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Reformation in FL Teaching: Career Education Author(s): Wolfgang O. Dill Source: Die Unterrichtspraxis / Teaching German, Vol. 10, No.

2 (Autumn, 1977), pp. 10-17 Published by: Blackwell Publishing on behalf of the American Association of Teachers of German Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3529783 . Accessed: 15/09/2011 11:37
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The German teaching profession in the U.S. has faced and successfully survived many challenges due to historical and political, rather than social, reasons. If we accept the present social realities, including the importance of German for the "world of work," we can meet the present challenges and assure a bright future for our profession. * State University of New York at Stony Brook 'Richard Brod, "Correspondence at the Crossroads," ADE and ADFLBulletins, Special Issue (September, 1976), p. 41. 2Volkmar Sander,"The Profession:Figuresand Trends,"in GermanStudies in the Press, 1976), 24-32. 3RexArnett,"Languages the World of Work," for ADFLBulletin, VII,4 (May,1976), 14-24. 4Rita Terras,"The 'Market'for German-Speaking Employees:A Survey,"ADFL Bulletin, VI, 3 (March, 1975), 26-28. 5George Hanck and Susan Fershee, "Foreign Language Study in Engineering Education,"EngineeringEducation (April, 1975), p. 768. 6J. Edward Dirks, "StrengtheningForeign Languagesin Humanities and in International Education,"ADFL Bulletin, VIII,2 (November, 1976), p. 29. Office of Education,1975), p. 4. 8AttitudesTowardEducation(New York:Policy Studies in Education,n.d.), p. 62. 9Barbara Elling,"CareerAlternativesfor Students of German,"GermanStudies in sin Press, 1976), 233-246. as Skill,"NortheastConference Report(Montpelier:The 10"Language an Auxiliary Capital City Press, 1977), p. 52. The terms "blending" or "infusion" denote the techniques used when career goals are interjected into all subjects in the curriculum.
the United States. Assessment and Outlook (Madison: The University of Wiscon7Kenneth B. Hoyt, An Introduction to Career Education (Washington D.C.: U.S. United States. Assessment and Outlook (Madison: The University of Wisconsin

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Reformation in FL Teaching: Career Education


Wolfgang 0. Dill It literally took an act of congress to initiate a self-evaluation process in our profession. The very fact that all teachers in this country are, directly or indirectly, forced to evaluate their teaching objectives in light of present-day realities is unquestionably the most positive outcome of the Vocational Education Act of 1963 and Vocational Education Act Amendments of 1968.1 The currently evolving modified learning objectives in the primary and secondary school system resulting from these congressional directives can hardly be belittled as "another bandwagon" movement. They are here to stay, and the basic tenets of today's career education had better not be ignored by teachers who have witnessed a steady decline in student interest for their subject for WOLFGANG DILL, Associate Professorof Germanat Oregon State University, O. received the Ph.D. from the Universityof California Davis. He co-authored the at and through ERIC, produced the videotape ForeignLanguagein Careers,available from the OSU Classroom TV Department.
teacher manual Second-Language Education and Career Education, available

