Korean instructors bring real life experience to classroom

Korean instructors bring real life experience to classroom

By Natela Cutter MONTEREY, Calif. – Nearly 20 years ago, two young linguists bumped into each other at Army’s Yongsan installation in Seoul, Korea, during a competition then known as the “Language Olympics,” a fun event that military linguists from all over the world would vie to compete in. Little did they know, after a full career as military linguists they would find themselves working together again, as Korean language instructors at the Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center, employed at almost the exact same time and in the same office as civilian faculty members. “Back then, I was a Command Language Program Manager and we all supported the brigade command at Yongsang,” said Joosik Choi, sporting a red bow tie and a broad smile. As a CLPM manager, Choi’s duties included taking care of career linguists under his supervision, but also tending to much of the sensitive analysis work that involved using high level Korean. Both instructors joined the military in the early 1990s, deployed several times, and became warrant officers before retiring. “I enlisted in the Army from Texas in 1992 and then went on to do various jobs, including working at DLIFLC as a Military Language Instructor from 2001 to 2003,” said Young Shin, who retired in 2014. The experience gained in the field and as an instructor, in the case of Shin, is invaluable in the classroom, the benefits of which are yet to be seen; Choi and Shin just began their civilian teaching careers this spring. “We know how language is used to do their jobs,” explained Shin. “I can give students the right...
Advice from the wise: don’t cram on the test

Advice from the wise: don’t cram on the test

By Natela Cutter MONTEREY, Calif. – Every Tuesday morning, Command Sgt. Maj. Thomas Donehue heads for the Tin Barn, a 1950s building on the Presidio of Monterey, where new students in-process and start the first day of their journey to becoming military linguists by mastering one of the 17 languages taught at the Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center. “If there is one thing I want you to remember, and there are many, you have to know that you can’t cram on the tests here,” said Donehue, to an incoming group of students from all four branches of the service. “I have gone through DLI three times, and know a few things,” he said to the group of about 30 incoming students ranging from recent high school graduates to seasoned officers. With service members coming in every Tuesday to begin their 36 to 64 week course in a foreign language, and graduation that takes place every Thursday, Donehue has a tough job of looking at the requirements in the field, assessing what is happening with the academic teaching side, and making sure that all elements work together to produce service members ready and capable of providing critical information to their commanders for national security needs. “I understand the unique role which a linguist plays in providing intelligence.  This capability requires a lot of hard work and dedication while studying at DLI, and more importantly, they must embrace the concept of being a life-long learner of the language,” said Donehue in a separate interview. As an Arabic and Persian Farsi linguist, Donehue has a habit of poking around the eight...
Provost award may open many doors

Provost award may open many doors

By Natela Cutter MONTEREY, Calif. – As fate would have it, Airman 1st class James Jacobson ended up emulating his father, by going to the same school and studying the same language in Monterey, California, some 23 years later. But on this occasion, Jacobson junior walked off with a Provost award, given to those who have outstanding scores and are in superb academic standing upon graduation. His score on the Persian Farsi Defense Language Proficiency Test was a Level 3 in Listening and Reading, and a Level 2 in speaking. Only about five percent of students attain this level of proficiency in Persian Farsi. “No matter what happens, I always try my best. The idea is to devise a plan, set a framework, have strong moral values, and treat others with respect….and you will succeed. This is what I focused on… If one door closes, another will open,” said Jacobson, who also welcomed a new baby on the first day of school last year. Asked if his father had something to do with his decision to become a linguist, Jacobson said that he always wanted to be able to discuss the details of his father’s job, but couldn’t. “Now we can swap a few stories,” said Glenn Jacobson, with a broad smile, admitting that his son graduated with better scores than him but that his skills improved as he continued his linguist career, flying SOUTHCOM missions, becoming an officer, and working in several foreign countries.  “I was able to use my Persian with the Kurds and in Afghanistan, using Dari,” he explained. Both admitted that living in Turkey, Japan...
Meet the latest TRADOC NCO Instructor of the Year

Meet the latest TRADOC NCO Instructor of the Year

Face to Face There’s an Arab proverb: “Learn a language, and you’ll avoid a war.” Each day when Staff Sgt. Alex Rababah wakes up at 4am, he reminds himself of the importance of his job as an instructor at the Defense Language Institute at the Presidio of...
DLIFLC reaffirms accreditation for seven more years

DLIFLC reaffirms accreditation for seven more years

By Natela Cutter MONTEREY, Calif. – The Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges, Western Association of Schools and Colleges acted to reaffirm the Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center’s accreditation for another seven years in early June. In a letter to the commandant of the institute, members of the ACCJC/WASC stated that the decision was made during their June 6-8 meeting where members reviewed DLIFLC’s Institutional Self Evaluation Report and evidentiary materials. This information was augmented by a peer review team that conducted an onsite visit March 5-8, in order to prepare an External Evaluation Team Report. “The team found the Institute to be in compliance with ACCJC Eligibility Requirements, Commission Policies, and U.S. Department of Education regulations. The team found a number of innovative, student-centered, and effective programs and practices and thus issued a number of commendations to the Institute,” stated the External Evaluation Report, prepared by Dr. Jill Sterns. The core purpose of accreditation is to assure the public that institutions are meeting specific standards to achieve their stated educational mission. “I am extremely pleased that our institute’s regional accreditation was reaffirmed.  The reaffirmation process is rigorous and the outstanding results confirms the quality of foreign language education that we provide to our service members,” said DLIFLC Provost Dr. Robert Savukinas. The final report included seven commendations: Extremely clear mission that drives planning; strong student learning and achievement – focused programs with program-level learning outcomes; Sensing Sessions for student feedback; holistic student support, including Military Language Instructors as essential support for students; professional development opportunities for faculty and staff; shared governance structures and practices; and the Board...
Happy birthday, U.S. ARMY!

Happy birthday, U.S. ARMY!

The U.S. Army was founded on June 14, 1775, when the Continental Congress authorized enlistment of riflemen to serve the United Colonies for one year. The 14 June date is when Congress adopted “the American continental army” after reaching a consensus position in The Committee of the...
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