AATSEEL
 
 

High School Articulation

The Public Relations Subcommittee of the AATSEEL Linguistics Committee is studying the long term effects of studying Russian in high school on Russian study in college and the issues of transition for students. In the past, Russian high school teachers have indicated that students are not given credit for the work they do, and that the transition is not a successful one. The result is they report to their friends that Russian in college is a bad idea and discourage them from taking courses. We would like to benefit from the experience of middle and high school teachers and their students in this area. If you would like to answer the survey whic follows, please e-mail it to Jeanmarie Rouhier-Willoughby at jrouhie@pop.uky.edu

SURVEY

Name:

Institution:

Number of students studying Russian:

email address:

1) What are the main problems that prevent high school students from making a successful transition to college Russian? Please rank the following options.

a) they are not given any credit for their work in high school and are placed in elementary Russian regardless of their ability;

b) they are required to take tests which do not assess their knowledge, but that of the college text;

c) college courses reward a different type of effort or have different goals from the high school courses;

d) students are not given guidance how to adapt their knowledge to the college system or to adjust to the goals of college courses;

f) other. Feel free to add any aspects of the problem you have learned from your students or from your own experience. Please be specific.

2) You have all had students who have made a successful transition. What were the keys to their transition. Please rank the following.

a) dedication of the student to succeed and effort outside of class;

b) willingness of the college teacher to work with the student outside of class to make sure they have the same background as the college students;

c) atmosphere in class (speaking all in Russian, including the student in discussions, etc.);

d) organizing events outside of class which allowed your students to get to know their classmates and the faculty;

e) interaction with college faculty before the student enrolls, so that you could discuss the students' abilities with their future teacher and also discuss the transition to college with the student;

f) other. Feel free to add any aspects which lead to success you have learned from your students or from your own experience. Please be specific.

3) In your opinion, please list three most important things/activities high school teachers should do to ensure the successful transition of their students to college Russian?

a)

b)

c)

4) In your opinion, please list the three most important things/activities college teachers should do to ensure the successful transition of students to college Russian.

a)

b)

c)

5) Are the textbooks you use outdated in your opinion? Are you given adequate funds to replace textbooks and other resources by your institution? Do you think a textbook other than the one you are using could/should be used that might enable your students a more successful transition to college Russian? If your institution has not provided adequate funds, have you found other/additional funds from other sources? What text do you use in Russian (please specify levels)?

6) What resources (computer or otherwise) beyond a textbook can assist a student in showing his/her potential on a placement test and making a successful transition from high school to college Russian?

7) In what ways could colleges (and high schools) help an entering student refresh his/her memory before he/she takes a placement test (since even students continuing in a program forget material over breaks), so that the test more accurately measures the student's ability?

8) At what grade is Russian introduced into the curriculum in your school system? Is it the same for all other languages in your school system? Do you think starting Russian at an earlier stage would enable students to make a smoother transition into college courses and/or would lessen attrition rates? What arguments can be used for starting Russian earlier?

SURVEY RESPONSES

Response 1:

Name: Janna Lelchuk

Institution: Juneau-Douglas High School

Number of students studying Russian: 50

email address: pacificx@alaska.net

1) What are the main problems that prevent high school students from making a successful transition to college Russian? Please rank the following options.

c) college courses reward a different type of effort or have different goals from the high school courses

2) You have all had students who have made a successful transition. What were the keys to their transition. Please rank the following.

a) dedication of the student to succeed and effort outside of class

3) In your opinion, please list three most important things/activities high school teachers should do to ensure the successful transition of their students to college Russian?

*****a)use a good textbook

*****b)speak more Russian with your students

*****c)don't be afraid to show students Russian movies

4) In your opinion, please list the three most important things/activities college teachers should do to ensure the successful transition of students to college Russian.

*****a)be patient

*****b)compare the curricula and make the necessary changes in yours

*****c)both teachers should work in cooperation

5) Are the textbooks you use outdated in your opinion? Are you given adequate funds to replace textbooks and other resources by your institution? Do you think a textbook other than the one you are using could/should be used that might enable your students a more successful transition to college Russian? If your institution has not provided adequate funds, have you found other/addition funds from other sources? What text do you use in Russian (please specify levels)?

*****I use "I Want To Speak Russian!", which I published myself a year ago (after two years of torture with "Russian For Everybody", and then another five years of creating my own materials) The book is incrediably popular with my students, because it is based on real life, real people and real situations. I think it made the Russian program in our school really successful!

6) What resources (computer or otherwise) beyond a textbook can assist a student in showing his/her potential on a placement test and making a successful transition from high school to college Russian?

