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Students and Instructors of Languages at Community Colleges (SILCC) Surveys: Results from the Instructor Surveys, Fall 2015

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Abstract

What motivates students to study language at the community college level? What are the linguistic, academic and demographic profiles of community college language students? To answer these questions, the Language at the Community College Nexus project at the Center for Integrated Language Communities administered surveys to students and instructors of languages other than English at community colleges in Fall 2015. 1,756 students and 140 instructors at 101 different community colleges in 33 states across the U.S. completed the surveys. The following report presents results from the student surveys.
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Students and Instructors of Languages at
Community Colleges (SILCC) Surveys:
Results from the Instructor Surveys, Fall 2015
Language at the Community College Nexus,
Center for Integrated Language Communities
Eric Ketcham, Tomonori Nagano, and Alexander Funk
May 2017
This project is funded in part by a U.S. Department of Education Title VI Language Resource Center Grant
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Suggested Citation
Ketcham, E., Nagano, T., & Funk, A. (2017). Students and Instructors of Languages at Community Colleges (SILCC)
Surveys: Results from the Instructor Surveys, Fall 2015. Retrieved from www.cilc.gc.cuny.edu/lccn
Table of Contents
About the SILCC Instructor Surveys . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
3
Survey Methods . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
4
Findings
The Course . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
6
Teaching Methods, Materials, and Resources . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
14
Instructor Perceptions of the Students and the Institution . . . . . . . . . .
18
Motivations, Education, Experiences, and Professional Development .
23
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3
About the SILCC Instructor Surveys
Who teaches languages other than English at community colleges? What methods and materials do they use?
What challenges do they face? What experiences do they bring with them? Why do they choose to teach language?
To answer these questions, the Language at the Community College Nexus project at the Center for Integrated
Language Communities administered surveys to students and instructors of languages other than English at community
colleges in Fall 2015. 1,756 students and 140 instructors at 101 different community colleges in 33 states across the U.S.
completed the surveys. The following report presents results from the instructor surveys.
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4
Survey Methods
Starting with a list of 831 Community Colleges affiliated with the American Association of Community Colleges
(AACC), email addresses of instructors of languages other than English were manually gathered from public websites of
each two-year school during the Spring and Summer of 2015. The survey development team searched for a department
of “modern” or “foreign” language, or “humanities,” on each school website. The team also searched for instructors of
languages other than English through school directories when possible to identify instructors who taught languages in
non-language related departments, such as a Business Department offering Spanish for Business. A total of 3,174 email
addresses were collected.
An email requesting participation in the Students and Instructors of Languages at Community Colleges (SILCC)
surveys was sent to all 3,174 instructors found with contact information. Participation consisted of completing an
instructor survey and administering a student survey to the students of one section of an in-person course taught in Fall
2015. Out of the 3,174 emails sent, 226 were returned as an incorrect or outdated email address. Of the remaining
2,948 instructors contacted, 174 agreed to participate and provided information on the course(s) they taught in Fall
2015, and were mailed a packet of surveys. 151 instructors returned packets of surveys to the researchers. A total of 140
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valid instructor surveys and 1,756 valid student surveys were collected from 150 courses at 101 community colleges in 33
states.
Instructors who agreed to participate were asked for the names of the courses they were teaching during the Fall
2015 semester and the number of students enrolled in each section. For instructors teaching more than one course, a
course was randomly selected for them from their list of courses in which to administer the survey to the students and
about which to answer questions on the instructor survey. Paper surveys were mailed to instructors who agreed to
participate in the study. One copy of the instructor survey and a number of student surveys corresponding to the size of
the class enrollment were included in the packet, along with a return envelope for the completed surveys. Although
response rates to online surveys may be higher than to paper surveys among community college students*, the research
team was logistically unable to conduct online surveys without collecting the identities and email addresses of students
in the selected course sections. The research team also believed that group-administering surveys in class would likely
yield higher response rates than requesting students to complete the surveys outside of class. Instructors who completed
the surveys received a $50 gift certificate as compensation for organizing the administration of surveys and coordinating
the receipt and return of survey packets.!
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*!Sax,!L.!J.,!Gilmartin,!S.!K.,!Lee,!J.!J.!&!Hagedorn!L.!S.!(2008).!Using!web!surveys!to!reach!community!college!students:!An!analysis!of!
response!rates!and!response!bias.!Community)College)Journal)of)Research)and)Practice,)32,)712-729.!
