The CDLC serves as a clearinghouse and facilitator for collaboration for its affiliates, who are working on their own individual projects or on collaborative projects. At times, the CDLC, through its headquarters staff or with the help of affiliates, takes on projects with specific deliverables.
The CLDC also serves as the repository and, in most cases, mirror site for archiving resource materials, research results, and information collected as parts of comprehensive efforts.
Workbooks for Students Studying Toward the Distinguished Level
In 2006, the Department of Education funded a CDLC proposal to develop integrated four-skills workbooks in Russian for students studying toward the distinguished level of proficiency. The project included as well a generic template that can be used to design workbooks for other languages. In addition to the template, two workbooks were developed: a sociocultural workbook and a sociolinguistic workbook. The workbooks were field-tested at several institutions and evaluated by leaders in the field. They are available, thanks to DOE funding, for public use.
Level 4 Study
- Define Distinguished Language Proficiency in terms of behavior, knowledge, competence, performance, cross-cultural sensitivity, and other characteristics.
- Identify the strategies that have most successfully helped learners of various learning styles acquire Level 4 proficiency.
- Identify the range of ways (and accompanying lengths of time) in which Level 4 proficiency has been successfully achieved.
- Determine the most effective and efficient teaching methods for helping students to achieve Level 4 proficiency, beginning with bridging the Level 2+/3 chasm and refining linguistic and sociolinguistic competence through the Level 3-4 continuum
This Level 4 Study to date has had several components and several proponents. In 2001, a preliminary study on the development of speaking skills was conducted by the National Foreign Language Center, with the assistance of the Defense Language Institute and the SDSU ADLP Center Director. A partial analysis of early results of that study has been published by Leaver and Atwell in a collected articles volume, Developing Professional-Level Language Proficiency (Cambridge University Press, 2002). In 2003, fuller results were published in Achieving Nativelike Second Language Proficiency: A Catalogue of Critical Factors: Volume 1: Speaking .
In 2004, the Jordan Consortium, an affiliate of the CDLC, received a grant from the National Council of Teachers of English's CCCC initiative to conduct similar research about writing skills. The first information about this research was published in volume 3 of the Journal for Distinguished Language Centers.
Cultural Communication Skills Database
In 1997, four templates of cultural behaviors and cross-cultural communication were produced through extensive research of published sources, focus groups of experts, and in-depth interviews with both American and native carriers of the culture. The cost of these templates was underwritten by the Army Research Institute; the production and publication of the templates was carried out under the aegis of the North Carolina Center for World Languages and Cultures. The templates addressed four cultures-Koreans, Russians, Spanish-Speaking Cubans, and West Asian Arabs-and won the 1997 International Society for Performance Improvement award for best research design. They detail more than 400 behaviors associated with each of these cultures.
Plans by CDLC affiliates call for the development of new templates, the fleshing out of the current templates into searchable databases of cultural behaviors, and the preparation of learning and teaching materials on the basis of the emergent databases. Individual institutions are working in differing geographic and cultural arenas.
Ultimately, the dabatases will be bilingual. They will be housed at the individual institutions and reachable by link from the CDLC website, which will provide a summative catalog of efforts in this area. These databases can be wonderful resources for the learner and teacher at Level 4.