almost a decade now without any significant attempt on their part to adapt their teaching goals to the pragmatic demands and needs of society. In the spirit of self-evaluation then, we FL teachers ought to look beyond our immediate environment for information which might help us to reform our teaching goals, if not our whole professional "value system." Valuable insights were offered at a two-day workshop on "Teaching Foreign Languages for Use in Industry and Commerce" at the FIPLV/AATG/ACTFLConvention in Washington, D.C., in November, 1975. This workshop was conducted by the FLdepartment chairmen of Lufthansa and LURGI (an engineering consortium) from Frankfurt and of Esso Oil and the Vocational Rehabilitation Program from Hamburg. These department heads are members of ERFA-wirtschaft (Erfahrungsaustauschring Sprachlabor Wirtschaft), "an organization supported by some forty companies in the Federal Republic of Germany and Switzerland."2 Firms like Lufthansa, Esso, Volkswagen, IBMGermany, Swissair, Hoechst, AEG-Telefunken, and AGFA offer FL training programs to their employees, and ERFA'saim is "to further the exchange of experience and know-how among the foreign language training officers of the member companies in order to achieve the highest possible level of performance and efficiency" in their respective training programs.3 Even a cursory glance at the experiences, objectives, and accomplishments of ERFA-wirtschaft will show that they offer pertinent discussion material, which is valid for all of us. Moreover, if there is greater validity in greater numbers, ERFA-wirtschaft is also convincing: in the 40 member companies, which include two vocational rehabilitation centers in Hamburg and Heidelberg, there are currently more than ten thousand employees participating in FLtraining, and this number does not include companies which offer FL instruction but are not directly connected with ERFA. Hans Wolfgang Wolff, president of ERFA,estimates that in all of Europe well above one hundred thousand adult students are attending in-service FL courses.4 At a recent meeting of ERFA in Wuppertal, he found that 9 out of the 25 companies represented offer FL instruction during regular working hours, i.e., participation in FL instruction is considered part of the job and is paid as such. Only 1 of the 25 present offers evening classes; the rest of the companies offer FL instruction within and outside regular working hours on about a 50:50 ratio. On the basis of studies conducted in the Federal Republic of Germany, it can be shown that "foreign language teaching in English in Gymnasien is obviously not capable of fixing the elementary grammatical structures of the foreign language in the minds of the pupils and thereby avoiding the interference of German language patterns."5 As Wolff phrased it, ". . . the vast majority of the young people churned out by the State educational machine are not able to cope with the

communicative requirements of the international business world today" and, therefore, "foreign language instruction in industrial and commercial concerns helps to correct the omissions of European schools and universities in the teaching of communicative skills."6 Learning objectives for FLacquisition in industry and commerce are different from those in the school system. The emphasis is on communication skills per se, i.e., skills related directly to professional obligations. "This means that the foreign language is learned as a medium of communication, not as a means of furthering general education."7 Different, too, are the learners and the learning environment. FL learners in industry and commerce are highly motivated because of incentives like higher pay, more interesting jobs, and greater potential for professional advancement due to their new language skills. Consequently, FLlearners in industry and commerce reach their goals much faster than students in the school system, who frequently have as much as 9 years of FL instruction: "Training courses in commercial firms take 4, 6, or 12 weeks, a semester, or a year. Longer courses are subdivided into short-term sections with specific goals. This has a positive effect on the learning attitudes of the participants and allows the teacher to Well defined goals structure his course clearly and efficiently.... which are known to the learner and objective testing methods make it 12 possible to ascertain whether or not a goal has been reached."8 The efficiency demonstrated by FL programs in industry and commerce has been so convincing that they are now effecting changes in the public school system, particularly in the determination of learning goals. ERFA-wirtschaft attributes this success to the heavy use of the media (for example, in 1974 only about 50%-70% of the schools in West Germany had a language laboratory whereas 80% of the industrial concerns had one), a concentration on communication skills without concern for goals of general education, and instructors who, unlike their civil service colleagues in the school system, are hired, paid, and fired according to their performance.9 There are, to my knowledge, no studies available which would allow us to compare FL proficiency of American high school graduates to their peers in West Germany. The basic reason for a lack of accountability is, of course, that the American high school diploma does not have two FL requirements like the German diploma. However, some statistics on the FL proficiency of Americans who hold at least a B.A. degree have been accumulated by the Foreign Service Institute since 1959. These statistics show that, by and large, the median entering proficiency level in FLsamong foreign service officers has been about S-1 and S-1+, that is, elementary proficiency on a scale from 1 to 5.10 Another study conducted in 1967, which correlated the MLA

