Fairfield University and The Rassias Foundation at Dartmouth College offer Weekend Immersion Programs in French, Italian and Spanish


Advanced beginners and intermediate level speakers in French, Italian and Spanish are invited to hone their language skills through an intensive weekend of study and practice designed to reinforce and improve speaking ability in a short period of time.

University College at Fairfield University has teamed up with The Rassias Foundation at Dartmouth College to offer Weekend Immersion Programs (WIPs) at Fairfield University during the weekend of October 1-3, 2004. Another series of WIPs is tentatively scheduled for April 22-25, 2005. Prospective participants interested in languages other than French, Italian and Spanish are encouraged to inform University College of their language preferences for future programs.

The WIPs utilize the "Rassias Method" for language teaching and the Dartmouth Intensive Language Model (DILM), which were adapted to the needs of Fairfield University by Joel Goldfield, Ph.D., associate professor of modern languages and literatures at Fairfield, in 1998. Conceived by Prof. John Rassias, the "Rassias Method" is a way to develop proficiency in another language through the use of physical demonstrations and frequent guided speaking. It eliminates the need to translate a new word into its equivalent word in the students' native tongue.

"The Rassias Method builds team spirit and group communication while emphasizing individual practice within an atmosphere of good humor and play with the language," Dr. Goldfield said. "Independent testing has shown that participants make rapid progress with the emphasis on 'speaking to learn:' immediate oral practice applying what one has been learning."

The aim of the Rassias Method is to make the student feel comfortable and natural with the language in as short a time as possible. This is achieved through a series of specific teaching procedures and techniques that:

  • create and maintain a dynamic classroom pace and atmosphere, thus capturing and holding students' attention,
  • provide for unusually high student involvement in the use of the language (an average student response rate is 65 times per hour),
  • foster spontaneity of expression and creative use of the language, even in the earliest weeks of language training,
  • reduce the learner's natural self-consciousness and fear of mistakes,
  • emphasize the relevance of the language to the student's own life and experience.

Tuition for the program is $400 plus a non-refundable $100 registration fee due at registration. A $10 materials fee is also due at registration. Full payment is due 10 days prior to class. Lunches with staff are mandatory and included in the cost of the program. Breakfast, dinner and transportation to and from Fairfield are not provided. The University has held a block of rooms at the nearby Fairfield Inn at a reduced rate of $70/night and will provide transportation to and from the Inn in the morning before class and evening following its conclusion. The registration deadline for the WIPs is September 23. A phone interview is required. For more information, call University College at (203) 254-4307.

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

Posted on August 25, 2004

Vol. 37, No. 39