French R Seen Useless; May Be Replaced Soon
French R may be dropped next year as a result of widespread feeling that "the purpose of a course should be more than just passing the language requirement," Dwight Bolinger, proessor of Romance Languages and Literature, disclosed yesterday. Bolinger added that French R, one of the, two second year courses in French now offered by the University, may be replaced by an intensive half year course in elementary French.
French Ra and Rb are a set of two half-year courses open to students who have had two years of French in high school but have not passed the language requirement in French. The stated aim of the courses is to increase reading speed and comprehension. In practice, however, it is considered a terminal course and is usually taken as an easy way to fulfill the language requirement. French C, an intermediate course in French conversation and composition, has the same requirements and is usually taken byy students who plan to continue their study of French.
Bolinger emphasized that the change is still in the tentative stage and that no official action has yet been taken. If the change is made, however, French R will be replaced by a half year intensive course which would probably meet five times a week. After taking the new course students would enter French C to fulfill their language requirement. The course's purpose would be to prepare students for French C without a full year of elementary French. A similar program already exists in German.
Bolonger said the proposed change was not a direct result of the Overseers Committee report released last December. The report, which attacked the quality of the teaching fellow program at Harvard, was especially critical of the Department of Romance Languages. He did mention however, that the committee had given the Department "several valuable suggestions."
The Department may propose the change in February or March of this year and include it as part of a more general revision of its program. Final approval for any changes must come from the Faculty, which acts on all course changes within the College.