For Instructors

Goals of the CAILS Lessons | Cross-Language Training | Student Accountability


Goals of the CAILS Lessons

The CAILS lessons were designed to help students of Kazak and Uzbek reach the advanced-level in listening proficiency, as defined by the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) Proficiency Guidelines. The advanced level is characterized by the ability to understand the main ideas and important details of connected (paragraph-length) speech on a variety of topics beyond the immediacy of the situation. The CAILS lessons provide students the opportunity to work toward advanced-level listening proficiency by working closely with video clips that include examples of paragraph-length discourse.

The CAILS lessons are designed for self-study, for distance education courses, or as a supplement to traditional classroom study of any Turkic languages, including Turkish. 

CAILS lessons are content-based:  while a student’s Uzbek and Kazak improves, s/he also learns more about Central Asian cultures.  Video interviews in each CAILS lesson were collected in Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan and feature scholars, elected officials, and other leaders. Topics covered by the lessons include the status of women, music in Islamic history, literature, education, demographics, history and more (see example 1). 


Sequence of Lessons

CAILS lessons can be incorporated into classroom curricula in any order. Instructors may wish to assign lessons according to the topic, or according to grammatical or other discourse issues featured in each lesson's video. While lessons do not build on each other, they are carefully designed not to repeat material so that a student benefits from going through each lesson in the series.

The Listening Assistant (example 2) provides text- and audio- based help features for discreet portions of each video interview or for the whole clip. Types of help for each clip include background information, key words, vocabulary and grammar notes, and transcripts and translations. Students should be encouraged to view the clip several times using the Listening Assistant and various types of help features before resorting to the transcripts and translations.

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image from CAILs website

Cross-language training in Turkic languages

Building on the close similiarities between the various Turkic languages, a highlight of the CAILS lessons is the opportunity for cross-language training at the advanced level.  Pages devoted to comparing Kazak and Uzbek in the lessons(see example 3), and “Language Comparisons” sections of the Listening Assistant , allow learners of either Kazak or Uzbek to develop advanced-level listening skills in the other language.  The CAILS team encourages instructors to incorporate discussion of similarities and differences in Kazak and Uzbek into the classroom as a way to broaden understanding of the Turkic languages. 

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Student Accountability

We recommend building accountability into use of the CAILS lessons. Students can print off pages to hand in for evaluation (see example 4) or to use for classroom discussion, or submit essays or prepare presentations based on topics suggested at the end of each lesson.  Please note, however, that a student’s work in the CAILS lessons cannot be saved.  Pages should be printed off before moving to the next page.