Language Schools

All basic foreign language teaching takes place in one of the schools for undergraduate education. There are a total of eight undergraduate education schools, some of which teach multiple languages. Additionally, there are half a dozen organizations and divisions which support the ongoing undergraduate and continuing education programs.

Each school is headed by a civilian dean, who is responsible for planning and implementing assigned programs in foreign language training and curriculum development, implementing academic and administrative policy, and managing the school’s annual manpower and budget allocations. An associate dean, who is a senior military officer, provides counsel and assistance to the dean, monitors student progress, and directs the school’s Military Language Instructor Program.

Each school is composed of departments, in which instruction of individual foreign languages takes place. Each department is headed by a civilian chairperson, who is responsible for the instructional program, manages the assigned instructors and staff, and oversees foreign language education and the faculty development process. Instructors, organized into teams, are responsible for teaching classes, evaluating student performance, and developing and maintaining course materials.

Intermediate and advanced foreign language teaching takes place in the Continuing Education Directorate.

DLIFLC’s Undergraduate Education Directorate houses three Middle East resident basic course schools. The student population consists of all four branches of the U.S. Armed Services and members sponsored by the DoD and Department of State.

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Middle East language students listen to their instructor during an in class assignment. (Photo by Natela Cutter, DLIFLC Public Affairs)

Middle East Schools I, II, and III are responsible for 64-weeks of instruction in Modern Standard Arabic (MSA) in the Egyptian, Iraqi, Levantine and Sudanese dialects. Dialects are taught from the beginning in the classroom, along with one to two hours of foundational MSA each day. Additionally, instructors teach culture, customs, religion, geography, and socio-economic conditions of the countries students are learning about.

A key component of DLIFLC’s success in teaching foreign language so effectively is the highly educated faculty who are motivated to teach their language and culture to American students. The instructors, 98 percent of whom are native speakers of the language they teach, take great pride in preparing students each year to perform during DLIFLC’s annual open house in May called Language Day. Several thousand visitors come to the event from all over Northern California and beyond.

In addition to the first-class international staff, DLIFLC supplements the unique learning experience at the institute  with state-of-the-art technology such as interactive whiteboards called SMART Boards™, while students are issued MacBook Pro® computers and iPads®™ for use in class and at home. DLIFLC further enhances the learning environment with the implementation of overnight immersions from one to two days at a time off campus. The students are completely immersed in the target language and culture as they carry out real-life situation scenarios which range from negotiations at a border crossing, haggling at an open market for goods, to making hotel reservations over the telephone. To enhance this experience the faculty and staff dress in traditional garb, prepare foreign cuisines, and, most importantly, only speak in the target language.

Select students are afforded the opportunity to further their understanding of a foreign language by their participation in the overseas immersion program. About 15 percent of students go abroad for approximately 30 days to study their language at a foreign university and tour the various sites of that country. Selection is made on the basis of student scores, and recommendations of the teaching team and military unit.

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An Air Force Chinese Mandarin student participates in one of the many immersion programs designed for students to better understand the languages they are learning. (Photo by Gary Harrington, DLIFLC Public Affairs)

DLIFLC’s Undergraduate Education Directorate houses two Asian resident basic course schools. The students not only obtain high proficiency in their newly acquired languages, but also become knowledgeable about the culture of their target language countries. The student population consists of all four branches of the U.S. military, and select individuals sponsored by DoD or the Department of State.

Asian Language Schools are responsible for teaching the 64-week basic course for Chinese, Japanese, Korean and Tagalog.

The Asian Schools support DoD’s languages acquisition mission by employing highly educated native speakers as instructors who not only teach language, but also bring traditional Asian culture to the classroom such as music, dress, dance, food, religion, history, literature, and the arts into the adult learning environment. The Asian Schools use DLIFLC’s instructor/student ratio of two instructors to six students.

In addition to the first class international staff, DLIFLC supplements the unique learning experience at the Institute  with state-of-the-art technology such as interactive whiteboards called SMART Boards™, MacBook Pro® computers, and iPads®. DLIFLC further enhances the learning environment with the implementation of overnight immersions from one to two days at a time off campus. The students are completely immersed in the target language and Asian culture as they carry out real-life situation scenarios which range from negotiations at a border crossing, haggling at an open market for goods, to making hotel reservations over the telephone. To enhance this experience the faculty and staff dress in traditional garb, prepare and cook Asian cuisine, and, most importantly, only speak in the target language.

Select students are afforded the opportunity to further their understanding of the Asian language by their participation in the overseas immersion program. A select number of students go abroad for approximately 30 days to study their language at a foreign university and tour the various sites of that country. Selection is made on the basis of student scores and recommendations of their teaching team and military unit superiors.

