Video in the Proficiency-Based Advanced Conversation Class: An Example from the Russian-Language Curriculum


  • Benjamin Rifkin

    1. University of Wisconsin-Madison Middlebury College
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      Benjamin Rifkin (Ph.D., University of Michigan) is Associate Professor of Russian at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Director of the Russian School at Middlebury College, Vermont.


ABSTRACT  This article describes the principles underlying the design of an advanced-level conversation class in Russian and the learning outcomes of the course. After a review of research on proficiency levels attained by foreign language students, the author describes the advanced conversation course, a course geared toward students who have achieved intermediate-mid or intermediate-high oral proficiency in the target language and who are striving towards advanced level speech according to the ACTFL oral proficiency guidelines. The article describes the integration of feature films, on video, into the course as the basis of tasks (as defined by Murphy 1993) for student partner work, as well as self-analyses the students themselves conduct during the course of the semester. While the description of the course focuses on Russian-language students at the college level, the article describes how the principles illustrated herein can be adapted for use with other languages and at other levels of instruction.