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ABSTRACT The author, a language department chairman concerned about statistics showing that 50% of initially enrolled students do not finish the first year of language courses in his department gained insight into the reasons for this high drop rate when he himself enrolled in and eventually dropped a course in Chinese. A catalogue of his different reactions to the classroom experience produces several suggestions immediately applicable to his own teaching. In the final analysis, however, his abandonment of the course was not a direct result of the classroom experience but rather of his own lack of incentive. Relating his own experience to that of the students, the author concludes optimistically that growing recognition across the nation of the importance of language learning will lead to the creation of academic and economic incentives which will help to solve the problem of high drop rates.