Tuesday, February 21, 2006
This article shows that small minded thinking can exist even at Princeton. For the good of this great country I only hope that Mr. Sheltzer is not a student of International business, Lawyer or, even worse, an International relations student. For one I am glad the PU has such intensive requirements for foreign language studies of all of its students. My personal belief , some of which has been confirmed by studies, is that when you study a foreign language you develop skills, as well as brain cells that you can use throughout your life. Have you ever tried to use your limited German, Arabic, Russian, or whatever to communicate with a native speaker? your listening skills are instantly magnified, your brain is thinking at rates much higher than it does usually. Trying to put those sentences together, using your memory. All of that and more happens also when you are studying a foreign language. Seeking to understand other cultures and being able to read, even gist, newspaper articles and news casts in other languages can provide you with real advantages in the real world. Princeton 'should' continue its language program especially now with the country scrounging for foreign language speakers and spending billions of dollars to produce them.
I totally agree with this article, ROTC is a great place to start preparing if you intend to join the military as an army officer. Not only would it save the military billions of dollars it will also supply them with soldiers who have no need to spend time at DLI or other military language schools.
Saturday, February 18, 2006
This is the an article you must read. Aside from the politics involved, which I might address later, Mr. Kurtz, expresses very well a very important fact. Our security needs and Arabic language training needs are not going to be addressed through more programs financed by title VI subsidies. Those programs might have had value on university campuses but those same programs have NO or very little value in a military setting. It is time to try new things and more effective methods. It is also time to produce some programs and curriculum that addresses the practical needs of our soldiers. I just hope that the President doesn't give up the fight or yield to political pressures on this one.
Saturday, February 11, 2006
The Concordia Language Villages program promises not only to teach you the language in an immersion setting, but also to work on the cultural background of the target language. I believe that there is much need for this kind of approach. I know that this kind of approach would make a huge difference. My main concern though is the time period assigned for such an 'immersion program'. I don't believe that two weeks would be enough to ideally achieve what is needed. But I have to say here that I have no idea what the curriculum is like, how the material is distributed or how it is weighed. It also depends on the knowledge and level of the students the program accepts. My gut feeling says that two weeks are not enough. From my experience, immersion programs need to be at least 8-10 weeks long to have any impact (moving from one level to the next). Still, the concept is great and I wish CLV the best of luck. If I have time I will try to get more information on the program. You can click here to go to their website and I am adding it to the blogroll as well.
Thursday, February 09, 2006
Monday, February 06, 2006
This is a good review of the Rosetta Stone program. It emphasizes what I wrote about earlier; RS and other programs are great but a curriculum need to be constructed to give balanced instruction that covers all aspects of learning. The reviewer emphasizes that RS doesn't include a very strong grammatical component which I agree with. I use both Pimsleur and Berlitz since I find that they give the learner both the grammatical and the vocabulary components at the same time.
making Arabic a part of a bushiness training program is a great idea. I pray though that the language portion of these programs at least would have some depth to them beyond teaching the basic alphabet soup and a few phrases. This will never accomplish what the military wants. Baylor University has a class that can serve as model for such education. Arabic language training in such a setting should include applications such as business negotiations, legal and business terminology, and extensive readings in business reports, etc. There is lots of opportunity here for an enlightened language trainer and an open-minded faculty.