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   RE: Thoughts on frequency and skills integration?
 From: K. Eckhard Kuhn-Osius
 To: Language Educators
 Posted: 08-08-2017 18:51
 Message: The desirable number of credits and class contact hours really depends on the age and living situation of the students (on-campus or commuter) and the overall academic outlook of the institution, students' ability and willingness to do homework, etc. The other issue would be the desired level of proficiency as an outcome of the class.  Evaluative questions would be, e.g.: How many students take the language? How many students stay through the program (retention)? What proficiency level do most students attain after 1-2 years? How many go on in the FL when a required sequence is completed? Does their proficiency increase or plateau? What follow-up courses does the institution offer and how do they mesh with incoming students' proficiency?

I would never completely separate the 2 media of language production and comprehension (I think "four skills" is very misleading). While there are some aspects, in which speaking differs from listening and listening differs from reading and reading differs from writing and writing differs from speaking, the various channels are interconnected in the beginning (for literate learners) and well into the Intermediate levels. If you were to offer Chinese, I might re-consider my above statement since you are essentially dealing with two sign systems that are not intimately connected and will need to be learned separately, up to a point.

Eckhard Kuhn-Osius
Original Message:
Sent: 08-07-2017 06:58
From: Ryan Dehner
Subject: Thoughts on frequency and skills integration?


If you are a post-secondary language program coordinator, I was wondering if you might tell me how you go about making initial program design decisions concerning the following two questions (imagine you had to craft a language program from scratch, without institutional limitations):

  1. What is the ideal amount of classroom time (i.e. contact hours) you would want for students? For example, would you opt for a traditional course format in which, say, a three-credit class meets three hours per week for a four-month semester? Or would you plan courses to be five-credits so they could meet every day of the week? Importantly, using what data would you support your decision?

  2. Would you prefer to integrate listening, speaking, reading, and writing in your courses or create separate courses that attempt to isolate the four skills? And, again, what would you base your decision on?

So, frequency and skills integration preferences is what I am after here.

Much thanks and I look forward to any insights you may be able to provide.




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