*****I use computer programs from Russia, films and movies from Russia, audio and video tapes (a lot!)

7) In what ways could colleges (and high schools) help an entering student refresh his/her memory before he/she takes a placement test (since even students continuing in a program forget material over breaks), so that the test more accurately measures the student's ability?

*****Just come up with the right test!

8) At what grade is Russian introduced into the curriculum in your school system? Is it the same for all other languages in your school system? Do you think starting Russian at an earlier stage would enable students to make a smoother transition into college courses and/or would lessen attrition rates? What arguments can be used for starting Russian earlier?

*****Only in the High School in our town. Russian should be started as early as possible (as with any other languages like Spanish or French - in middle or even elementary schools) Unfortunately, the funding in our school district does not allow us to do that.

Response 2:

Name: Valerie Ekberg-Brown Institution: ((2) University of Alaska Anchorage Eagle River Campus and Chugiak High School Number of students studying Russian: 10 at the University and 80 at the high school email address: vekberg@alaskalife.net

1. Main problems that prevent high school students from making successful transitions into college level Russian programs???

by rank of numbers given:

d) more guidance in adjusting needed c)reward different types of effort or have different goals from high school courses b) sometimes the testing is only assessing their knowledge of the college text; not true locally but outside of our state yes!!!! a) no credit given for high school work in the area; again not at all true locally in our state of Alaska but sometimes in other out of state college programs this happens

2. Keys to successful transition by rank.

a) dedication of the student to succeed and effort outside of class! b)willingness of college instructor to work with the student outside of class to make sure they have the same background or reference sources as other college students e) interaction with college faculty before the student enrolls, so that you could discuss the students' abilities with their future teacher and also discuss the transition to college with the student f) other: firm background in whatever area of the language a high school teacher focuses on with his/her students; well rounded including grammar but not only grammar or a strong enough interest to continue will not be developed by many c)atmosphere in class; speaking all Russian; to maintain interest at the high school and lst year college level I feel it is more important for them to understand 90% of the time what is going on and what the goals of learning are versus trying to struggle with the correct word or phrase and completely being frustrated in the meantime with no ability to use the language even partially.

3. Three most important activities to ensure successful transition of students to the college program a) well rounded and firm background in the basics of the language skills writing, speaking, and listening comprehension. b) introduction of students to the college faculty and possible local campus at the annual UAA Russian Day and Spoken Russian Olympiada Contest c)plenty of guest speakers to show how valuable and useful their language studies are

4) What should college instructors do to ensure a successful transition?

a)Try to meet with potential college Russian students transferring from the high school ahead of time; try to visit the classes at the local high schools b) Set aside extra time before/after class for these students to acquire any additional help they may need to be successful c) Be honest with these students that it simply takes many years to acquire true proficiency in the Russian language and be positive with them in their dedication to doing just that

5) textbooks:

Even out-of-date textbooks can be used successfully, if only the most useful examples, poems, and dialogs are extracted from them.

The to Face to Face series is nice for the high school level, but in the second additional there are things that just are not well explained.

Funds are not great for new texts since they must be shared with teachers from four other world languages, but they are adequate if one plans carefully from year to year at our school.

1st year ALM Russian yes old and out-of-date, but the dialogs and chapters 1-5 can be used very well in a first year class with many other additional resources, which all Russian teachers are so familiar with creating due to a constant lack of materials

By the last quarter I introduce these students to what will be their 2nd year text :Face to Face level one and we complete the first two chapters and do a large unit on the geography of the former Soviet Union and new Commonwealth of Independent States. I also incorporate a lot of the Olypmiada material at this point and we finish off the school year.

2nd year Face to Face level one through chapter 12 3rd year Face to Face level one huge review and chapters 13-20 (completion of the first Face to Face text) Olympiada is another focus at various times throughout the year.

4th year Face to Face level two first half of the text and the BBC soap opera Goodbye Summer with partial texts

5th year Face to Face Level two 11-20 Completion of this text and a the General's Daughter video with texts and questions and some work out of Russian readers as well

6) What resources beyond a textbook can assist a student in showing his/her potential on a placement test and making successful transition from high school to college Russian?

songs, dances, games, culture, lots and lots of activities which promote cultural interest. This is from where the dedication to continue along with academic high school exchange programs, stems. Our school currently does not have computer resources available for an entire class. Hopefully some day soon it will as I also believe this promotes greater interest. Peer tutoring can also be very rewarding for these students and they learn the language twice as well when they are required to teach it to others as part of the program. If you are interested in what some of my returning students have said really helped and what we should have done more of I will send you this list I am developing for my own teaching purposes as well. I wrote it out for a different paper and I update it each time a student returns and I can ask him/her for the same information.

