Because why would it be important for a foreign area officer to know a foreign language?

emwvmi01

5-Year Member
This isn't relegated to DLI though and when you read the story it sounds like one student who probably has his portion of the story straight but may not understand/see the larger picture. For example, I don't think a FAO needs to do immersion if their next assignment is going to be a COCOM and HQDA staff where they won't be using language skills. Now if they are going to embassy duty or partner training assignments then maybe but I would also weigh do we send them TDY or do we wait until they arrive in theater and then allocate them immersion time so we're not flying them to the same region twice on taxpayer dollars. The same with linguists where there are a multitude of ways to get the skill set you need.
 

UHBlackhawk

Member
Happy to stop going down this path just as soon as the administration straightens out its priorities.
Do you want me to really list the silly things funded by the government? Someone always trots out something like this but fails to mention things like the $27 million spent to teach Moroccans how to make pottery.
 

kinnem

Moderator
5-Year Member
Happy to stop going down this path just as soon as the administration straightens out its priorities.
Do you want me to really list the silly things funded by the government? Someone always trots out something like this but fails to mention things like the $27 million spent to teach Moroccans how to make pottery.
And they still make sub-par pottery.
 

hornetguy

10-Year Member
Do you want me to really list the silly things funded by the government? Someone always trots out something like this but fails to mention things like the $27 million spent to teach Moroccans how to make pottery.
Did a quick google search cause that was interesting:
https://www.politifact.com/georgia/statements/2013/aug/21/karen-handel/pottery-class-claim-takes-truth-spin/

"The former Georgia secretary of state who’s now a U.S. Senate candidate said that the federal government spent $27 million teaching Moroccans how to make pottery. This claim has been a popular touchstone for conservatives looking to shine a light on government waste.

But a closer look at the facts shows that the $27 million was for an entire economic development program in Morocco, of which the pottery training was only a fraction of the cost -- about 8 percent of the total program. Some may still consider that amount, $2.2 million, a large expense for pottery training and promotion, but it is not close to the $27 million that Handel claimed.

Her overall point that the program was a failure is supported by an inspector general’s audit that found that the pottery training was mismanaged, poorly organized and ineffective.

Her statement contains an element of truth but overstates the cost and ignores critical facts that would give a different impression.

We rated Handel’s claim Mostly False."
 
As a Defense Language Institute graduate, I can say that my cultural immersion to Taiwan was good for expanding cultural knowledge, but not so great for linguistic development. Sure, there were plenty of opportunities to speak Mandarin, but it's very difficult when a) Everyone is also very interested in practicing English, and b) most conversations that the locals were willing to have with us were limited to very elementary-level topics and vocabulary. Of course, this varies on a student-to-student and country-to-country basis. Personally, I tried to take advantage of every opportunity possible to immerse myself and learn as much as I could while in Taiwan. However, the students who stayed behind at DLI just flat out improved more during our one month "getaway". The immersion programs are very poorly organized. The preparation that goes into them is always rushed and the leadership is always way too stressed to be productive. While I disagree with the funding being cut, I also believe there is an argument to be made in regard to the true benefit and validity of the programs. Right before I graduated the institute, the newly indoctrinated commandant seemed to share a similar opinion as well. Additionally, only 18% of DLI's student population consists of foreign area officers. That's not to say that the proposed argument is invalid, but in my opinion the greater concern here is the junior enlisted who will be entering the force, many of whom at duty stations where the language is used more strategically and intermittently, which is where DLI's classroom environment really comes in to play.
 

UHBlackhawk

Member
Did a quick google search cause that was interesting:
https://www.politifact.com/georgia/statements/2013/aug/21/karen-handel/pottery-class-claim-takes-truth-spin/

"The former Georgia secretary of state who’s now a U.S. Senate candidate said that the federal government spent $27 million teaching Moroccans how to make pottery. This claim has been a popular touchstone for conservatives looking to shine a light on government waste.

But a closer look at the facts shows that the $27 million was for an entire economic development program in Morocco, of which the pottery training was only a fraction of the cost -- about 8 percent of the total program. Some may still consider that amount, $2.2 million, a large expense for pottery training and promotion, but it is not close to the $27 million that Handel claimed.

