By Linda Bailey, Student Reporter
The Department of Foreign Languages will offer two yet undecided language classes for the Fall 2009 semester based on student input.
Harland Rall, associate chair of the Department of Foreign Language, said the new classes are part of a special language program called, “Dialektos.”
This two-year program is used in other universities throughout the country, and now the department is adapting the program to ACU. Rall said it works with a supervising professor who creates learning objectives, but the bulk of the learning process is based on native speakers interacting with the students.
“We don’t have to hire a professor for every language,” Rall said. “It changes how we can do language.”
Paul Roggendorff, adjunct professor of Spanish, said the classes would be different from the traditional foreign language class.
“It’s not the teacher up front directing everybody,” Roggendorff said. “It is much more; the students are in charge of learning and mastering, but with the student[s] in charge, they are also empowered to be able to learn what they want to a little bit more.”
Beginning last semester, the department offered a Mandarin Chinese class to act as a pilot course for the program. The class had five students and two faculty members, including Rall. The supervising professor was in Beijing, and two native speakers directed classroom practice sessions. After recognizing the success of this class, Rall said the department was ready to add two more languages to the available curriculum.
The department currently provides two years of French, German and Latin, as well as Spanish as a major.
“We think we can expand, keep Mandarin and add two more languages next fall,” Rall said. “We would like for the ACU student body to be a part of helping us decide what language it would be.”
Rall said the courses only would allow five students per class, making an application process necessary.
“In this application process, we would try to group five students with a similar major because as the class developed, early on they could bring vocabulary into it that is more specific to their major,” Rall said.
Because of the untraditional format for the classes, Rall said the department was looking for highly motivated students.
“It requires a special kind of student,” he said. “You are developing an ability to go abroad and, minimally at least, converse in a language. It takes a lot of study and preparation before you come to the practice sessions to do well.”