Courses for Certification

Welcome to your Color Vowel Journey.

Color Vowel® started its own journey twenty years ago as this thing we called the Color Vowel Chart. In 2010, we formally started training teachers in a powerful set of instructional strategies known today as the Color Vowel Approach.

We are proud to provide you with the Color Vowel® Journey for Teachers, a comprehensive training program that promotes life long learning and curiosity around the topics of effective teaching, phonological awareness, brain-based learning strategies, and the English language itself.

Let's get started!

Our Level 1 program provides you with a foundation for teaching English that has been missing from our field: a simple yet robust way to teach the rhythm and sounds of English. Combining the content of Color Vowel Basics with practical explorations of our mobile app, Blue Canoe, and a video-based technique practicum, our Level 1: Color Vowel Basics Online course satisfies all three requirements of the Level 1 certificate.

Note: If you took one of our face-to-face Color Vowel Basics workshops between 2015-2019, we invite you to complete your Level 1 certification with our new course, "Level 1: Refresh and Expand" is designed just for you. This asynchronous, self-paced course consists of six video modules combined with a series of short technique practicum tasks.

Color Vowel® Basics is a 9-hour course that introduces you to the Color Vowel Chart and four brain-based instructional strategies that bring the Chart to life with your English learning students. In our online course, Basics content is combined with the Blue Canoe Training module (described below) for a total of 12 online training hours.

Blue Canoe Training, a 3-hour online module, introduces you to the instructional design behind our Color Vowel app, Blue Canoe, for the purpose of supporting your students in their effective use of the app their main source of pronunciation practice outside of class. The module includes five short video-based assignments in which you model effective use of Blue Canoe’s various activities and gain familiarity with the app’s Educator’s Dashboard feature.

The Color Vowel Technique Practicum component consists of 8 video-based technique and awareness demonstrations of techniques for teaching word stress, vowel quality, R-controlled vowels, and phonemic awareness. A Color Vowel Trainer provides personalized coaching and feedback to ensure technique mastery.

What Our Trainers say:
“The Color Vowel Chart makes it easy to remember the essential English vowels and helps us notice how to shape our mouth and jaw to produce the sounds of English.”
Nao Matsuda, Blue Canoe Pronunciation Trainer (Japan)
“Upon discovering Color Vowel, I was never able to “unhear” it. In a world in which we depend so much on technology for answers, it is liberating to have a mental tool which instantly aids in mastering the sounds of English.”
Mariah Schuemann, University of Miami (FL)
“The Color Vowel Chart provides an anchor that lets students produce and make sense of sounds even when they're not able to fully, consciously explain a certain pronunciation. It's a thread that I've carried through my teaching career since 2008 and it just works.”
Megan Calvert, Montgomery College (MD)
“Color Vowel lifts the lid on the secrets of spoken English, and gives learners clear, understandable, and effective tools for rapid improvement. It's simple, powerful, and approachable way to tackle some of the hardest aspects of teaching English.”
Laura McIndoo, Central New Mexico Community College (NM)
“For me, the concept of long and short vowels never really worked. The Color Vowel Approach gives me a set of accurate, non-technical vocabulary with which I can use to communicate with my students in a way that accesses multiple parts of their brain in order for them to perceive sounds that are not in their native language.”
Samantha Parkes, US State Department Specialist
“The Color Vowel Chart is deeper than it looks. The more phonological awareness a teacher has, the more that teacher can help learners develop their own phonological awareness.”
Ginessa Payne, Center for Teaching Excellence, Texas A&M University (TX)
“The Color Vowel Approach enables me to fine-tune individual and group instruction because I have a way of assessing their language needs better. It helps learners to access vocabulary with greater precision. ”
Kristyl Boies, K-12 Specialist, Steamboat Springs Public Schools (CO)
“By providing us with a vocabulary to talk with students about sounds in English, the Color Vowel Chart opens the doors to examining all of the most important aspects of English, including stress, intonation, spelling, irregular verbs, and lexical chunks.”
Rebecca Wilner, American University and DC Public Schools (DC)
“The Color Vowel Approach is a ground-breaking way to learn vocabulary by focusing on stressed vowel sounds. Understanding that is key to developing an accessible, working vocabulary.”
Robert Gole, Montgomery County Public Schools (MD)
“I love the Color Vowel Approach because it is compelling, accessible, and based in the science of learning according to how we process language in the brain. It gives learners a tangible system to hear the sounds of English through tools that help them overcome interference with their L1 in a fun and engaging way.”
Chelsea Olsen, VIPKid Tutor (MI)
“The beauty of Color Vowel is that it makes conversations about prosody and pronunciation accessible to learners of any age and any level.”
Jennifer Campion, ELTS Master Trainer (VA)
“I find the way the elements of your training sessions weave themselves together genuinely elegant. It isn't just a "bag of tricks to deal with different problems" … there’s a sense of integrality and completeness in what you have developed overall.”
Brock Brady, U.S. Peace Corps Specialist (Washington DC)
“I don’t think I’ve ever been with a more skillful presenter [in Karen Taylor]. It was like watching a high-wire artist, but with NO misgivings: you know she’s totally secure up there. We were in the palm of her hand!”
Laurel Pollard, Author of "Zero Prep" and "Wow!"
“Interesting, fun, and I met people I look forward to keeping in touch with. So many 'Ah ha!' moments. Loved it.”
TESOL PCI Participant, Toronto (2015)
“Color Vowel Basics was phenomenal. I learned an innovative but easy way to teach students about the many different sounds that vowels can make. The Color Vowel Chart is easy to learn and uses the different modalities of learning to reach every type of learner.”
K-12 ESL Teacher, Pueblo City Schools (CO)
“Wonderful session. Stellar presenters. Great activities. Best session I've been to. They were on fi-yur!”
TESOL PCI Participant, Toronto (2015)

