The Scarlet & Black

The Student News Site of Grinnell College

The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

Alternative language study option offers students broad opportunities

Claire Moisan, French, took over the position of the Alternative Language Study Option (ALSO) Director earlier this school year. While she has kept the basic structure the same, Moisan is planning many long-term changes to the ALSO program.

Along with scouring the internet for online language training programs, Moisan is also creating Teaching Modules and a Universal Syllabus. The Teaching Modules are crafted by the tutors—they are video tutorials on different teaching methods that can be used in the classroom. Moisan describes them as “a tool kit.”

“It’s for future tutors. It will be on the web, it will be a permanent thing that they can go to,” Moisan said. “The modules are for them to crystallize what they have learned and also for the future.”

The modules will go over the many different styles of teaching languages and which methods to use for specific sections. They will allow future tutors to see what is most effective in the classroom and will allow them to really understand the different teaching methods. The Teaching Modules are important, according to Moisan, because they formalize the teaching system.

“There are all kinds of methods … and all these students sort of know about this, but we are making this training really intentional and I think this is a great way for them to internalize and prove what they learned.”

In the future, tutors will be able to build on the knowledge of previous tutors in order to perfect the ALSO program teaching techniques.

The Universal Syllabus is in the same institutionalizing vein. All of the tutors will work under a specific framework that will be the same for all of the languages being taught. Moisan hopes that by creating a Universal Syllabus, it will be easier for the tutors to teach the sections effectively and using the most practical methods.

“[It’s a system] where the tutors can just have a framework all set and ready to go,” she said. “With the Universal Syllabus… everyone will be on the same page throughout the semester.”

Along with all the technical changes to ALSO, Moisan is adding a new, stronger cultural side to the program. Both Portuguese and Korean have language tables in the Dining Hall, and there is Greek Frappe Hour and Chai Time. These are weekly events where students are invited to come, drink coffee or chai and talk about the different cultures and events taking place in Greece and India.

ALSO has specific languages that are offered each semester. However, if students are interested in taking a language that isn’t offered, Moisan is willing to work with them to try and start it here at Grinnell. It is very easy to petition for a language through ALSO and Moisan has made it even easier. In the past there was a hierarchy of credit for languages: non-romance languages were three credits and romance languages were only two credits. Moisan has changed that.  Now every language is just two credits, which allows students with a full course load to be able to add on any ALSO language, when in the past it was difficult to add on some of the harder languages. It is her hope to make the process of petitioning for a language easier and more streamlined.

“If a group of students are interested in a language, all they will need is at least six students and there has to be a native speaker on campus who can teach that language. There is also an online application procedure on the ALSO website, for both students who want to take a class and tutors.”

Moisan hopes that with the new Teaching Modules, Universal Syllabus and cultural events that the ALSO program will become more popular and be able to reach out to a larger amount of students on campus.

Leave a Comment
More to Discover
Donate to The Scarlet & Black
Our Goal

Comments (0)

All The Scarlet & Black Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *