High Stakes

The students are desperate to know if they can pass the course and how much work it will or will not take. What easier work can they substitute for the required work, they ask.

The instructors are desperate to teach in as expedient a way as they can. This is so they can avoid considering research in second language acquisition, teach the maximum number of courses, make the maximum amount of money, and have the maximum amount of time to themselves.

The tenured faculty are desperate to conserve time for other courses, research, and administrative work. They feel a professional responsibility to teach this course “right,” but at the same time know that this cannot be done one hundred percent.

The assistant professors know they will be observed and judged as to whether they are teaching modern, well run language courses. They are desperate to get the students functioning in such courses so that when observation day comes, their courses will be running well.

Four groups are participating and each group has its own requirements and goals. These do not necessarily coincide, yet all are high stakes. That is why there is so much conflict and stress, and that is why the foreign language program is so riddled with strife.


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