7) Before a placement test, allow students to sit in several of the lower level Russian classes and just observe the procedure. Then meet with them and ask them what they may need to best prepare for the placement test. Also a recommendation from the high school instructor might be very useful with a list of what the basics are that a particular student has covered.

8) It takes longer to learn Russian well than most other world languages, so an earlier introduction to it would be great. Yes, it should make the high school-college transition easier if the student chooses to continue his/her studies. Our students can start taking Russian in the 9th grade at all local high schools. Japanese and Spanish have immersion programs in our area and they are started in kindergarten and run through the 12 grade. Of course all students who complete this program are quite proficient. The attempt at starting a Russian immersion program was unsuccessful 3-4 years ago due to politics at that time. One middle school has an introduction to Russian in the 7th/8th grade exploratory program. This is in fact how I was introduced to it back in 1978 for the first time. German, French, and Spanish can be taken in all of our middle schools for the most part, and at several high schools Chinese and Latin are offerred as well. In Eagle River credit is granted both at high school and in college for students who successfully complete any of the college language programs while in high school. I highly promote this program, and dedicated students love this advancement in their language studies.

Response 3:

Name:David Burrous

Institution: STandley Lake High School

Number of students studying Russian:28

email address:dburrous@jeffco.k12.co.us

1) What are the main problems that prevent high school students from making a successful transition to college Russian? Please rank the following options.

C. It has been my experience that high school teachers want their students to be able to speak Russian. Many college teachers want their students to know Russian grammar.

It is my experience that college teachers do not have a clue as to what went on in the high school class. Many of them assume nothing went on because the kids cannot fill in the blanks with the correct endings. I was at a conference last week where a college teacher said that she thought that it would be better if high school kids DID NOT study Russian, because when they got to her, they were not able to be successful. I pointed out to her that that said more about her than it did about the students. She complained that American students don't know their grammar. I then documented 9 errors in her own speech in the next 3 minutes. I pointed out that although she made 9 errors, I was able to understand her.

2) You have all had students who have made a successful transition. What were the keys to their transition. Please rank the following.

a) dedication of the student to succeed and effort outside of class; c) atmosphere in class (speaking all in Russian, including the student in discussions, etc.)

3) In your opinion, please list three most important things/activities high school teachers should do to ensure the successful transition of their students to college Russian?

a) Investigate the college Russian program

b) Warn their students about what they should expect.

c) High School teacher should be available for students to cry on their shoulder.

4) In your opinion, please list the three most important things/activities college teachers should do to ensure the successful transition of students to college Russian.

a) Visit the feeding high schools to see what the program is like.

b) Invite high school teachers and high school students to visit.

c) College teachers should investigate standards' based education in their state. The paradigm has shifted. I'm not sure many of the college teachers are familiar with this. For example, in my classes my students earn one of three grades ES, exceeds standard, MS, meets standard, and IP, in progress. None of my assessments are fill in the blank, they are all performance based. Students must take them until they pass them or they get no credit in the class.

5) Are the textbooks you use outdated in your opinion?

no

Are you given adequate funds to replace textbooks and other resources by your institution?

yes

Do you think a textbook other than the one you are using could/should be used that might enable your students a more successful transition to college Russian?

no

If your institution has not provided adequate funds, have you found other/addition funds from other sources? What text do you use in Russian (please specify levels)?

Russian Face to Face, levels I and II

6) What resources (computer or otherwise) beyond a textbook can assist a student in showing his/her potential on a placement test and making a successful transition from high school to college Russian?

oral proficiency interview.

7) In what ways could colleges (and high schools) help an entering student refresh his/her memory before he/she takes a placement test (since even students continuing in a program forget material over breaks), so that the test more accurately measures the student's ability?

What kind of a placement test? One that measures students' ability to fill in the blank with the correct endings, or a placement test like an opi where students' communicative abilities are assessed?

8) At what grade is Russian introduced into the curriculum in your school system?

9th

Is it the same for all other languages in your school system?

no, Spanish and French can be started at 7th or 8th.

Do you think starting Russian at an earlier stage would enable students to make a smoother transition into college courses and/or would lessen attrition rates?

yes.

What arguments can be used for starting Russian earlier?

Any language is easier to learn when the student is younger.

If you look at the way the science and math people 'court' their high school people and compare it to Russian, there's a pretty big difference.

