Professor John Rassias of Dartmouth


Image: John RassiasLearning a foreign language is challenging even for the most linguistically inclined person. Professor John Rassias of Dartmouth College, author of a hands-on method for teaching a second language, will speak about "Language, Culture and Politics" on Friday, May 7, at 8:30 p.m. at Fairfield University's Alumni House.

Prof. Rassias is the William R. Kenan Professor and Chair of the Department of French and Italian at Dartmouth, and president of the Rassias Foundation. He originated the "Rassias Method" and Dartmouth Intensive Language Model (DILM), which were adapted for the needs of Fairfield University by Joel Goldfield, Ph.D., associate professor of modern languages and literatures at Fairfield, in 1998. In March 1995, the University signed a letter of agreement for a partnership with the Rassias Foundation at Dartmouth College.

The "Rassias Method" is a way to teach vocabulary in a different language through the use of physical demonstrations. It eliminates the need to translate a new word into its equivalent word in the students' native tongue. This method uses humor and playfulness to help put students at ease and make them more comfortable with speaking. The goal is to accelerate the students' ability to communicate orally in a new language.

"Prof. Rassias is the best known foreign language teaching professional in the world today. His dramatic, systematic, and communicative approach to language teaching has provided us with the model upon which the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures at Fairfield University has based its Assistant Teacher/Oral Practice Session Program," Dr. Goldfield said.

"Our research shows that for at least 80 percent of students in a Core language course, the top priority is to speak the language. The Oral Practice Sessions are crucial in enabling them to meet that goal, one of the Department's as well," Dr. Goldfield added.

In addition to using the Rassias method for the Oral Practice Sessions, University College at Fairfield University regularly collaborates with the Rassias Foundation on immersion language programs, such as the Accelerated Language Programs at Dartmouth College and the new Weekend Immersion Programs, which have been held on the Fairfield University campus three times since Fall 2003 and have attracted students from all over the United States.

Introductions to Prof. Rassias' talk by Dr. Goldfield and Dean Edna Wilson of Fairfield University's University College will focus on the international and cross-cultural mission of Fairfield University.

Sponsored by the Culpeper Language Resource Center of the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures, the University College at Fairfield University, and the Dartmouth Club of Eastern Fairfield County, the talk is open to Fairfield University students, faculty and staff as well as Dartmouth students and alumni. A ticket is necessary to attend the event due to limited seating, but tickets are free to University students, faculty and staff. A limited number of tickets are available for the general public. Tickets will be provided on a first come, first serve basis. There will be a dinner at the Alumni House with the Dartmouth Alumni Club prior to the talk. The price for the dinner, including gratuities is $53, is by reservation only. For ticket reservations, please contact Dr. Goldfield by Wednesday noon at (203) 254-4000, ext. 2304.

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Media Contact: Nancy Habetz, (203) 254-4000, ext. 2647, nhabetz@fairfield.edu

Posted on April 30, 2004

Vol. 36, No. 273