What is the "Lesser Taught Languages Program?
Q. What is the Self-Instructional Format?
A. Unlike language classes offered under the regular curriculum, SILP classes do not have regular faculty members (full-time or adjunct) as instructors: rather they utilize texts and audio-materials on tape or CD as the PRIMARY source for learning the target language. Students study the text and work with the audio materials on their own, but they are nonetheless required to meet three hours a week with a native speaker as instructor who conducts intensive drills in the spoken language. The PRIMARY focus of the program is on the spoken language and listening comprehension. The final course grade for most languages will be largely determined on these two skills. Classes are kept small to offer the maximum practice in these skills.
Q. What courses are offered under this program?
A. Introductory and intermediate classes (the first two years) of Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, Modern Greek, Italian , and Portuguese, are offered at the University of South Alabama. Occasionally a third-year class in a language is offered based on student demand and availability of instructors. No majors or minors are offered in these languages. All Self-Instructional courses are indicated by the LGS prefix. Completion of the second semester of an introductory LTLS course satisfies the Arts & Sciences language proficiency requirement.
Q. How will I know what time the classes will be offered?
A. Students should report to the first organizational meeting as indicated in the schedule of classes. This is done to choose a class meeting time that best fits the schedules of the tutors and the students enrolled in the class. Although they are listed under weekend and evening courses, weekday meetings have proved to be the most convenient for all involved, and the classes are tentatively scheduled for weekdays. Final tutorial schedules will be determined and announced at the first Saturday meeting. They will also be posted on the website as soon as they are determined. (Second-semester classes will usually continue at the same time that they were offered first semester).
Q. What does this require of students?
A. All students should be highly motivated to study these languages and should have a definite purpose beyond simply satisfying a requirement, in order to be successful. Self-discipline is very important! All students are to come to the tutorial sessions PREPARED to practice the spoken language and to expect the tutors to teach them things that can easily be learned from textbooks. All students should listen to the audio material a minimum of 1 hour a day, 7 days a week, and coordinate their listening with the textbook and workbook.
Q. Why is more expected of students in this type of study than of those in the standard classroom-based instructional format?
A. In the traditional classroom setting, the instructor leads students through the materials with teaching strategies that can be tailored to the learner, and encourages daily preparation with such time-honored motivation techniques as quizzes. In contrast, the LTLs student must be goal-oriented and self-motivated, and is expected to introduce him/herself to the assigned materials. The tutor is a valuable resource, but is not trained to walk students through the text in the same way that one's high school teacher did. Your tutor is not going to determine your final grade in the course, but will help you throughout the quarter with assignments, quizzes, and tests to give you some assessment of your progress in learning the language.
All students enrolled in LTL classes will need to sign a contract, indicating that they understand and agree to the terms of the self-instructional format. More detailed information can be found in the SYLLABUS, which can be downloaded from this site.
Q. How is the Final Examination administered?
A. By the end of the semester, all students are expected to have developed basic skills (speaking proficiency, listening comprehension, and some ability to cope with the written aspects of the target language), all of which can be tested on a comprehensive basis. The final determination of your grade will largely be based on the evaluation of professional External Examiners who will come to our campus at the end of each semester to provide us with standard examinations. These External Examiners, who are regular instructors or professors of these languages at other universities, are required because our self-instructional program is a member of the national association (NASILP), which sets the standards. Sometimes, in the case of less heavily enrolled languages, this examination is conducted by telephone.