The ACE Program
Global Language System’s Approach to Enhance Military Linguist Scores in the DLPT V A White Paper
©Global Language Systems 2011 www.globallanguagesystems.com 800.381.6545 Bountiful, Utah
The Problem Since the release of the DLPT V linguists have had great difficulty in bringing up their scores to match those they achieved in the DLPT V. It is obvious to us through experience that the DLPT V requires a higher level of preparation not only in the target language but also in the English language and a set of other skills that existing language classrooms do not offer to linguists. The solution Based on feedback from hundreds of GLS clients it is obvious to us that to bring linguists to a higher level in the DLPT V and to enable them to maintain that level throughout their careers it is necessary for their language training to include mastery of skills such as 1) Reading between the lines to provide global and detailed answers to questions 2) Understand freeform speech and editorial 3) Text analysis skills in both English and the target language 4) Analysis of text tone 5) Understanding rhetoric and nuance 6) Teach critical reading and literary analysis skills 7) A worldwide schema in text taught and study of a wide range of geopolitical topics and editorial rather than just focusing on raw news material. Over the past 6 years GLS has developed a comprehensive course that tackles these problems and thoroughly prepares military linguists not just to pass the DLPT but also to perform their jobs immediately after graduating from our ACE course. We have noticed that in many units once the students pass the DLPT they do not meet mission or operational requirements and they need more language training to become operational. With the ACE course linguists both pass the test and they are operational from day one thereafter. The following is an outline of how we do it Extensive Reading/Listening GLS has a massive library of literature in languages such as Arabic, Farsi and Pashto. This literature covers the ILR spectrum and is used to give participants in our classes a wide range of material they can choose from to perform daily segments of ‘reading and listening for pleasure’ or RLFP. Using RLFP participants read about 32 pages a day from their choice of literature. A simple quiz confirms their performance of this daily assignment. The level is increased gradually until the participant reaches the 2
maximum goal for the course (Usually 2+-3+). Assignments are relatively easy in order to maintain the ‘pleasure’ aspect of the course and to help participants to feel daily success from reading in and listening to the target language. Using extensive R/L participants learn not only improve their speed in processing text but it also serves to provide them with daily practice on the high frequency lexical items they encounter in text and more importantly, due to the literary nature of the text, it sharpens in them text analysis skills to help them understand elements such as proverbs, intent, figures of speech and metaphors. Intensive Reading/Listening In intensive R/L the instructor works with the participants to understand text at a deeper level. This usually involves editorial and opinion materials, magazine articles rather than news media, discussion sessions seeking feedback and explaining context and background. Intensive R/L also includes strategic translation exercises to help the participants understand how the different lexical elements of text work to convey tone and intent. Strategic translation is also used as a tool for deliberate and focused practice where the instructor identifies specific weaknesses in student comprehension and focuses his attention on those particular issues. Online Learning Environment While all the above activities can be provided via the traditional classroom model with both instructor and student in the same space, it has been our experience during the past two years with several experimental groups that online learning environments supported by technologies such as learning management systems, online conferencing tools such as Skype and Webex, provide the instructors with more flexibility in groups where participant aptitude for language learning and the learning style is not homogenous. In such environments the instructor usually has to perform the delicate and difficult task of trying to provide individual attention to the participants either to address their specific learning style requirements or to help them catch up with those who have more aptitude for this kind of language work. An online learning environment helps solve these problems. Let’s assume you are doing text analysis with a class. Using an OLE the instructor can assign and article or a group of article to students registered on a learning management system. Each student proceeds to provide their analysis, translation or whatever exercise the instructor chooses to assign. The LMS can be programmed to give instant feedback for some kinds of exercises and the instructor can view the responses of each student providing his particular feedback. In a classroom environment it is difficult for 3
an instructor to provide detailed feedback for all participants’ performances and thus an excellent opportunity to provide the participants with specific feedback which is what moves the learning process forward as all modern research shows. The individualized feedback can also be shared with other participants for their analysis which enhances the learning. An instructor can attempt such a thing in a classical classroom environment but it is usually at the expense of the participants who have higher aptitudes or who are more advanced. An OLE is also great when not all participants can be available in one place at the same time. Suggested Schedule This schedule is based on 6 class hours per day for four weeks. Participants are given three hours worth of assignments to work on for 3 of those six hours. In an OLE environment the instructor will hold class via Skype and Webex while receiving and providing feedback on student assignments via the Learning Management System. 1st – 2nd Hour: Instructor-lead discussion of intensive reading assignments sharing feedback and finer points that the participants or the instructor believes should be focused on. 3rd Hour: Instructor-lead discussion of extensive reading assignment. 4th-6th Hour: Participants work on their assignments for the following days while instructor prepares materials to target issues or concerns that came up in the course of discussion. Instructor will also spend two additional hours working on assessing assignments submitted by the students at the end of the day.
About Global Language Systems Founded in 2003, Global Language Systems LLC is based near Salt Lake City, Utah, with unique contributions to language services including training in live and virtual classrooms, curriculum and content development, online technologies, translation, and expert consultation. Please visit us at www.globallanguagesystems.com