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ERIC Number: EJ872645
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010-Jan
Pages: 7
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 26
ISSN: ISSN-1539-0578
Incremental Gains in Foreign Language Programs: The Role of Reading in Learning about Other Cultures
Frantzen, Diana
Reading in a Foreign Language, v22 suppl 1 p31-37 Jan 2010
In this article, the author considers some of the issues addressed in the 2007 MLA report. The 2007 MLA report argues that the two-tiered literature/language configuration in post-secondary foreign language departments "has outlived its usefulness and needs to evolve," and even needs to be replaced. When proclamations are made that foreign language departments need to evolve, the underlying urgent--at times even strident--tenor engenders frustration and resistance to suggestions for whole-cloth change or to the need to do it quickly. The choice of the verb "evolve" is an interesting one, for it is somewhat problematic. First, imploring departments to evolve suggests that all those who resist certain curricular and pedagogical changes necessarily do not wish to evolve, and with this the implicit comparisons to Neanderthals are evoked. Second, although evolution means gradual change, most calls for curricular evolution carry an urgency, an immediacy. Given the existing institutional realities, perhaps an incremental approach may be better received, and all that some departments may be able to take on unless there is also a move from above to reward and recognize such activities in a significant way. The author's suggestion in this article to consider incremental change is not meant to preclude rapid and major revamping of departments, but rather to suggest a more gradual approach when institutional realities are not ready and able to embrace more expansive and rapid changes. The author also discusses what the role of reading should be in the revamped--or evolving--language department.
Reading in a Foreign Language. National Foreign Language Resource Center, 1859 East-West Road #106, University of Hawaii, Honolulu, HI 96822. e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A