Advancing Proficiency through Collaboration

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As opposed to more established models of language sharing in which a few students remotely join an established on-campus class in a relatively ad hoc way, our approach will deliberately pair one UChicago instructor with an instructor at a partner institution.  

  • Together this “collaborative pair” will develop a full sequence of language courses to be hosted jointly on their respective campuses. For example, a UChicago instructor might teach the Introductory and Advanced levels of a given language, while her counterpart might teach the Intermediate level and a course for heritage speakers.
  • This arrangement will reduce individual workload, provide each instructor in the collaborative pair with a sense of community and camaraderie, and broaden the range and depth of courses available to students. But more importantly, it also will ensure a more consistent learning experience for students, will give students access to a larger community of speakers and fellow language learners on multiple campuses, and will infuse the curricula with the shared pedagogical expertise of the collaborative pairs.
  • It is this last aspect of the project that we believe will make this initiative greater than the sum of its parts and sustainable. All too often, language curricula are developed in isolation by instructors who may not have colleagues with whom they can share best practices and discuss new ideas. By building collaboration into our model, we will create an environment that fosters curricular innovation and leads to transformative new techniques for language instruction.

The collaborative pairs of instructors will coordinate their respective curricula and agree to target specific proficiency outcomes so that there is true parity across campuses. UChicago will be responsible for identifying potential partner institutions, formalizing those partnerships, facilitating cross-institutional communication and coordination, supporting the pairs as they rethink and revise their teaching materials, providing tools for formative and summative assessment, and keeping an attentive eye on the program once it is underway in order to ensure it is functioning effectively in practice.