Three Weeks Equals Thirty Weeks?-A Report on an Experimental Intensive January Language Course


  • John A. Wallace

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      JOHN A. WALLACE (Ed.D., Univ. of Pennsylvania) is Director o the School for International Training. He has developed the School's MAT and International Career Training Programs, has assisted in the planning and supervision of forty-seven Peace Corps training programs, and has traveled and taught extensively on five continents. Since 1965 he has been a Fellow of the World Academy of Arts and Sciences, Rehovot, Israel, and since 1970 has served as president of the Association of World Colleges and Universities. He is the author of Getting to Know the USSR (Coward McCann, 1959) and “Selection of Participants for Study Abroad” (Occasional Paper of the Council on Student Travel, 1965).


ABSTRACT  The effectiveness of intensive language programs of such organizations as the Peace Corps and The Experiment in International Living has often been attributed to the motivation of an imminent overseas experience. Forty-seven students from colleges and universities on the 4–1–4 calendar participated in an intensive language program in January 1971 at The Experiment's School for International Training. None were proceeding overseas at the end of the program; all returned to their regular campuses. The six-day-a-week, six-hour-a-day program in Spanish, French, German, and Russian was conducted by young, native-speaking teachers with limited previous experience. Classes were small, ranging in six from four to ten members. Half were at the elementary level, half intermediate. Elementary students were tested at the end of the program using the L level Cooperative MLA tests with norms for one year of college study. Median performance was at the 52nd percentile in reading, 68th in listening, 72nd in writing, and 93rd in speaking. Intermediate students were tested at the beginning and end of the program using levels MA and MB of the MLA tests, with norms for two years college study. An average improvement of 25 percentile points was effected during the three week program, from the 57th to the 82nd percentile.