Self-Paced Program

1. General Concept.

What is a self-instructional language program? Prerequisites for an efficent self-paced program. One may think of the program as made up of two components: the learner on whose shoulders lies the responsibility of learning the material, doing the assignments, using adequately the material and moving ahead at an individual pace. In other words, the framework for learning is set for the student to embark himself or herself on the task of learning the language. Among the resources needed for a successful program [for more information, see David Dwyer, “Requirements for a Successful Self-Instructional Language Program,” NASILP Bulletin (October 1991): 1].

  1. Language resources, the coordinator and the drill instructor
  2. Traditional aids , such as books, dictionaries
  3. Electronic means. With the advance in technology, especially multimedia, several electronic means likely to enhance the learning of foreign languages, have become widely available. These include not only audio tapes, but video and interactive activities in which

2. Other Self-Paced Programs in the United States.

Many colleges and universities across the United States have such programs. One can distinguish between the Less Commonly Taught Languages (LCTC) and those using a self-instructional approach with its headquarters located at Temple University. The coordinator of the National Association of Self-Instructional Language Programs (NASILP) is:

Dr. John B. Means
Center for Critical Languages,
TU 022-38 Temple University
Philadelphia, PA 19122 Office: 215/204-1715
fax: 215/204-1642
E-mail address

The University of Richmond is also a member of this organization. For more information on other programs in the United States, refer the following links (to be provided later):

3. Self-Paced Program at UR.

Self-instructional languages programs have been instituted at the University of Richmond since Fall 1995. As of now, two such programs, Brazilian Portuguese and Kiswahili. More programs will be added as need arises and resources are available. Our self-instructional language are affiliated with with the National Association of Self-Instructional Language Programs (NASILP) of which the headquarters is at Temple University. The Department of Modern Languages and Literatures teaches many languages such as Spanish, French, German, Italian, Japanese and Chinese using the traditional classroom set up. Given the size and the the resources of our institution, interests in other languages than the traditional ones will be cared to using the self-instructional approach. In order for one to engage on this route, motivation for learning is the paramount criterium.

The programs started as part and parcel of an initiative from the Office of the International Education {link) in its plan to create, strengthen and improve the Africa and Latin American concentrations in International Studies. A Title VI grant from the Department of Education allowed not only to improve these tracts, but also to create new courses of which Kiswahili and Brazilian Portuguese were the only courses.

The main players in Kiswahili program are the following:

  1. The Language coordinator. Dr. Kasongo M. Kapanga is responsible for the administratioin and operation of the program in its details. He does not teach the course, but has selected the textbooks and gathers ancillary materials (laboratory manuals, workbooks, audio and video tapes, interactive exercises), prepares the course syllabus and timetable, provides feeback on learner performance, writes mid-terms examinations, assures discipline and adherence to program guidelines, and with the assistance of tutor and external evaluator, assigns the final grade to each learner.

  2. The Drill Instructor (For more information). Like most of the drill instructors in the Department of Modern and Literatures, the tutor will be an experienced user of the language trained in the Rassias method. He is no by any means a teacher. Ideally, the drill instructor will be a speaker of a Sarufi variant of the Kiswahili. The area concerned includes mainly Tanzania and Kenya–Zanzibar would be the perfect match.

  3. The language learner. This is the most important element of the self-instructional program. For a successful completion of the course, the learner has the do the following:

Return to HomePage | Return to Main Page | Aims of the Course | Books and Documents | Coordinator | Drill Instructor | Future of Kiswahili | Former Students | Kingwana or Copperbelt Kiswahili | Kiswahili I | Kiswahili II | Kiswahili and Kwaanza | Kiswahili Language | Linguistic Map | Method of the course | Multimedia Resources | Professional Organizations | Prospective Students | Self-Paced Program | Swahiliphone Countries |