Course Goals and Expectations

Foundation Seminar Learning Goals

Through this foundation seminar students will investigate and discuss the central inter-relationship of language, discourse and culture. Students will examine how language reflects cultural expectations for both linguistic and non-linguistic behavior. Students will learn that how we do things with words affects inter-cultural communication, an increasingly vital skill to learn in our globalized and localized world. Through this introductory examination of the philosophy of language, pragmatics (language use) and an exploration of the relationship between language and culture in both English and in a target culture, students will learn how to navigate cultural and linguistic difference.

  • Students will develop writing, reading, speaking, listening, and information literacy skills necessary for collegiate-level academic work.
  • Students will develop capacities for independent academic work and become more accountable for their own learning.

The goals of this foundation seminar are in full accord with the pedagogical goals of foundation seminars in general, namely, to prepare students for their college experience in an academic, pedagogical, and personal sense. While reading assignments, class discussions and interactive projects will promote active and collaborative learning, there will also be a variety of assignments (short papers, reading responses and shorter research projects) that will develop students’ academic rigor and intellectual responsibility. In addition, the seminar will increase students’ awareness of how language affects their interactions with the world. This course offers students the opportunity to begin working in such areas as language and cognition, language and power, bilingualism, language and identity, language and gender, language and Computer Mediated Communication, using some of the tools of Digital Humanities.

The topic of this seminar will also provide the participants with ample opportunities for productive and informed reflection on issues in language and community, language and discourse and the possibility of translingual and transcultural communication, thus stressing the students’ ability to operate not only in English but also in a chosen target language.



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