Slot:       28A-7          Dec. 28, 8:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.                                                

Panel:     Technology and Language Teaching

Chair:     Jonathan Perkins, University of Kansas


Title:       Czech in a Distance Delivery Format and Learners Natural Syllabus in Slavic Languages

Author:   Miluse Saskova-Pierce, University of Nebraska at Lincoln

There are about a dozen programs of Czech language instruction in the US. Most of them serve traditional student population and are small. A beginning class of twenty students is exceptional; most classes of Czech language are much smaller. However, there are people interested in learning the Czech language, without access to in-class instruction. The Nebraska Czech Program is one of the oldest in the US and will celebrate its 100th anniversary in 2007. To serve nontraditional students the University of Nebraska at Lincoln will offer in the spring 2007 Beginning Czech as its first distance delivery class offered on-line.

The purpose of the class is to support language learning of non-traditional students and individuals geographically removed from traditional campuses. However, the whole spectrum of eligible students will be recruited. The US Mid West constitutes the primary clientele. The format of instructional organization will use formation of learning communities and cooperative learner centered instruction.

The paper will present the organization and materials used in the instruction. The class will use the Blackboard Delivery System, including an experimental feature that will be newly available, the voice journaling and voice chat. Preliminary results of the study of learner’s internal syllabus for Czech as a Slavic language will be shared. The natural syllabus establishes the sequence of natural development of grammatical and semantic categories in the speech and writing of students (establishment of developmental sequences and stages of interlingual development of grammatical and semantic domains). The models for non-Slavic languages (English) and Russian vs. Czech will be compared and tested.


Title:       Online Language Instruction Tool that Promotes Learners’ Cultural and Communicative Competence

Author:   Natalia Antokhin, Defense Language Institute

The Global Language Online Support System (GLOSS) provides current Defense Language Institute (DLI) students, as well as its graduates, with a language-enhancement and maintenance tool: on-line instructional units (LOs) that address learners' specific language needs in reading and listening. The high level of proficiency that is now required from DLI graduating students presumes achieving a certain level of socio-linguistic and communicative competence. Without the ability to recognize target language pragmatics and to understand people’s attitudes and customs, learners fail to communicate successfully within the target language country. Advancing these competences, as well as improving understanding of a target language culture, is the goal of the next generation of Russian GLOSS instructional modules.

Each culture unit has been developed around a certain topic, with the objective of teaching learners social conventions and language pragmatics that pertain to this topic (“family life and relations,” “housing issues and people’s homes),” food and traditions, etc). The instructional design and the content of these units (the combination of developed simulated and carefully selected authentic materials) support this objective. The LO’s content presents an opportunity for a learner to improve a specific area of his/her lexical, discourse, and/or sociolinguistic competences. The learner practices reading, listening, and writing skills through a sequence of logically connected activities that accompany texts and video and audio clips selected from a variety of Russian Internet sources (texts, radio and TV broadcasts, chat rooms discussions, guides and instructions from Russian government and from private organizations and institutions). 

One of the most beneficial features of these units is the extensive and comprehensive instructional feedback: hints, questions, comments, “teacher notes,” and explanations that guide learners through the challenges of each task.

Suggestions will be offered on how Russian culture units, which are free and readily available to the public, may be used as supplemental material in the classroom and by individual learners as a tool for language maintenance.