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    Vassar College
  Jan 21, 2018
Catalogue 2017-2018

Self-Instructional Language Program

A small number of unusually well-motivated students are permitted to enroll in a program of supervised self-instruction in American Sign Language, Hindi, Irish/Gaelic, Korean, Persian, Portuguese, Swahili, Swedish, Turkish, or Yiddish. The Self-Instructional Language Program differs sharply from traditional college-level language instruction both in its limited goals and in its unconventional methods. The aim is almost exclusively to develop an active oral command of the language in question. The materials and methods used reflect this emphasis: the textbooks are structured around oral drills; extensive work with recordings is required; there are regularly scheduled oral drill sessions with a native-speaking tutor; and students take mid-term and final examinations each semester.

The exact amount of material to be covered is announced at the beginning of each semester. Drill sessions are planned in accordance with the tutor’s schedule, and students are expected to attend regularly. It must be clearly understood that these group meetings with the tutor are intended as review sessions of material with which the students are already thoroughly familiar from work with recordings. The tutor’s function is to serve as a control and as a model of correct language use. He or she is not to be viewed as a source of information about the language. In fact, the entire tutorial is given over to drills and conversation in the foreign language; there will be no classroom instruction in grammatical analysis.

Regular and frequent work with audio materials constitutes the heart of each course in the Self-Instructional Language Program. The appropriate recordings are loaned out at the beginning of the semester or made available online. Students enrolled in this program should count on spending between one and two hours daily drilling with recorded materials.

Beginning, intermediate and advanced spoken American Sign Language, Irish/Gaelic, Hindi, Korean, Persian, Portuguese, Swahili, Swedish, Turkish, and Yiddish are offered on this basis when there is an indication of sufficient student interest well in advance of fall registration.

Students may not be enrolled in more than one course in the Self-Instructional Language Program in any semester.

The beginning and intermediate courses in the Self-Instructional Language Program must be taken for a full year. College credit for each semester’s work is given upon the recommendation of outside examiners.