Achievement Tests to the FSI Absolute Proficiency Ratings, established that majors in French, German, and Spanish performed only with a median speaking ability of S-2 to S-2+ on the FSI scale, meaning that even our langague majors are only "able to satisfy routine social demands and limited work requirements" and are only "able to read simple prose, in a form equivalent to typescript or printing, on subjects within a familiar context."11 The Olympus Research Corporation, under the auspices of the U.S. Manpower Development and Training Office, examined post-secondary level FL study in relation to the world of work.12 The ORC surveyed 6,000 U.S. business firms of which 23% responded. These firms listed more than 60,000 jobs for which they required or desired FLskills. Many of these firms have to satisfy their FL demands by hiring Englishspeaking nationals of the country with which they are dealing. Language skills in greatest demand are Spanish, French, German, Portuguese, and Italian, in that order, followed by Arabic, Russian, Chinese, Indonesian, and others. The future for the linguistically trained student in business and technology is bright. The fact that the total value of U.S. exports has increased from $15,340.3 million in 1947 to $98,507.2 million in 1974 (about 61/2 times more) and the total value of U.S. imports has increased from $5,755.7 million in 1947 to $100,251.0 million in 197413 (about 17 times more) lends credibility to the claim that our nation needs FL skills in business and industry. Students who are fluent in a FL and graduate with a B.A. degree ought to be aware that they are sought by the several institutes in this country which offer International M.B.A. programs, and they should know that the difference in the "annual starting salary for an M.B.A. vs. a B.A. in liberal arts is approximately $4,600."14 The International Institute of the Graduate School of Management of the University of Dallas, for example, sends its students abroad to attain a prescribed FL competency. Even though such an "externship" for language training might seem to be a loss of time, Dr. Merklein, director of the Institute, argues that FL fluency is that career potential which sets the student apart "from the other 26,000-plus M.B.A. degree holders that are graduated each year in the U.S."15 Aside from industry and business, the U.S. Government is the largest employer for people with FL skills. In fiscal year 1971, the U.S. government spent around sixty million dollars for FLtraining and is still a long way off from satisfying our overseas needs for qualified FL personnel.16 The government is training about 66,000 employees annually for about 25,000 positions which require FL skills.17 In case some of our students might prefer to wait until Uncle Sam will pay for their FL training, they should know that those applicants for government employment who

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have a competence in FLs "frequently receive better pay in their very first government jobs because of their increased usefulness... . 18 In view of the obvious, ever increasing need for FL studies in business, industry, and government, the ORC study, along with other research work published in this subject area, calls for the study of FLs as an ancillary skill in every type of career preparation. This presupposes close cooperation between the FL department and other departments, especially at the college and university level. Arnett exposes, however, one basic problem in this regard which must be overcome: Unfortunatelyone of the first barriers achieve cooperation between various [to departments] lies within the ranks of language teachers themselves.... Languageteaching for the pragmaticusage implied in the world of work is seen as degradingand a betrayalof professionalorientationtoward the humanities.The obvious opportunityto perhaps lend a humanizinginfluence to the sciences, the business professions,and to futurebureaucrats, ignored.19 is No one has expressed this problem more succinctly and courageously than Richard Brod, director of Foreign Language Programs of the MLA, who, woefully aware of the dismal decline in FL student enrollments says, "To me, the lesson to be drawn from the recent history of the foreign language teaching profession is that the only way to reform language training in U.S. higher education is to break the tyranny of
literature,...

."20 While

he argues against the development

of granting

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more D.A. degrees, which Benseler, for example, sees as a possible way to achieve a much needed reform in our graduate school curricula,21 they both agree in substance: FL instruction as communication skills must be divorced from the dominion of research-oriented professors of literature. Brod advocates a clear separation between department of language and literature and "the establishment, on large campuses, of large schools or institutes whose primary purpose would be teaching of both campus and language skills-both reading and audiolingual-to the community, both 'town and gown,' for credit or for cash, as the needs and situation of each individual student determine."22 Such a separation of communication skills and literature would, in fact, provide a compromise situation which would still justify FL training at the college level for the career-minded student instead of leaving it to a more efficient on-the-job training done in industry, commerce, and government. Our profession should welcome the concept of career education in the American school system. The time has not yet come that we have compulsory FL training; America has not yet realized that "a language handicap has placed her at a unique disadvantage in the world."23 Until this time and realization come on a large scale, our profession must initiate steps to become a viable, respected force in the educational process of our society by reforming its teaching goals. Some of our distinguished colleagues have already reordered their programs. At Stanford, for example, the restructuring and conversion of the Department of Ger-

