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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.


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