Self-Directed Language Acquisition Program

Students who have completed COM 2 gained new opportunities to study less-commonly-taught languages when the Self-Directed Language Acquistion Program was established in spring 2009 as part of an effort to expand course offerings in Middle Eastern Studies. Languages offered routinely offered through the SDLAP include Persian (Farsi/Dari), modern Hebrew, and Turkish. Students preparing for or returning from study or service abroad may also use the SDLAP to begin or continue the study of a language not included in the University's regular course offerings. During the past three years, languages studied through the SDLAP have included Hindi, Bengali, Kannada, Korean, Dutch, and Swedish.

If you are interested in a new linguistic challenge, this program allows you to learn more about studying languages and cultures and set your own goals for learning an uncommon language.

What will I learn in the SDLAP?

As a participant in the Self-Directed Language Acquisition Program you will:

  • Learn to set and fulfill your own language-learning goals
  • Explore the culture(s) in which your language is spoken
  • Develop competence in speaking, reading, and writing

How will I learn?

This program is "self-directed," which means that you develop your own learning plans and use available resources to fulfill goals that you have set for yourself. The University has a number of print and electronic resources for less-commonly-taught languages and acquires more as needed; you will be expected to spend 9–10 hours each week learning through these resources and others that you will discover on your own. In addition, you will meet regularly with a language partner to work on oral skills and cultural understanding.

During the first semester of your participation, you will enroll in two courses, SDLC 105 (1/2 unit) and SDLC 110 (1 unit). In subsequent semesters you may enroll in up to three more units of self-directed learning courses.

SDLC 105, Introduction to Self-Directed Language Learning, helps you develop the skills you need to become an autonomous learner of language and culture. You will develop a basic understanding of the structure of human languages and the relationship between language and culture. You will learn how to create a learning plan, use multimedia resources, work with your language partner, and assemble a learning portfolio. Note: Students interested in independent language learning who cannot take SDLC 110 may enroll in SDLC 105 with permission of the professor.

NOTE: SDLC 105 normally meets once a week. Students who have completed a linguistics course may ask to be exempt from this course, but they are expected to fulfill many of its requirements, i.e., complete a learning journal.

In SDLC 110, Self-Directed Language Learning I, you will develop skills in reading, writing, and speaking the language you have chosen. You will investigate the history of the language and the cultures of the areas in which the language is used.

How will I be graded?

Your grade in SDLC 105 will be based on the learning journal that you create in class. This journal will include both the activities you complete for class and reflections upon those activities. In SDLC 110 you will complete a learning portfolio, which will include both weekly reflections on language and culture as well as a short research-based project on a specific linguistic or cultural topic. Your language learning will be assessed at the end of the semester by an outside examiner. Your grade will be based on assessment of your portfolio and these examinations.

What else do I need to know about the SDLAP?

There are several important things to know:

  • You cannot use courses in the SDLAP to fulfill the COM 2 requirement.
  • Students enrolling in the SDLAP should have experience as successful language learners. This generally means that they have completed COM 2.
  • Successful self-directed learning requires a high level of motivation and self-discipline. To obtain permission to enroll in the program, you must demonstrate your interest in the language and your willingness to be responsible for your own learning in an interview with either the chair of Modern Literatures and Cultures or the director of the program.
  • Students interested in languages other than Persian, Hebrew, and Turkish MUST obtain permission to enroll in SDLC 110. Enrollment depends upon the ability of the program to find a suitable language partner and examiner. In some cases, students may be advised to consider the C-LAC program as an alternative to the SDLAP.

Where can I get more information?

More information about the SDLAP, including sample syllabi, can be found on the SDLAP Blog. The SDLAP Ning, which is restricted to participants in the program, is the platform for the creation of learning journals and electronic portfolios. This resource remains available even to students no longer in the program.