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Language courses reduced to three credit hours from six

By Minoti Kale     4/15/15 10:11am

The Center for Languages and Intercultural Communication recently announced that all introductory language classes will be worth three credit hours instead of six starting next semester, though they will still offer distribution credit.

The move marks a reversal from the past two years, when CLIC’s introductory language classes were increased from four to five credit hours entering the 2013-14 school year, then to six credit hours in the 2014 spring semester.

CLIC director Rafael Salaberry said the center made the switch to six-credit-hour classes because these classes are easier to fit into schedules based mainly on multiples of three credit hours. Also, according to Salaberry, the center hoped longer classes would also give students a greater depth of understanding of their target language. However, students expressed concern that they would not have time to take such credit-heavy classes along with their majors, despite the fact that the classes offer distribution credit.

According to Salaberry, the current administration at CLIC decided that three-credit-hour classes would be more familiar and easier for students to include in their schedules, as well as making classes more accessible to students from majors with stringent requirements. 

Lovett College sophomore Amber Tong said the change could increase enrollment in CLIC classes. 

“Reduction of hours would probably encourage more people to try out language courses considering the limited hours on our schedules,” Tong said. “But as far as learning goes, this would only work if the continuing courses are also restructured to accommodate the change.” 

According to Tong, who is currently enrolled in Intermediate Hindi II, restructuring would be difficult. Tong said the process of becoming familiar with a new alphabet and system would not be feasible given the shorter class period.

Lovett College sophomore and linguistics major Katherine Borden also believes this change will impact the thoroughness of the language learning experience. 

“I’m glad it was six hours when I took beginning German,” Borden said. “It was a big time commitment, but my ultimate goal is to become fluent, and I just don’t think I could accomplish that with only three hours of instruction a week.”

According to Borden, it may be difficult for students to learn languages effectively under the new system, though the classes are available to more students.

“Languages are heavily nuanced, and that’s something you can’t pick up on without spending a lot of time with a fluent speaker,” Borden said. “The shorter classes make the languages more accessible, but that’s in exchange for a depth of instruction that I wouldn’t want to give up.”

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