs) Phase 4           (500 hrs) Phase 5                                    (500 hrs) Phase 6
Full-time GP 20-25 hrs per week with nurturer 20-25 hrs per week with nurturer 20 hrs per week with nurturer 15-20 hrs per week with nurturer and other interviewees 10-20 hrs per week with nurturer, lots of time in COPs, possibly beginning work responsibilities in a host language COP 0-5 hrs per week with nurturer

(if workplace is not in host language, do 5 hrs with a nurturer or friend)

Part-time GP – ideal minimumDo Phase 1-3 full-time as above before starting your job. This can be accomplished in 5-6 months. Phase 1 & 2 and possibly 3 may even be done with a nurturer in your home country or an intermediate country.10-15 hrs per week with nurturer [even if you don’t have time for “review”5]10 hrs per week with nurturerPart-time GP – next best to idealDo Phase 1 full-time before starting your job10 hrs per week minimum10 hrs per week minimum10 hrs per week minimum10 hrs per week minimumGP required to attend a traditional language programDo Phase 1 & 2 full-time before entering the program *8-10 hrs per week with nurturer minimum [you are going to formal language classes, but the “edge” you got in Phase 1 & 2 means you will find the homework easier to do 2

1. Try not to leave more than a “day-length” gap between sessions with your nurturer. Long gaps between sessions can be detrimental to your growth.

2. Try to not get evaluated and “jumped” a level or more in the formal language school [which can happen if you have done Phase 1 or 2 prior]. Instead, just go to beginner classes and “coast.”

3. “If you aim high, you won’t end up with your nose in the mud.” Too many people who say they will do 15 hours per week end up cancelling 20% of the time. This means they ONLY do 12 hours per week. So it would have been better for them to schedule 18 hours per week and then they would actually reach their goal of 15 hours per week even with cancellations/interruptions. Or, another approach is to ALWAYS schedule a make-up session.
4. Working with a toddler or baby in the house – schedule your nurturer to be at your house for 5 hours if you have a goal of doing 4 hours of activities.  Then you have a built-in hour for baby need time-outs J

5. “What about review time?”, you ask. Review time ≠ time with nurturer, or in other words, review time is not as valuable as time with a nurturer—it is only a poor substitute. So, if you only have 10 hours a week to give to language learning activities, it is better to spend all 10 hours with a nurturer and don’t worry about time for review. Just enjoy the rich interaction with your nurturer. Remember, our growth happens best when someone meets us in our growth zone and helps us grow, not when we sit alone in our house doing “review.” Review [which we prefer to call “strengthening and refreshing”] is more a supplement since we can’t afford to pay a nurturer for 40 hours per week.

Growing Participator Approach: Some Time Factors

Note: These are all approximate and will change as you move through the Phases. For example – by the middle of Phase 2, you may be moving into the Phase 3 time splits.

Phases 1 & 2:

  • Note: you are spending more time with Nurturer and in Review than with Others during these two phases since you must build vocabulary before you can interact with others. This is approximately 10-14 weeks total – or 2.5-3.5 months if you are doing 20-25 hours per week.
  • Phase 1: The best class size is no larger than 3-4 so you have lots of interaction, but your turns come frequently when you are doing one-on-one interaction.

Time Spread:

½ – Nurturer

1/3 – Review

1/6 – Others

Phases 3 & 4:

  • Note: Now, more time is spent with Others, so time is pretty evenly divided. This time with Others must be good quality interactions! Just 10-15 seconds here and there are not enough. You need at least 10 minute interactions for this to count..

Time Spread:

1/3 – Nurturer

1/3 – Review

1/3 – Others

Phases 5 & 6:

  • Note: You will now spend less and less time with Nurturer and more and more time with Others.

¼ – Nurturer

¼ – Review

½ – Others

Chart of Time Spent and Words Acquired per Phase


Time (hours)

Words Acquired

Phase 1 100 hours 750 words
Phase 2 150 hours 1500 words
Phase 3 250 hours 1250 words
Phase 4 500 hours 2500 words
Phase 5 500 hours 3500 words
Totals: 1600 hours = 15 months 9500-10,000 words

By the end of Phase 5, you will have about the same number of vocabulary words as a first grader!


You can download the original document here —Hours With Nurturer by Phase

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