Her overall point that the program was a failure is supported by an inspector general’s audit that found that the pottery training was mismanaged, poorly organized and ineffective.

Her statement contains an element of truth but overstates the cost and ignores critical facts that would give a different impression.

We rated Handel’s claim Mostly False."
Ok. Got me there. A mere $2.7 million for pottery instead of the total amount of $27 million. Even then I’m sure I know why it was spent- end of the fiscal year. And it still begs the question, if we are going to complain about cuts by this administration to fund border protection let’s take a deep look at the budget and what we are spending the people’s tax money to pay for.
I didn’t even touch on the defense budget which can be summed up in one word- “Zumwalt”, the poster child for fiscal ineptitude.
 

Jcleppe

5-Year Member
I'm just curious. Is the immersion program different for students that are attending the DLI then for those that are in the SOF training pipeline for SF/CA/PsyOps? My son, during his language training at Bragg did a 6 week immersion to Latvia. There he lived with a Russian family which he said their English was limited to "Hello" and "Goodbye". He attended classes for part of the day and then was assigned a local university student to walk around town for a couple hours each day to practice his language skills. Once back at the host's home if he wanted to communicate it had to be in Russian. My son said that the immersion trip was extremely helpful, of the 6 that went to Latvia from his group five received a 2+ and one a 2 on their OPI, those that stayed back and continued with the on base language course all received 1+ or lower. Granted the language program for SOF is only about 6 months so not nearly a comparison to attending the DLI. I was just wondering if the Immersion program was similar.
 
I'm just curious. Is the immersion program different for students that are attending the DLI then for those that are in the SOF training pipeline for SF/CA/PsyOps? My son, during his language training at Bragg did a 6 week immersion to Latvia. There he lived with a Russian family which he said their English was limited to "Hello" and "Goodbye". He attended classes for part of the day and then was assigned a local university student to walk around town for a couple hours each day to practice his language skills. Once back at the host's home if he wanted to communicate it had to be in Russian. My son said that the immersion trip was extremely helpful, of the 6 that went to Latvia from his group five received a 2+ and one a 2 on their OPI, those that stayed back and continued with the on base language course all received 1+ or lower. Granted the language program for SOF is only about 6 months so not nearly a comparison to attending the DLI. I was just wondering if the Immersion program was similar.
Not similar at all! With DLI, we stay in hotels. Each language does the immersion a bit differently, but in Taiwan we had class from 10am-6pm, then by the time we were released it was kind of too late to do anything. And of course, before 10am nothing is really open and nobody is out and about. So we didn't get a whole lot of chances to interact with the locals except for weekends. Ours was only 4 weeks as well. So, it was classroom setting, we were not with a host family, and NOBODY got a 2+... admittedly, we had extensive speaking practice. 2 hours of each day of instruction was dedicated to speaking. However, it simply wasn't enough and it wasn't like walking around town and exploring with a native. I would have loved that and definitely would have benefited more. All of our instructors had at LEAST a master's degree in English, too.
 

Jcleppe

5-Year Member
Not similar at all! With DLI, we stay in hotels. Each language does the immersion a bit differently, but in Taiwan we had class from 10am-6pm, then by the time we were released it was kind of too late to do anything. And of course, before 10am nothing is really open and nobody is out and about. So we didn't get a whole lot of chances to interact with the locals except for weekends. Ours was only 4 weeks as well. So, it was classroom setting, we were not with a host family, and NOBODY got a 2+... admittedly, we had extensive speaking practice. 2 hours of each day of instruction was dedicated to speaking. However, it simply wasn't enough and it wasn't like walking around town and exploring with a native. I would have loved that and definitely would have benefited more. All of our instructors had at LEAST a master's degree in English, too.
Thanks for your reply and explanation of the courses.

Son did say that living with a host family really helped a lot, he would always be home in time to spend some time with the family, he said they would do things together like make dinner and go shopping. He would go with their son to play soccer with the son's friends. The other students that went with him stayed with other host families around town and they only saw each other on the weekends which was the only time he would speak english. They really had a total immersion experience for the six weeks.
 
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