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Korean language students perform the Korean Fan Dance at Language Day 2014 on the Presidio of Monterey. (Photo by Gary Harrington)

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European and Latin American School’s new home is now known as “Cook Hall,” in memory of Medal of Honor recipient, Marine Corps Col. Donald G. Cook. (Photo by Gary Harrington, DLIFLC Public Affairs)

Diversity characterizes the European and Latin American Language School. The language programs include four category I languages, one category II language, and three category III languages. These categories represent significant linguistic and program differences.

Diversity is present in the scripts used in various languages. French, Portuguese, Spanish and German use the Latin alphabet and Russian uses the Cyrillic alphabet. Serbian/Croatian students learn both Cyrillic and Latin. Hebrew uses a consonant-based script.

The UEL diversity is present in the length of the programs. Students in Category I languages study for 26 weeks, those in a category II language study 36 weeks, and those in category III languages study 47 weeks. Regardless of the length of the course, all students are expected to reach the same levels of proficiency in listening, reading and speaking.

The type of curriculum varies by language at UEL. Russian, Spanish and Serbian/Croatian students work with DLIFLC-produced curriculum. French, Portuguese, and Hebrew students use commercial books in early semesters but depend on teacher-generated resources based on authentic materials for the third semester.

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UEL students participate in class activities while their instructor looks on. (Photo by Natela Cutter, DLIFLC Public Affairs)

Commonalities run throughout the seven UEL language programs, which have been part of DLIFLC’s history for many decades. Although there are many recently hired employees, each language program at UEL has faculty members with decades of DLIFLC teaching experience. The combination of new and seasoned faculty results in dynamic growth that benefits from lessons learned in the past and new ideas from outside DLIFLC.

Effective leveraging of technology can be found in all UEL programs. All classrooms include interactive whiteboards known as SMART Boards ™. Students are issued MacBook Pro® laptops and iPads® for classroom use and at home.

All UEL students participate in language immersion in their daily classroom experiences and in special events. Off campus overnight immersions allow students to participate in real-life scenarios that require using the language learned to solve problems. Faculty and students enjoy music, songs, foods, and games found in the culture. Groups of students in some programs attend month-long overseas immersions.

The greatest commonality amongst all UEL programs is the resolute commitment to produce high proficiency linguists who become life-long students of the language and culture.

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Persian Farsi students perform a Persian dance during Language Day 2014 at the Presidio of Monterey. (Photo by Steven L. Shepard, PoM Public Affairs)

The Undergraduate Persian Farsi School teaches language by employing highly educated native speakers as instructors. In addition to the first-class international staff, DLIFLC supplements the unique learning experience at the institute with state-of-the-art technology such as interactive whiteboards called SMART Boards ™, MacBook Pro® laptops, and iPads®. The school uses DLIFLC’s instructor/student ratio of two instructors to six students.

DLIFLC further enhances the learning environment with experiential learning lasting from one to two days at a time, conducted off campus. The students are completely immersed in the target language and Persian culture as they carry out real-life situation scenarios which range from negotiations at a border crossing, haggling at an open market for goods, to making hotel reservations over the telephone. To enhance this experience the faculty and staff dress in traditional garb, prepare and cook Persian dishes, and, most importantly, only speak in the target language.

A key component of DLIFLC’s success in teaching foreign language so effectively is the highly educated faculty who are motivated to teach their language and culture to American students. The instructors, 98 percent of whom are native speakers of the language they teach, take great pride in preparing students each year to perform during DLIFLC’s annual open house in May called Language Day. Students are taught how to sing, dance, and perform skits in the target language for stage performances that last from 10:00 am to 3 pm. Several thousand visitors come to the event from all over Northern California and beyond.

The Multi Language School was created by expanding the former Emerging Languages Task Force. The mission of the Emerging Languages Task Force (ELTF) was to provide a rapid response in establishing new language programs in low-density languages in support of DoD’s pressing needs for the war on terror.

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A Middle East instructor reviews the work of one of his students. (Photo by Gary Harrington, DLIFLC Public Affairs)

DLIFLC set up the ELTF shortly after September 11, 2001 in response DoD requirements for language capability in certain less-commonly taught languages. The department was originally named the Operation Enduring Freedom Task Force, then later renamed to the Global War on Terrorism Task Force.

Currently the school teaches Dari, Hindi, Indonesian, Pashto, Turkish, and Urdu.

All classrooms are equipped with interactive whiteboards, called SMART Board™, and students are issued MacBook Pro® laptops and iPads®.

Languages taught in the Multi Language School fall under category III and IV, except for Indonesian, which is classified as a category II language, extending over 36 weeks of active instruction.