The population to be served, is an elite but very important group of students1 who possess
ILR Level 3 (ACTFL Superior) FL proficiency and want to reach ILR Level 4 (ACTFL
Distinguished/“near-native”) FL, for whom currently existing materials are insufficient. The goal is
to fill this gap in the area of studying culture through language. The materials, while meant to be
used by teachers in a classroom, will take into account that many students at the superior level are
teacher-less and have become good independent language learners. There is also a possibility that
these materials are likely to have a washback effect on the teaching of foreign language at lower
levels of proficiency, and some of the materials, e.g., some socio-cultural components, could
possibly be introduced in an adapted form as early as ILR Level 2, or the advanced level2.
As previously stated, this template is the third component of the project “Development of
Integrated Four-Skill Workbooks in Russian for Students Studying toward Distinguished-Language
Proficiency, with a Generic Template for Other Languages.” The fist two components of the project are
the Russian Socio-cultural Workbook and the Russian Sociolinguistic Workbook. The choice of the
Russian language is explained by several reasons. Russian continues to be an important language for
the United States; its inclusion in this project as a strategic language underscores this. For the purpose
of this proposal, however, the strategic importance of Russian is less important than the fact that there is
more expertise in teaching Russian at high levels than in any other language field. Already during the
Cold War, high-level Russian language programs began within the US government as at that time
study abroad was very limited and the classroom was the only option for achieving distinguished levels
of proficiency. We want to harness this expertise, concretize it, and share it in a form that allows others
1 The majority of students who have reached superior level of language proficiency are professionals who use the target language in a job-related environments on a regular basis. The only group of university students who may have superior level are heritage speakers.
2 Field testing of the developed materials with students who had levels of proficiency from ILR Levels 2 to 3+ showed that it is difficult for students with levels lower than ILR Level 3 to master the chosen components of SCC and SLC without significant simplification and adaptation of the language materials and exercises.