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The Course
SILCC Instructor Survey Question #1
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7
What language are you teaching in this course?
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Spanish comprised just over half of Spanish classes taught in the sample.
Spanish
56%
French
11%
Japanese
8%
Italian
6%
Chinese
6%
German
6% ASL
3%
Arabic
1%
Portuguese
1%
Latin
1%
Hebrew
1%
SILCC Instructor Survey Question #2
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8
!
What is the level of this course?
!
!
!
The vast majority of courses were at the introductory level.
SILCC Instructor Survey Question #3
!
9
Does this course have an additional focus or specialization?
!
!
!
While a small proportion of courses had a particular focus, 87% did not.
Literature
1%
Heritage Language
5%
Other
7%
No special focus
87%
SILCC Instructor Survey Question #4
!
10
To the best of your knowledge, how many students are enrolled in this course?
19.2
!
!
!
!
The!mean!class!size!was!19.2!students.
SILCC Instructor Survey Question #11
!
11
How would you describe the primary focus of this course?
Please choose only one.
!
!
!
More!than!9!out!of!10!courses!focused!on!linguistic!competence!over!(inter)cultural!competence,!when!instructors!were!forced!to!
choose!one!main!focus!for!the!course.
Linguistic
Competence
92%
(Inter)cultural
Competence
1% Other
7%
SILCC Instructor Survey Question #12
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12
Which modalities do you emphasize more in pursuing the learning objectives of
this course? Please choose only one.
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When forced to choose a main modality emphasized in the course, 71% of instructors reported listening and speaking
over reading and writing.
Listening and
Speaking
71%
Reading and Writing
29%
SILCC Instructor Survey Question #13
!
13
Which elements of this course are standardized across courses in your
department/institution? Check all that apply.
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Nearly 90% of instructors reported that textbooks and/or assignments as well as learning objectives were set by the
department or institution. Approximately one-third of instructors reported that the distribution of grades or exams were
standardized.
89.1 89.1
33.3 30.4
18.1
0
10
20
30
40
50
60
70
80
90
100
Te xt bo ok s an d/ o r
assignments
Learning objectives Distribution of
grades
Exams Classroom activities
!
!
14!
!
!
!
!
!
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!
Teaching Methods, Materials, and Resources
SILCC Instructor Survey Question #5
!
15!
For this course, what materials are students required to use?
Check all that apply.
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!
99% of instructors report requiring a textbook or digital program. Nearly 45% of instructors report requiring materials
they curate themselves, and about 15% require non-pedagogical texts.
98.6
43.2
15.1
0
10
20
30
40
50
60
70
80
90
100
Textbook or digital program Instructor-curated materials Authentic/non-pedagogical texts
SILCC Instructor Survey Question #7
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16
How much is the language you teach in this course spoken
in the nearby community?
!
!
Roughly a third of instructors reported each that the language they taught was spoken a lot, some, or very little in the
community nearby their institution.!
A lot
29.2
Some
38.7
Very little
32.1
0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% 100%
SILCC Instructor Survey Question #15
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17
What method(s) do you follow in teaching languages? Check all that apply.
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Nearly all instructors reported using the Communicative Approach, while about half of instructors reported using Task-
Based Learning, Grammar-translation, and TPR. Approximately a third of instructor reported using the Direct Method.
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95.0
55.7
43.6 43.6
37.1
25.7
7.1
2.9 5.7
0
10
20
30
40
50
60
70
80
90
100
!
!
18
!
!
!
!
!
!
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Instructor Perception of the Students and the Institution
SILCC Instructor Survey Question #9
!
19
In your view, why do the students in this course study language?
Check all that apply.
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4 out of 5 instructors reported that, in their view, their students studied language to enable transfer to a 4-year college.
Approximately three-quarters reported that the course being a program requirement was a motivating factor.
80.7
73.6
63.6 61.4 59.3 57.1
49.3
0
10
20
30
40
50
60
70
80
90
100
Enables transfer
to 4-year
college
Program
requirement
Job/career
prospects
Fulfills elective To
communicate
with family
Intellectual
curiosity
To
communicate
with friends
SILCC Instructor Survey Question #10
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20
If you had to choose one, which of these is the biggest motivation
for your students to study language?
!
!
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When forced to choose, approximately two-thirds of instructors reported that credits were the biggest motivator for
students to study language, over skills.
Credits
65%
Skills
35%
SILCC Instructor Survey Question #16
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21!
What are the biggest challenges community college language students
bring to the language classroom? Check all that apply.
