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Division of Student Life
Department for Disability Support Services

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Modified Foreign Language Program

Statement of Purpose

East Carolina University is committed to taking a leadership role in academic programming for at-risk foreign language students. The Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures oversees the modified foreign language program in the College of Arts and Sciences with the collaboration of specialists from the Department for Disability Support Serv4ces.

We have developed a program of academic advising and modified foreign language instruction so individual students can increase their success during college years. Our premise is that students who have experienced difficulties in the past can learn foreign languages when the courses are adapted to meet their special needs. This approach confronts a common assumption that some students are incapable of learning certain information. We emphasize what students can do and how we can help them excel rather than reinforce the idea that some information is simply too difficult to learn.


Some students have significant difficulty learning a foreign language. We developed the modified foreign language program to accomplish two goals: first, to provide options and accommodations for at-risk students; second, to enable them to complete ECU's four-semester foreign language requirements in modified language classes. We are committed to helping students complete the foreign language requirement to the best of their ability and with personal success. We provide

  • Academic advising with regard to foreign language learning for at-risk students
  • Placement in modified foreign language sequence
  • Monitoring of student progress
  • Help for students in understanding their specific language/learning problems
  • Consultation with Department of Disability Support Services


Most important discoveries about how students learn occur in the classroom. We have identified modifications necessary for student success and developed special curricular materials.

We currently offer modified Spanish course work through the fourth semester. Students who complete this sequence fulfill the foreign language requirement.

The instructional component of our program offers

  • Modified foreign language classes with a maximum enrollment of fifteen students
  • Specially selected and trained instructors
  • Tutoring for students in modified classes
  • Accommodations for individual learning styles and needs

Procedure for Participation

  1. Interviews are scheduled with a specialist from Disability Support Services and Mrs. Christian of the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures to discuss the students' history and the nature of their problems learning foreign languages.
  2. Currently, eligible students can only choose the modified Spanish sequence. We hope to be able to offer a modified Latin sequence in the future. Prior to enrollment, students sign a detailed written agreement specifying rules for attendance and class participation. Modified foreign language program instructors and tutors monitor student progress continuously.
  3. We expect most students to succeed in the modified foreign language program. In rare cases, the nature of a student's learning disability may prohibit him or her from successfully completing a modified foreign language program. In this case, the dean of undergraduate studies may approve alternate means of fulfilling the foreign-language requirement.

This program is patterned after and closely adheres to policies established by the foreign language modification program at the University of Colorado at Boulder. We are greatly indebted to Barbara Hill, program coordinator, and to her colleagues for their generous support. The preceding mission statement is borrowed largely from their successful program.

For more information contact:

Mrs. Carol Christian, Program Coordinator
Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures

Department of Foreign Language and Literatures
3324A General Classroom Building
East Carolina University
Greenville, NC 27858-4353