Dive deep!

Our Level 2 program guides you through a deeper exploration of concepts introduced in Color Vowel Basics, and invites you to apply Color Vowel in settings relevant to your own teaching context. Level 2 involves completing three prescribed Core workshops, three Elective workshops, and a two-stage Practicum.

Three Core Workshops

Your Level 2 journey starts with three complementary Core workshops, each one engaging different part of the brain. Color Vowel Yoga explores the power of kinesthetic anchoring to improve stress and vowel quality; Spelling Exploration takes a close look at the ear-to-eye, sound-to-spelling relationship; and Rhythm & Chants taps into the musical brain to accelerate pronunciation improvement. Core workshops may be completed in any order.

Color Vowel Yoga is a collection of simple movements that parallel the movement of the jaw, lips, and tongue when producing the vowels sounds of English. These movements serve as physical anchors for producing sounds that the learner may not yet be able to perceive. In this Core Workshop, participants gain confidence in leading Vowel Yoga and will develop a clear understanding of when to use Vowel Yoga as an instructional intervention.

Spelling Exploration is a sound-based exploration of spelling patterns that ignite learners’ optimism and curiosity about words in their spoken and written forms.

In this Core Workshop, participants will gain practical familiarity with each step of the process and explore pedagogical implications.

Rhythms & Chants is a workshop in which participants learn how chants support brain-based language learning; view authentic footage of learners engaging with chants; practice pre-viewing, leading and closing a chant with clear gestures; and master three Color Vowel chants and their variations.

Three Elective Workshops

Elective workshops vary in topic and theme. These workshops may be completed at any time and in any order while taking or after having completed your first Core Workshop. All workshops are practical and are designed around a performance-based outcomes.

Upcoming Electives

  • Creative Interventions: (course description coming soon)

Check our Training calendar for upcoming dates.

Coaching & Teaching Practicum

Apply what you learned in Color Vowel Basics while gaining teaching experience with guidance from a Color Vowel Master Trainer.

1. CV Coaching Practicum: Receive direct mentoring while coaching participants in one of our pronunciation lab courses. Your coaching practicum may be completed at any time during your Level 2 journey.

2. CV Teaching Practicum: Like any conventional teaching practicum, the Color Vowel Teaching Practicum involves collecting recorded footage of yourself teaching either online or in a face-to-face setting. Practicum assignments outline specific criteria for demonstrating your effective, integrated use of the Color Vowel Chart and related techniques. All other Level 2  components must be completed prior to your Teaching Practicum.