man to the Department of German Studies, mindful of the student's possible future career in international business, international law, diplomacy, translation or interpretation, has brought about a revitalization and expansion of the total program, including the teaching of literature.24 Reforming our programs in the interest and for the benefit of the student's future employability while guarding or even expanding our traditional objectives: therein lies the true challenge to our profession. I shall now propose steps toward a reformation of FLprograms by summarizing various recommendations alluded to in the foregoing report and by adding new specifics as I perceive them to be applicable. 1. Our firstattention ought to be given to a nationwideawarenessprogramwhich presents FL study, aside from its tranditional image as an enlightening, humanizingexperience,also as a valuabletrainingfor use in careers.A few cute will not do much to enhance the image of posters, buttons, or bumperstickers our profession; if anything,they trivializeit. Personally,I preferthe awareness program initiated by Judy Daugherty at North Salem High School. In conjunction with colleagues, she identifiedthe juniorhigh school careereducation courses as the best place to startpublicityfor FLprograms.Involvingas many as career education people, counselors, and administrators possible, she put Education Kit" which includes a 20together a "Foreign Language/Career and Careers," arrayof minute version of the videotape "ForeignLanguages (an on-location interviews with 16 different career representatives)the teacher manual Guidelines for the Integration of Foreign Language and Career Education (Dill, Ladd, Wollett, 1975), information on FL requirementsand placement at Oregon universities,and suggestions for the use of the kit. The declared purpose of this kit is "to demonstrateto students the practicalvalue FLcan have in broadeningand enhancing their career potential.To encourage those students not alreadyenrolled in foreignlanguagesto begin studies in that area early enough to reach optimum proficiency." 2. For inclusion in such an awareness kit and for easy accessibility for both teachers and students in each languagedepartment,I recommend a collection of succinctly written, factual articles on FLs in relation to various careers. and Besides the article by LucilleHonig and RichardBrod,"ForeignLanguages Careers"-alreadya classic, the Bulletin of the Association of Departmentsof Foreign Languagescontains a rich source of relevant articles.25 3. Providedwith factualinformation,every FLteacher can become a careercounselor. Workshopsand in-service programsto train FLteachers in career counceling must be initiated. 4. FLteacherswho are informedabout careersfor which languageproficiencyis a valuableancillaryskill have to initiatecommunication with other departments at their institutions to develop programswhich make sense to the students. with separatingthe teaching of communication skills from general 5. Experiment education objectives. Offer first- and second-year courses in communication skillsonly, while cultural,historical,social, economical, and politicalaspects of the targetlanguageare offered in optional "mini-courses"taught in English.For these additional courses, we can engage colleagues from other departments. 6. Utilize the experiences gained by the "individualizedinstruction"movement and offer self-learningpackages for different career orientations to advanced Geschafts- und Verhandstudents. The Hueber Verlag has an "Audio-Kurs" lungsspracheDeutsch ("Germanfor Business,"developed by Hans Wolfgang which lends itself well to an independent Wolff, presidentof ERFA-wirtschaft), study course on or beyond the third-yearlevel. This programconsists of 10 units with 10 tapes or cassettes of about 70 minutes each. If taught in two hours per week with about 15 minutes out-of-class work per day, it provides

material for about one year of study. Non-business majors can also profit A greatlyfrom this program. similarstudy programin French,called ParlonsAffaires, is also available. 7. Let all of us get more involved in reformingthe curriculumfor FLteacher be preparation, it for the public school certificate,the D.A., or the Ph.D. Some excellent recommendations in this regardhave been made already in articles like "National ForeignLanguagePrograms 1970's,""ProfessionalStandards for for College LanguageTeachers: Guidelines for Discussion," "StaffingForeign Language Departments in Colleges and Universities: A Tentative Draft of Criteria for Teaching and Professional Service" (all of these in the ADFL Bulletin of September,1974), "Is there Lifeafter Death? New Perspectiveson the Doctor of Arts in Foreign Language," and "Reformingthe Ph.D. on the Model of the D.A." (both in the ADFL Bulletin of May, 1975). 8. Credit hours or degrees accumulated by FLstudents are meaningless in the world of work; what counts is the student's FLproficiency.Therefore,let us facilitatecareerplacement for our students throughstandardizedexams and/or certificates. If the MLAExamsare unacceptable, let us revise them. The challenges to our profession can be met only with a more positive attitude toward the pragmatic aspect of the human experience. In our concern for humanizing our students, we must necessarily include concern for their ability to earn a living-if for no other reason than saving our credibility among other professionals. The challenge to provide practical skills can not be rationalized away with such half-truths like "English will soon be the international language anyway." Such an assumption disregards some very basic human realities. The world may be shrinking due to advances in technology, but for this very reason, more and more people are asserting their ancestral identity. Examples of this trend can be found in Africa, Asia, and in Europe. The Committee for General and Technical Education in the Council of Europe rejected the hegemony of any supra-national language and stated in its "Resolution (69) 2 on an intensified modern language teaching programme for Europe. .. that linguistic diversity is part of the European cultural heritage and it should, through the study of modern languages, provide a source of intellectual enrichment rather than be an obstacle to unity."26 Allowing for career preparation in our teaching programs will not cause a great rush of students into our classrooms. Few of today's FLstudents are studying languages for pragmatic reasons. Perhaps four years hence our career awareness programs of today will bring students to us who are truly convinced that FL proficiency will furnish them with a competitive edge for getting a job and will remain an asset in holding it. Now is the time to initiate curricular reforms as we recognize our responsibility as educators for both the physical and spiritual human being.27 Oregon State University Forconcise informationon careereducation, see EdwinL.Herr,Review and Synthesis of Foundations for CareerEducation(ERIC ClearingHouse on Vocational and Technical Information,1972).

