The Flagship approach begins first with an understanding that all learners are capable of achieving professional level language proficiency, and that the factors that will determine whether this happens are: 1) Learner Motivation, and 2) Effectiveness of Interventions. While Flagship Programs do devote significant energy to promote learner motivation, the bulk of our efforts are toward improving instruction.
Flagship programs nationally, with guidance from NSEP and IIE, have worked collaboratively to make changes and improvements to all components of the instructional programs to maximize student outcomes. Flagship programs actively recruit students from all majors and disciplines, rather than focusing only on students who would traditionally study a language.
Since faculty and instructors have the most impact on instruction, Flagship provides professional development to align them with program expectations and outcomes. These professionals must believe that their students are capable of achieving high level proficiency. Therefore, teachers at all levels must prepare their students to articulate to the next level of instruction.
Flagship learning is holistic and not confined to daily 50-minute instructional sessions. All Flagship students - in addition to having intensive classroom instruction - take part in group discussions, participate in one-on-one tutoring and engage in culture and language events which require them to use their language skills.
Additional core concepts for improving foreign language learning include:
- Articulation – developing individualized student pathways that effectively articulate students from year to year, and also from a Domestic Flagship program to an Overseas Flagship Center for the Flagship Overseas Capstone program.
- Assessment – Flagship has invested in a suite of assessments based on the ILR (Inter-Agency Language Roundtable) and ACTFL (American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages) rubrics to determine student proficiency outcomes and effectiveness of teaching and learning.
- Curriculum Enhancement – Flagship curriculum provides entry points regardless of prior language learning, adopts a student centered and communicative approach and is flexible enough to be adapted to any college or university.
- Instructional Materials – Flagship does not develop standalone instructional resources. However, Flagship has developed extensive partnerships to develop online tools that are effective for autonomous and semi-autonomous learners, and that can be used as part of an instructional program.
- Language Pedagogy – Flagship has improved teaching methods for language instruction by collectively developing a student-centered, communicative and outcome focused language teaching approach. Pedagogical techniques across the Flagship programs come from the latest results from second language acquisition research.
- Learning Methodology - Flagship’s approach to meeting the instructional needs of individual learners starts with understanding the learning styles of students and doing periodic diagnostics of their needs. Using the communicative approach instructors are better able to identify the needs of individual learners.
- Student Certification – incoming Flagship students are presented with the challenge of earning Flagship Certification. Certification is conferred on those students who complete a domestic program, the overseas direct enrollment and internship capstone experience, and are able to demonstrate professional level language proficiency (ILR Level 3) in their target language.
- Teacher and Tutor Preparation – Flagship instructors and tutors receive training to prepare them to meet the needs of the Flagship students.