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SCOLA Spotlights
Boston College
For the past 26 years, Boston College has been using SCOLA learning services to aid in teaching foreign languages. Read on to find out how SCOLA has
helped Boston College students become more fluent in foreign languages:
SCOLA AT BOSTON COLLEGE
Cynthia N. Bravo, Director, Boston College Language Laboratory - 2/19/15
Boston College has been an affiliate of SCOLA since 1989 when Channel One news programming was captured via an on-campus satellite dish and off-air video recordings of selected broadcasts made available for viewing in the language classroom or language laboratory. In the 1990s and later in the early-to-mid 2000s, when the BC community began accessing Channel One news via the University’s cable television provider, SCOLA viewing assignments became somewhat of a staple in the curricula of selected third-year and more advanced-level Spanish and French courses.
Today SCOLA continues to be a recurring assignment in Boston College’s third-year, two-semester French course, French Conversation, Composition and Reading. This multi-section course coordinated by Prof. James Flagg of BC’s Dept. of Romance Languages and Literatures “emphasizes the development of fluency in written and oral French and the sharpening of cultural and textual analytical skills.” (J. Flagg) Via three “SCOLA” assignments, students either individually or in small groups report orally in class on a topic of current events interest occurring in France or another francophone country. To research and prepare their oral presentations, students are encouraged to use media resources of various types that will help them develop their reading and/or listening skills. Among such resources, students may now readily access SCOLA’s online “Foreign Texts” and/or “World TV Online” broadcasts, this latter SCOLA Web service being made available to the Boston College community for the first time in the Fall Semester of 2014. In advance of the actual in-class presentations students inform their instructors of the topic they have selected as the subject of their report and the media source(s) they have accessed. In class, be they reporters of the news or “consumers” of the news presented, all students engage in lively discussion in order to take advantage of this opportunity to gain speaking practice.
In the Linguistic Analysis and Field Methods course, Program in Linguistics Prof. Margaret Thomas (Dept. of Slavic and Eastern Languages and Literatures) and her students make use of other SCOLA services that contribute significantly to the advancement of course goals. To quote Prof. Thomas: “The overall goal of this course (designed for graduate students and upper-level undergraduate Linguistics majors and minors) is to develop linguistic-analytic skills and to exercise the capacity to make informed inferences about the structure of a novel language. To that end students interact directly with a native speaker of the target language - in 2015, Tagalog (in previous years, Bahasa Indonesia and Vietnamese) – study the sound patterns, morphology, words, syntax, and pragmatics of the language, with attention to cultural and ethnographic matters.”
SCOLA’s “On the Street Videos” serve as a particularly rich resource for this course, both to expose students in class to a language and culture of which they have little knowledge (video: Typhoon Maring – December 15, 2013) and as source material (video: Street Food – April 2, 2014) for an initial out-of-class “Look; record; reflect” assignment that “gives students an opportunity to develop observational skills, an essential talent for successful field work.”(M. Thomas)
Throughout 25+ years of affiliation, the language and culture resources made available to Boston College by SCOLA, be they delivered via satellite dish, cable television or Internet, have consistently contributed to our community’s BeComing more globally proficient.
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