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Con2Quoted from the introductory statement given at the FIPLV/AATG/ACTFL vention, November 25, 1975, by Hans Wolfgang Wolff, president of ERFAwirtschaft, who kindly furnished me with a copy of his paper.
31bid. 41bid.

SIbid. Wolff quoted from D. Hamblock and D. Wessels, "Ein Einstufungstest im Hochschulbereich: Bemerkungen zum gymnasialen Englischunterricht," Zielsprache Englisch, Heft 1 (1972), pp. 3-13. Quote p. 13. 6lbid. 7lbid. 81bid. 91bid. 10Allen I. Weinstein, "Foreign Language Majors: The Washington Perspective," ADFL Bulletin, 6, No. 4 (May 11, 1975), 22-23. ilbid., 23 & 20. 12RexArnett, "Languages for the World of Work: Implications of a Recent Study." This paper was read at the FIPLV/AATG/ACTFL meeting in Washington, D.C., November 29, 1975. The study had been conducted by Olympus Research Corporation, Salt Lake City, financed through a grant by the U. S. Manpower Development and Training Office via the Wyoming State Department of Education. 13U.S. Dept. of Commerce, 1973 Business Statistics, 19th Biannual Edition and Survey of Current Business, v. 56, No. 1, Part 1 (January, 1976). 14H. A. Merklein, "Languages and Business," ADFL Bulletin, 5, No. 4 (May, 1974), 8. 1SH.A. Merklein, "Multinational Corporate Perceptions of an International M.B.A. Degree," ADFL Bulletin, 6, No. 4, (May, 1975), 35. 16Weinstein, 27. '7Data presented by Ernest Wilkins (Project Director of Languages for the World of Work, Olympus Research Corp., Salt Lake City) at the ACTFLConvention, Nov. 29, 1975. 18Weinstein, 23. 19See Arnett. 20Richard Brod, "Reforming the Ph.D. on the Model of the D.A.," ADFL Bulletin, 6, No. 4 (May, 1975), 11. 21David Benseler, "Is there Life after Death? New Perspectives on the Doctor of Arts in Foreign Language," ADFL Bulletin, 6, No. 4 (May, 1975), pp 5-8. 22Brod, 11. 23Albrecht Holschuh, "Certificates in Ancillary Language Skills," ADFL Bulletin, 6, No. 4 (May, 1975), 38. 24Walter F. W. Lohnes, "Conversion and Expansion of a Department of German Studies," ADFL Bulletin, 5, No. 3 (March, 1974), 30-33. 25This booklet of 31 pages can be ordered from the Modern Language Association, 62 Fifth Avenue, New York, N.Y. 10011, for 75 cents. 26Konrad Schrbder, "Sprachunterricht, Sprachenpolitik und internationale Kommunikation," Neusser Vortrage zur Fremdsprachendidaktik, ed. Werner Hillen, Sonderdruck (Bielefeld: Cornelsen-Velhagen & Klasing, 1972), p. 141. 27A longer version of this paper was printed in the PNCFLProceedings, XXVII,Part 2 (1976).

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