Spread the word!

Level 3 qualifies you to train other teachers in the Color Vowel Approach and provides you with opportunities to deliver Core and Elective workshops for ELTS. Level 3 involves successful completion of our Trainers' Seminar of a two-part Apprenticeship.

The Color Vowel Training Seminar is our capstone course. Topics include:

  • Teaching phonological awareness: a developmental view of teacher training;
  • The curse of the expert: Maintaining spaces for noticing and discovery;
  • Answering questions, both simple and deep, with the Color Vowel Chart;
  • Public speaking: Connecting with your audience in person and online;
  • Tools and strategies for effective online teaching.

To fully prepare the Color Vowel Teacher Trainer, we have created a two-part apprenticeship consisting of:

  • Coaching Apprenticeship: Serving as a practicum coach in Color Vowel Basics Online or a comparable course;
  • Training Apprenticeship: Teaching a round of Color Vowel Basics Online.

Both apprenticeships include the support of a Master Trainer.

Our Upcoming Events
Level 2 • Rhythm & Chants
August 4-11, 2020 • Tuesdays & Thursdays, 10-11:30 am

Karen Taylor

Chants are like super-vitamins for English language learners!

In three 90-minute sessions participants will:

  • Learn how chants support brain-based language learning;
  • View authentic footage of learners engaging with chants;
  • Practice pre-teaching, leading and closing a chant with clear gestures;
  • Master three Color Vowel chants and their variations;
  • Learn when and where chants are most effective in a lesson.
Level 1 • Color Vowel® Basics Online
August 11-28, 2020 • Tuesdays & Fridays, 12-2 pm ET

This 3-week intensive course immerses you in the use the Color Vowel® Approach and our pronunciation app, Blue Canoe. Through this course, you will master powerful, brain-based strategies for teaching learner pronunciation, vocabulary development, and oral fluency. Completing Color Vowel Basics Online fulfills all requirements for Level 1 certification.

Course Instructor: Laura McIndoo

Level 2: Creative Interventions
Aug 20-Sep 3: Thursdays 10-11:30 am ET

In this intensive course for certified Level 1 Color Vowel Trained teachers, participants will view authentic classroom footage to identify and explore those critical moments when the learner is ‘stuck’ — stuck struggling with a word or phrase, and seemingly unable to make use of the instructor’s input.

Level 1 • Refresh & Expand the Color Vowel® Basics
Aug 31-Sept 25, 2020 • Online and Self-paced

Designed exclusively for teachers who took our Color Vowel® Basics face-to-face workshop between 2015-2019, this online course guides you through a series of refresher videos and short tasks that you complete at your own pace over the course of one month.

Weekly video practicum assignments provide you the opportunity to demonstrate your mastery of key Color Vowel instructional techniques and the the effective use of our Blue Canoe app.

A Color Vowel® Coach provides personalized feedback and guidance as you complete each requirement to complete your Level 1 certificate.

Level 1: Color Vowel Basics Online
Sep 9-Oct 14, 2020 • 9:30-11:30 am ET

This 6-week course immerses you in the use the Color Vowel® Approach and our pronunciation app, Blue Canoe. Through this course, you will master powerful, brain-based strategies for teaching learner pronunciation, vocabulary development, and oral fluency. Completing Color Vowel Basics Online fulfills all requirements for Level 1 certification.

Course Instructor: Karen Taylor

Level 1: Color Vowel® Basics Online
Sep 10-Oct 15, 2020 • 7:30-9:30 pm ET

This 6-week course immerses you in the use the Color Vowel® Approach and our pronunciation app, Blue Canoe. Through this course, you will master powerful, brain-based strategies for teaching learner pronunciation, vocabulary development, and oral fluency. Completing Color Vowel Basics Online fulfills all requirements for Level 1 certification.

Note: If you participated in a Color Vowel® Basics face-to-face workshop between 2015-2019, our new “Refresh and Expand” online course is for you! Upon successful completion of this self-paced asynchronous online course, you will receive your Level 1 certificate as a Color Vowel Trained Teacher, which comes with a digital image package and access to additional resources in our Color Vowel Digital Library.

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