Response 4:

Name:Pat Buckner

Institution:Dixon Middle School

Number of students studying Russian:20

email address:patb@ms.provo.k12.ut.us

1) What are the main problems that prevent high school students from making a successful transition to college Russian? Please rank the following options.

I don't really know---I know that many parents-and students---enroll in other languages in high school because there is no AP test in Russian, and they feel that it's kind of a dead-end high school language; as most of the high school programs in my area use the same texts that the colleges do, that doesn't seem to be a problem--in fact, of the students I've talked to, most have seemed to find the transition fairly smooth, except for the fact that we only have a three year series, and so students are sometimes left with a year or two in high school with no language classes to take, and they sometimes have to "start over" in college.

2) You have all had students who have made a successful transition. What were the keys to their transition. Please rank the following.

Again , I don't really know----my students who have made the transition almost all had the added benefit of a two-year service experience in Russia for the LDS church, so I can't say---although I would rate no. 1 first. Without that, the others don't really matter.

3) In your opinion, please list three most important things/activities high school teachers should do to ensure the successful transition of their students to college Russian?

a)articulation of expectations

b)communicate

c)collaborate

4) In your opinion, please list the three most important things/activities college teachers should do to ensure the successful transition of students to college Russian.

a)same as above---it has to be a two-way street.

b)"

c)"

5) Are the textbooks you use outdated in your opinion? Are you given adequate funds to replace textbooks and other resources by your institution? Do you think a textbook other than the one you are using could/should be used that might enable your students a more successful transition to college Russian? If your institution has not provided adequate funds, have you found other/addition funds from other sources? What text do you use in Russian (please specify levels)?

Ha! What textbooks? About five years ago, I bought Face to Face, because the high school teacher wanted them. Then she left (in the six years I've been teaching, I've dealt with four different high school teachers, each of whom wanted something different), the teacher after her used army materials, the next teacher bought Golosa and Nachalo, and alternated----in middle school, we don't get new books very often, so I've developed a lot of my own materials, bought children's books when I went to Russia, etc.----I don't think Face to Face is very good, and it's the only thing on the American market that even remotely approaches a text for Middle School---although I'm looking at Barron's Russian Now!. It'll probably be several years before I get a chance to buy new books, though. I realize this doesn't have a lot to do with your question. However, in Utah, almost all of our high schools are using college texts, usually the one used by the nearest university. Several alternate between Golosa and Nachalo (which especially helps with mixed-level classes.) We like Troika, but couldn't get the publisher to send out examination copies until adoption deadlines were over.

6) What resources (computer or otherwise) beyond a textbook can assist a student in showing his/her potential on a placement test and making a successful transition from high school to college Russian?

Training of high school and university personnel in a MOPI? Written samples?

7) In what ways could colleges (and high schools) help an entering student refresh his/her memory before he/she takes a placement test (since even students continuing in a program forget material over breaks), so that the test more accurately measures the student's ability?

Offer a get-acquainted -with other Russian students immersion retreat? Have a couple of evening review sessions? Have the students sign up for study groups

8) At what grade is Russian introduced into the curriculum in your school system? Is it the same for all other languages in your school system? Do you think starting Russian at an earlier stage would enable students to make a smoother transition into college courses and/or would lessen attrition rates? What arguments can be used for starting Russian earlier?

Well, it's offered at 7th grade, just like everything but Japanese, which doesn't start until 9th. The problems are those I mentioned earlier---if there is no AP test, and nothing beyond 3rd or 4th year Russian, students are less likely to sign up, period, when they're looking at the big picture. On the other hand, my kids often become almost fanatically attached to Russian, and rabid about continuing. And how else are we ever going to get an AP test, etc., if we don't start early?

Response 5:

Name: George W. Morris

Institution: St. Louis University High School (retired)

Number of students studying Russian: c. 100

email address: gwm8780@aol.com

1) What are the main problems that prevent high school students from making a successful transition to college Russian? Please rank the following options. b, c, d, a

4-a) they are not given any credit for their work in high school and are placed in elementary Russian regardless of their ability;

1-b) they are required to take tests which do not assess their knowledge, but that of the college text;

2-c) college courses reward a different type of effort or have different goals from the high school courses;

3-d) students are not given guidance how to adapt their knowledge to the college system or to adjust to the goals of college courses;

2) You have all had students who have made a successful transition. What were the keys to their transition. Please rank the following.

