We understand the idea behind five-day language classes: more time in class offers more time to learn and should help students.
However, that is not the reality. Ranging from Arabic to Spanish, some low-level language classes, which are required in some cases, are offered from Monday through Friday.
These classes are prerequisites to fulfill students’ language requirements if they cannot test out, and are therefore inescapable.
Language requirements themselves are helpful; they broaden students minds’ and allow students insight into other cultures. In our increasingly global society, the ability to speak multiple languages can only be a good thing.
However, the way in which language requirements are handled at Baylor is not conducive to learning these skills.
The class-every-other-day schedule allows students time in which to prepare assignments and memorize facts, both of which are necessary to acquiring the ability to speak another language.
Having class every day does not offer students that same time in which to study and improve and virtually guarantees that if they fall behind, they will not be able to catch up.
There is simply not enough time between each class for students, even good students, to prepare.
Language classes, especially low-level ones, require hours of practice and study time so that students can master the skills they need to learn the language. However, having a class every day sets a faster pace, which is not always conducive to good learning.
Because time is so tight — don’t forget, in addition to the time students must spend practicing language, they must also complete requirements for their other classes and work if they hold jobs — students don’t have the time they need to learn things right the first time, but must rush through homework and practice to try and be prepared for the next day.
This quick, unrelenting pace is more stressful than it is helpful to students struggling to stay on top.
It seems that spending more time with the language would help the student learn the language better. Instead of just trying to get through, students could focus on skills and review, instead of quick mastery.
Far from helping students, these classes can hurt them. Even with an excellent professor, students may struggle to keep up due to the workload and pace.
Why waste an invaluable opportunity — the ability to learn another language — by rushing students through? If Baylor really wants students to learn, instead of just wanting to prove their ability to memorize quickly, they should give students a day in between each class.
Baylor should re-evaluate the way it approaches language prerequisite classes in order to assure that students really are building the foundation necessary to learn a new language and not just rushing through their classes to keep up.