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An Eighteenth-Century French Literature Course and
Linguistic Competence: Surveying Classroom Dynamics

Bonnie Arden Robb


1. Cf. the results of a survey of upper-level Spanish students in which two thirds of the students said that their primary reason for taking upper-division Hispanic studies courses was "to learn the Spanish language." Frank Graziano of Connecticut College, who conducted the survey not only at his own institution, but also at American University, City College of New York, Colby, Gettysburg, Johns Hopkins, NYU, Villanova, and Yale, noted the prevalence of students' insistence that they needed "more high-level grammar / language classes," "more intensive conversational practice for advanced speakers," "more courses on just learning the language," "less literature."

2. My survey was also administered to the graduate students in the class, but their data are not reported here.

3. There were 15 respondents in all surveys included here.

4. In recognition of the important pedagogical implications of their research, Donato and Brooks received the ACTFL-MLJ Paul Pimsleur Award for Research in Foreign Language Education.

5. The use of this and other rubrics is currently part of an E-Portfolio project we are developing for implementation in our Foreign Language Teacher Education Program. The e-portfolio is being designed not only as a tool for faculty assessment of student learning, but also as a means of providing students with regular feedback that will help them to reflect on and track their own progress.

6. I wish to express my thanks to Sandra McVey of UD IT User Services for her assistance with the design of my poster and to my students for permitting the use of our class photo.


Donato, Richard and Frank Brooks. "Literary Discussions and Advanced Speaking Functions: Researching the (Dis) Connection." Foreign Languages Annals 37.2 (May 2004): 183–99. Print.

Graziano, Frank. "Hispanic Studies Must Reform to Stave Off Obsolescence." Chronicle of Higher Education. Web. 1 June 2011.

Scott, Virginia. "An Applied Linguist in the Literature Classroom." French Review 74.3 (February 2001): 538–49. Print.

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