The mission of contemporary Language Education has broadened far beyond the outmoded narrow emphasis on developing communication skills. Standards for Language Learning in the 21st Century, a collaborative effort led by the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages, delineates current best practice. The “standards” in that volume constitute the “outcomes” that inform the courses offered by the Department of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures to fulfill the Language requirement of the Cornerstone Program of General Education. Because students may satisfy that requirement through courses on the Elementary, Intermediate, or Advanced level (or, occasionally, beyond Advanced), they achieve different degrees of mastery of the outcomes; detailed descriptions of each level may be found in the document “ACTFL Descriptions of Stages of Foreign Language Learning,” available on the departmental website.
Key Outcomes for Modern Languages:
COMMUNICATION: Communicate in Languages Other than English
CULTURES: Gain Knowledge and Understanding of Other Cultures
CONNECTIONS: Connect with Other Disciplines and Acquire Information
COMPARISONS: Develop Insight into the Nature of Language and Culture
COMMUNITIES: Participate in Multilingual Communities at Home and Around the World
Students demonstrate mastery of these outcomes through a broad range of standard activities: for example, class participation, quizzes (grammar, vocabulary, listening comprehension, etc.), tests, final exams, journals, online work (podcasts, YouTube), oral evaluations (presentations, interviews, etc.).