2-a) dedication of the student to succeed and effort outside of class;

3-b) willingness of the college teacher to work with the student outside of class to make sure they have the same background as the college students;

1-c) atmosphere in class (speaking all in Russian, including the student in discussions, etc.);

5-d) organizing events outside of class which allowed your students to get to know their classmates and the faculty;

4-e) interaction with college faculty before the student enrolls, so that you could discuss the students' abilities with their future teacher and also discuss the transition to college with the student;

3) In your opinion, please list three most important things/activities high school teachers should do to ensure the successful transition of their students to college Russian?

a) get acquainted with college teachers where students are likely to enroll in Russian, see that they know your program and get to know theirs.

b) assure that students visit the college Russian classroom(s) before making a decision, to discover for themselves the type of classes to be encountered in college and the appropriateness of the level.

c) convince students to be assertive when they get to college, to speak Russian as much as possible with the instructors to demonstrate their abilities, and to speak frankly with the college teacher if they find temselves in a class that in not appropriate to their knowledge.

4) In your opinion, please list the three most important things/activities college teachers should do to ensure the successful transition of students to college Russian.

a) Be flexible. Allow students with diverse backgrounds to change classes, when they are too easy or too difficult for them.

b) Assess incoming students' knowledge and abilities in personal conferences, not grammar tests. Assess the level of their spoken Russian by comparison with that of college students with similar backgrounds.

c) Help the high school teachers to know your expectations, but keep them reasonable and in line with the ACTUAL achievements of your own students, rather than your hoped-for results.

5) Are the textbooks you use outdated in your opinion? Are you given adequate funds to replace textbooks and other resources by your institution? Do you think a textbook other than the one you are using could/should be used that might enable your students a more successful transition to college Russian? If your institution has not provided adequate funds, have you found other/additional funds from other sources? What text do you use in Russian (please specify levels)?

No, textbooks are not outdated. This is the first time in many years that numerous choices of truly up-to-date texts are available.

Russian: Face to Face I & II, Russian Faces and Voices.

6) What resources (computer or otherwise) beyond a textbook can assist a student in showing his/her potential on a placement test and making a successful transition from high school to college Russian? I don't know of any useful written placement tests.

Response 6:

Name: Gwen Palace

Institution: Tulsa Public Schools. Washington High School and Wilson Middle School.

Number of students MS 7th and 8th grade: 30 6th grade is only a 9 week exploratory program and throughout the school year I see approximately 120 students in groups of 30 for 9 weeks each. High School: 32

Email palace@merck.utulsa.edu

1) Problems preventing successful transition: NO ADVANCED PLACEMENT TEST! B and C Tests do not access knowledge. All our National Standards and State Standards for Foreigh language are performanced based emphasizing communication skills, they are not percentage based upon can they fill the blank with the correct grammatical ending.

2) Those who suceed in transitioning to college A the student is extremely dedicated and has participated on my student exchange program with Russia either by going to Russia or even hosting a student in their home from Russia.

3) Things High School teachers should do. Use more audio and video tapes show Russian movies and television programs. Speak as much Russian in the classroom as possible. Bring in outside speakers who use Russian in their job or their job sends them to Russia, so students can see how useful Russian can be.

4) Things colege teachers should do. Come up with an AP test. Check out the National Standards for Foreign Language teaching and learning. Visit High School Russian programs, investicate their curriculum, talk with the teacher and students.

5) Textbooks. No I do not have access to adequate funds. For the Middle School: 6th grade 9 week exploratory..I use my own materials. 7th grade Face to Face, Level 1 ch 1-10 8th grade Face to Face, level 1 ch 11-20

For the High School: I find that Face to Face moves too slow in its grammar presentations for the beginning level. IT is working Great for me at the Middle school for a 2 year program. Although I supplememt it heavily with topics and vocabulary sepecially from the Face to Face Level 2 book. First year: Golosa 1 This will be my last year using this book, I hope to have the funds in a year to purchase Nachalo 1 books. The soft bound Golosa 1 books are falling apart! Second year: Nachalo 2 Reading real Russian vol 1 Third year: Golosa 2 We finish Reading real Russian vol.1 Fourth year: V puti and Reading Real Russian vol 2 Fifth year: I Haven't found a good text, I just have them read a lot of stories in Russian and watch Russian films. We finish Reading Real Russian vol. 2

6) Things to test students' knowledge for placement purposes: Give the students an oral proficiency test. Show them a picture and ask them questions about it or get them to tell you a story about the picture. Do an oral interview with the studnets.

8) When students start studying Russian. In Tulsa students can start studying Russian in the 6th grade. Spanish,French, and German can start earlier depending on the particular school. Latin, Chineese, and japaneese start in the 9th grade.