Modern Languages & Literatures' intensive introductory language program is one of the striking features of the Kenyon curriculum and has received special attention in Fiske's and other college guides.
The Kenyon Intensive Language Model (KILM), which includes two hours of daily instruction, aims to immerse students in the target language and culture. The consistent use of the target language, combined with a dramatic, active, and contextual approach to learning and the opportunity to work with trained student Apprentice Teachers (ATs) in small practice sessions, facilitates the teaching of one and a half to two years of college-level language instruction in one year.
All 111-112 introductory courses are taught through KILM, an approach that compresses beginning and intermediate materials into one year. KILM classroom activities aim to dispel inhibitions and encourage communication. For intro classes, students meet daily with the professor and with an Apprentice Teacher in three or four additional weekly sessions. Apprentice Teachers, trained undergraduate students, work with a group of approximately six to eight students. Apprentice Teacher sessions are arranged when the class first meets with the professor. Some middle-level courses numbered 213-214, along with 321, meet for a fourth hour with an Apprentice Teacher.
The mission of the Kenyon Intensive Language Model is to enable students to achieve the highest level of proficiency in the shortest possible time. It places an emphasis on linguistic and cultural competencies in order of priority: speaking, listening, reading, and writing. Three factors combine to maximize the program’s efficacy:
Students develop proficiency in an intensive meeting schedule through the benefits derived from frequent student-to student and student-to-instructor interaction and the lower anxiety that comes with small classes and peer instruction.
Faculty train advanced language students and native speakers as peer teachers to expose learners to different levels and registers of the language. Learners work with peer instructors and each other to increase their oral proficiency.
This higher level of language proficiency is instrumental in one of the College’s goals: it will give students a foundation to do research in other classes (in other languages, etc.) and to achieve cultural competency.