What to expect from Foreign language courses in DU

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Foreign language courses are a great way to begin learning a whole new language or to sharpen your existing linguistic skills. The University of Delhi offers many such part-time courses in a lot of colleges across its two campuses. 

While our previous article covers all the nitty-gritty details of these courses and colleges, this article takes a deeper look into the experience of these classes — which is subjective to my time at the Hansraj College in doing a Certificate (beginner) course in French. 

EXPERIENCING THE ADMISSION PROCEDURE

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The admission process during the pre-COVID was offline. This year the college websites have uploaded notices with a link to google forms that record the applicant’s details.

KEEPING CHECK OF NEW NOTICES

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After successfully completing the admission process, the administration of the chosen college will put up notices on their websites regarding the commencement of the course. It is easy to miss the commencement date if you don’t manually verify the details, so be careful! 

TEACHING METHODS IN CLASSES

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Professors are subjective in how they conduct their classes. However, most language courses may see either of the two common methods of teaching:

  • DIRECT LESSON PLANS – These professors follow traditional teaching methods. The units in the syllabus are the core structure of their lectures. For example – grammatical sections will be covered by strict compartmentalization according to the textbook or the curriculum.
  • FLUID LESSON PLANS – These professors teach language in a less traditional way where the language is taught by a hands-on-basis where basic communication skills coupled with theoretical grammar is the core of the lecture.

The duration of the classes is usually for 2 hours on alternative days in the evening (or mornings on weekends in some colleges). Usually, students are not given a choice on the alternate days of their classes since batches are split according to roll numbers. 

However, a request letter addressed to the principal of the college can be written to transfer to the batch(or alterative days) of your preference . 

CLASHING TIMETABLES

If you’re already as an undergraduate student in DU, language courses can clash with the regular classes — usually Generic Electives (GE) or Tutorials. These discrepancies can even happen if your main and part-time course is in the same college.

THE PATTERN OF EXAMINATIONS — Annual testing mode

Exams in foreign languages are held annually. Students are evaluated at the end of the term by the following parameters:

  • Comprehension Passages are given in the examination paper, where Multiple Choice Questions like True or False assess your comprehension abilities. 
  • Grammar Section assesses your grammatical concepts depending on the level of your course (Certificate, Diploma, Advanced).
  • Cultural Section assesses the lifestyle, ethnic, historical knowledge of the chosen language.

DEMOGRAPHIC DIVERSITY IN CLASSROOMS

The demographics of students in language courses are starkly different from regular undergraduate courses. Language students range from regular college teenagers to housewives or people working in corporate settings — its a very different but refreshing environment.

Some other tips and tricks 

  • Regularity in classes – Learning a new language can be really overwhelming–don’t make it tougher by skipping lectures. Professors help a lot with enunciations and being in touch with the classes help make the language seem less foreign! Announcements for important things like Admit cards can be missed if you’re irregular in classes too which may bar your eligibility to give exams.
  • If you’re already in a college on the DU campus, taking a language course from the same college is a lot cheaper.
  • Certifications from the Embassy of the country whose language you are learning can also be a great way to build your skills, Résumé and contacts.

Lastly, don’t limit yourself to the classroom — branch out! Translation classes, foreign language events in embassies and apps like Duolingo make learning a new language a lot more fun. A lot of open resources are available online to supplement language students so keep an eye out for them too. Happy learning!

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Vanshika Yadav
She is currently studying English Literature from the Hansraj College, University of Delhi. Read her other writings at www.vanshikayadav.in

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