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When asked to pick the three biggest challenges, three-quarters of instructors indicated little time to devote to studies
as one of the biggest challenges community college language students faced. Approximately 70% of instructors
indicated lack of academic preparation as a challenge, while a little over 60% reported lack of financial resources.
77.1
69.3
62.9
51.4 50.0
36.4
27.1
10.7
0
10
20
30
40
50
60
70
80
90
100
Little time to
devote to
studies
Lack of
academic
preparation
Lack of
financial
resources
Insufficient
motivation
Low levels of
linguistic
aptitude
Unfamiliarity
with other
cultures
Lack of
access to
materials
Discomfort
with
technology
SILCC Instructor Survey Question #17
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22
What are the biggest institutional difficulties you face in teaching
community college language students? Check three.
!
When asked to pick the three biggest institutional difficulties, results were widely dispersed with no one particular
difficulty reported by a majority of instructors.
! !
43.8
35.8 34.3
29.9 27.0
22.6
0
10
20
30
40
50
60
70
80
90
100
Inaccurate
placements/assessments
Lack of appropriate
course options
Excessive class size Excessive non-teaching
workload
Excessive teaching load Insufficient faculty
training/development
!
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23!
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!
!
!
!
!
Motivation, Education, Experience,
and Professional Development
SILCC Instructor Survey Question #14
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24
Why do you teach languages? Check all that apply.
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More than 90% of instructors reported teaching language because of interest in language study and desire to help
students learn language. Three-quarters of instructors reported the experience with students in the classroom as a factor.
! !
91.4 91.4
76.4
42.1
17.9
0
10
20
30
40
50
60
70
80
90
100
Interest in language
study
Desire to help
students learn
language
Rapport/experience
with students in
classroom
Interest in literature Required as part of
my academic career
SILCC Instructor Survey Question #18
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25
Do you attend professional development workshops or conferences?
!
!
!
Over 80% of instructors reported that they attend conferences or workshops often or sometimes, which approximately
2% report never attending conferences or workshops.
Often
41.4
Sometimes
40.7
Rarely
15.7
Never
2.1
0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% 100%
SILCC Instructor Survey Question #19
!
26!
At these events (conferences/workshops), with whom do you primarily
communicate? Check all that apply.
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85% of instructors report primarily communicating with other community college instructors, while two-thirds reported
communicating with 4-year college instructors. Relatively fewer instructors reported communicating with language
educators at the K-12 level or at community schools.
85.9
65.2
54.8
34.1
20.0
8.9
0
10
20
30
40
50
60
70
80
90
100
Other community
college instructors
4-year college
instructors
Language and
education
researchers
K-12 instructors Program
administrators
Community school
instructors
SILCC Instructor Survey Question #20
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27!
What limits you from attending workshops or conferences? Check all that apply.
!
!
!
Of those who reported limitations on attending workshops or conferences, more than half of instructors reported
financial support from their institution and time as factors.
61.9
56.8
11.5
7.2
0
10
20
30
40
50
60
70
80
90
100
Limited financial support
from institution
Limited time Limited information about
workshops/conferences
Limited interest
SILCC Instructor Survey Question #21
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28
What teacher training have you currently completed? Check all that apply.
!
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Just under 60% of instructors report having completed workshops in education, while a little over half of instructors hold
a formal degree in education. Approximately 8% of instructors report having no teacher training.
58.7
52.2
31.9
10.1 8.0
0
10
20
30
40
50
60
70
80
90
100
Workshops in
educations
Formal degree in
education
Teacher's
license/state
certification
Professional license None
SILCC Instructor Survey Question #22
!
29
What types of professional development are you or
would you be interested in, if available? Check all that apply.
!
!
!
Approximately two-thirds of instructors are interested in professional development in cultural or linguistics enrichment as
well as in classroom activities or lesson planning. More than half of instructors also reported interest in training in the use
of technology and in curriculum design.
66.4 63.4
58.2
52.2
42.5
0
10
20
30
40
50
60
70
80
90
100
Cultural/linguistic enrichment
in the language(s) that I teach
Training in classroom
activities/lesson planning
Training in the use of
technology/telecollaboration
Training in curriculum design Training in
assessment/placement
SILCC Instructor Survey Question #23
!
30
How many years have you been teaching at the
community college level (including the current year)?
!
!
!
12.2
Instructors reported a mean of 12.2 years of experience teaching at the community college level.
SILCC Instructor Survey Question #24
!
