The Department of Modern Languages and the Department of Celtic Studies have
witnessed many changes over the recent years due to the increased enrollment in second language courses at St. Francis Xavier University. Having a second language is an asset not only in our Canadian society, but also in a world where technologies have brought countries and cultures closer together. More and more, we live in a global society where proficiency in a second language leads to better cultural understanding, as well as social and economic opportunities.
Second language studies at St. Francis Xavier University is a particular challenge. Classes are comprised of students who come to us from varying backgrounds. Our classes are extremely heterogeneous. Some students have had little or no second language role models. It is important, therefore, that all students have access to an environment which provides exposure to a second language. Three contact hours per week in the classroom are not enough. These are only a starting point. Hence the necessity for a multimedia and language resource centre, where students are provided with a variety of graded language learning materials and which constitutes an environment in which a second language is no longer just a subject but a way of life. Judiciously chosen materials, access to communication technologies and well constructed socio-cultural activities make second language learning a reality and, as a result, are an essential complement to work performance in the classroom. After all, practice makes perfect!
All language learning students benefit from the technologies and materials in the Multimedia Language Centre. The Multimedia Language Centre is a meeting place where students can feel free to explore the cultural background and to enhance their knowledge of a second language. As well, the Multimedia Language Centre’s broad selection of videos (VHS and DVD), books on cassette, other audio cassettes and second language educational software are open to the community at large and particularly to second language teachers. The Multimedia Language Centre not only provides language learning software already available on the market, it provides an extensive collection of Internet based language and cultural resources for both students and educators. The Multimedia Language Centre also allows instructors the opportunity to create custom-tailored learning materials. Instructors are encouraged to be inventive and serve specific linguistic needs (See Resources and Links).