What language did you study in college?
Chances are, we can guess within three tries: French, Spanish or German. This small handful of popular languages attract most of the enrollments and take most of the educational resources, making instruction in Less Commonly Taught Languages (LCTLs) difficult to sustain, says Angelika Kraemer, director of the Language Resource Center in the College of Arts and Sciences (A&S). As she writes in a new book on the topic she’s co-edited, LCTLs make up less than 25% of enrollments in world language courses in higher education in the U.S.
In the collection “Sharing Less Commonly Taught Languages in Higher Education: Collaboration and Innovation,” Kraemer and other scholars of language instruction highlight how institutions, programs, and LCTL instructors can collaborate and think across institutional boundaries to strengthen language offerings.
Contributors also show how innovation and reform can make LCTL programs and courses more attractive to students whose interests and needs might be overlooked in traditional language programs. Cornell leads in some of these innovations; as part of the Shared Course Initiative (SCI), which is described in the book, Cornell is modeling collaborative ways of maximizing resources for LCTL instruction.