31
Are you currently full-time or part-time at this institution?
!
!
Due to a bias in our sampling methods, full-time instructors were more likely to participate in the SILCC Surveys. Of
instructors completing the SILCC survey, 60% reported holding full-time positions at their institution.
Full-time
59%
Part-time
41%
SILCC Instructor Survey Question #25
!
32
In addition to teaching at this institution, in what other formal educational
settings have you ever taught your language? Check all that apply.
!
!
!
Three-quarters of instructors reporting having taught at a 4-year college or graduate program, while approximately 40%
had experience at the K-12 level, or at another community college.
75.2
40.9 37.2
16.1
5.1
0
10
20
30
40
50
60
70
80
90
100
4-year
college/graduate
program
K-12 Another community
college
Community language
school
None
SILCC Instructor Survey Question #26
!
33
Including any courses you teach at other institutions,
how many courses do you teach in a typical semester?
!
!
!
Full-time
Part-time
4.4
2.9
Full-time instructors reported teaching a mean of 1.5 courses more than part-time instructors.
SILCC Instructor Survey Question #27
!
34
Do you hold a non-teaching position for 10 hours a week or more?
!
!
!
!
Full-time
Part-time
21%
17%
!
!
Full-time and part-time instructors reported holding a non-teaching positions for 10 hours or more in similar proportions.
SILCC Instructor Survey Question #28
!
35
Have you attended a community college?
32% Yes
!
36
Fields of study in which instructors reported holding a degree
(Associate’s, Bachelor’s, Master’s, or Doctorate)
(Derived from question: Please indicate the field(s) and level(s) of post-secondary study you have completed: )
!
!
!
The most commonly reported field of study for instructors of languages other than English at community colleges was
Literature or Comparative Literature. Note that percentages don’t add up to 100% due to many instructors holding
multiple degrees that may be in different fields.
60.0
40.0
35.0 37.1
0
10
20
30
40
50
60
70
80
90
100
Literature or Comparative
Literature
Education Linguistics or Applied
Linguistics
Other field
!
37
Highest degree instructors reported holding
(Derived from question: Please indicate the field(s) and level(s) of post-secondary study you have completed: )
Two-thirds of instructors reported a Masters as their highest degree, while one-third reported a Doctorate.
Other
1%
Masters
67%
Doctorate
32%
Article
This study analyzes the choices that heritage language (HL) learners make when enrolling in language courses at community colleges. Data from the Students and Instructors of Languages at Community Colleges (SILCC) Surveys, a nationwide survey with 1,756 students taking language courses at 101 community colleges across 33 states in the U.S., show that as many as 42.2% of community college students in modern language classrooms are identified as HL speakers. Surprisingly, more than half of these HL speakers are studying a language other than their own HL despite their prior linguistic knowledge, cultural familiarity, and familial ties with their HL. This paper evaluates a few possible explanations why a large proportion of HL speakers are opting to learn a new, third language. Building upon prior research and current data, we discuss differences in linguistic backgrounds, demographics, motivational attributes, and academic goals between HL learners studying their own HL and those studying a new language.
Conference Paper
This study analyzes the choices that heritage language (HL) learners make when enrolling in language courses at community colleges. Data from the Students and Instructors of Languages at Community Colleges (SILCC) Surveys, a nationwide survey with 1,756 students taking language courses at 101 community colleges across 33 states in the U.S., show that as many as 42.2% of community college students in modern language classrooms are identified as HL speakers. Surprisingly, more than half of these HL speakers are studying a language other than their own HL despite their prior linguistic knowledge, cultural familiarity, and familial ties with their HL. This paper evaluates a few possible explanations why a large proportion of HL speakers are opting to learn a new, third language. Building upon prior research and current data, we discuss differences in linguistic backgrounds, demographics, motivational attributes, and academic goals between HL learners studying their own HL and those studying a new language.
Article
This article presents and analyzes instructor data from the Students and Instructors of Languages at Community Colleges (SILCC) Survey. The SILCC Survey was designed to collect data from language professionals teaching at community colleges (CCs) on the specific challenges, opportunities, and potential areas of growth in their field. Results from 140 instructor responses in 101 CCs in 33 U.S. states are used to document the current state of teaching and learning of modern languages at CCs through a systematic survey procedure. The data on modern language instruction at CCs, a segment of the U.S. educational system underrepresented in scholarly discus- sions in the field of modern language, shows both strengths and areas in need of improvement.
ResearchGate has not been able to resolve any references for this publication.