Critical Transitions

Critical Transitions: From the Basic Language Sequence to Upper-Level Cultural and Literary Studies

By Mariana Bono and Gorka Bilbao Terreros

Whether hailed as a pivotal document that set nation-wide standards for language programs and departments or criticized for its lack of specifics regarding how to implement its recommendations, the 2007 MLA Report on foreign languages in higher education issued a powerful diagnosis of the state of language instruction in American colleges and universities. Ten years after its publication, its relevance remains unchallenged, but how much has actually changed? This article aims to answer this question by discussing programmatic and pedagogical reforms implemented in the Spanish Language Program at Princeton University that attempt to bridge the curricular disconnect and overcome the utilitarian, essentialist approach to language education decried in the MLA Report and in the scholarship produced since its publication (Walther; Maxim; Paesani). It also introduces a recent university-wide proposal to require foreign language instruction for all students, regardless of existing proficiency (Dolan et al.), an initiative in line with the Report’s call to expand and reinforce language studies across the humanities and the social sciences. We focus on advanced language courses (200-level), which are critically positioned to ensure a successful transition from the early stages of language education to upper-level cultural and literary studies.

Find it here: coming soon!

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