Training Language Teachers—A Systems Approach*


  • Richard J. McArdle Ph.D

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      RICHARD J. McARDLE (Ph.D., Univ. of Nebraska) taught Spanish in Nebraska secondary schools for 10 years before entering the Romance Language Department at the University of Nebraska where he served as Instructor of Foreign Language Methods and Supervisor of Student Teachers. He is currently Chairman of the Department of Education at Cleveland [Ohio] State University. He is the author of “Teacher Education, Qualifications, and Supervision” in The Britannica Review of Foreign Language Education Vol. 1, 1968

  • *

    The design of the course described in this article represents the work of many people. The author wishes, however, to specifically acknowledge and thank Roger Gilmore, Romance Language Dept., Univ. of Nebraska, and William Hammelmann, Chairman, Foreign Language Dept., Lincoln (Neb.) East High School.


ABSTRACT  Many instructional problems which face us today in the training of foreign language teachers can be solved with a systems approach. Systems offers program designers a dosed loop feedback mechanism within which to develop a meaningful program.

Eight objectives selected for a methods course offered at the University of Nebraska are described and each is stated specifically in behavioral terms. Since space does not permit reporting each of the objectives in the detail demanded by a systems approach, one objective is presented. The account of this objective takes the reader step by step through each detail of the systems approach used at Nebraska. It includes the following basic steps:

  • 1A general and specific statement of the problem.
  • 2An analysis of the problem
  • 3An assessment of the learner's entering behavior
  • 4The development of an instructional design (i.e., learning experiences, components, scheduling, and evaluation of the program)
  • 5A means of feedback and change within the design