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World Languages and Literatures

Palacio Real - Madrid

Self Instructional Language Program (SILP)

The Self-Instructional Language Program (SILP) provides students with the opportunity to study less-commonly taught languages via an academically rigorous program that combines self-study of appropriate texts with audio and visual materials, conversation, and drill sessions with a native speaker tutor. Participation in the Self-Instructional Language Program entails certain responsibilities that are detailed under “Student Expectations.”

Classes meet for two hours per week. If a class appears as “unscheduled” in the master schedule, class times are decided at a mandatory meeting with the tutor and the SILP coordinator. The tutor will email the students to arrange the first mandatory meeting. Students will not be guaranteed a place in the class if they do not attend this meeting.  

Students interested in pursuing these courses should consult with Professor María Lander in the Department of World Languages and Literatures before spring registration for the following academic year.


Tutors are generally native speakers with experience in language teaching who bring to the classroom a wealth of cultural and linguistic knowledge. Their role is to provide communicative opportunities to the students, and to create a self-guided environment for students to work on their language learning.

Student Expectations

Not every student is ready to be an independent language learner. Good candidates for SILP are those students who have been successful in regular language courses, who enjoy figuring things out for themselves, who are comfortable with less instructor interaction, and who have a strong motivation to learn the language.

Students are expected to work independently with limited supervision. Student motivation and discipline are essential to the successful completion of the course and acquisition of the language.

Students are required to attend all meetings with the tutor and must complete all assignments. The tutor should be contacted directly if a student is unable to attend a session. It is at the discretion of the SILP coordinator in consultation with the tutor to withdraw a student from the course if assignments are not completed when due.

Course Grade

The final grade for the course is weighed as shown below:

The final examination may be conducted by an external examiner and/or the tutor. The exam will be held during final exams week (time and date determined by examiner) and no alternate times can be scheduled. Should the student have a conflict with another final exam, he or she should make arrangements to change the other final examination, as the SILP examiner is available only for the chosen time slot.

Language Requirement

Two consecutive 2-credit SILP courses or one 3-credit SILP course fulfills Skidmore’s language requirement.

Independent Study

Students may take 300-level SILP courses (FX371/372) upon demonstrating requisite linguistic proficiency. These are independent study courses comparable to other 371/372 courses at Skidmore. Students are therefore expected to do advanced work in the target language. Students must discuss the project and/or goals with the tutor and complete an Independent Study Proposal Form to be signed by the department chair prior to registration. Work in such courses generally consists of a combination of reading, writing, and conversation with the tutor. There are no external exams for these courses, and the tutor assesses student performance to determine the final grade.

Statement of Policies

Eligibility policy: All students who have successfully completed their first semester at Skidmore are eligible to participate in the program. Native speakers of the target language are not eligible to participate in the SILP program.

Placement policy: Students must present in writing a description of their prior study or knowledge of the foreign language for which they are registering. The tutor will determine the appropriate level of placement for the student no later than the first class meeting of the semester.

Any student who deliberately, knowingly, and willfully enrolls in a class below his or her language proficiency level is in violation of the Skidmore College Honor Code and may be referred to the Office of the Associate Dean for Academic Advising and/or the Integrity Board for further action.  Students should be aware that the penalties attached to an academic integrity violation may jeopardize their standing at the College. Students should also be aware that those who have committed academic integrity violations are ineligible for College honors, including but not limited to Dean's List, graduation honors, and inclusion in certain honor societies.

Attendance policy: Students who miss more than three hours of class with the tutor, will not qualify to take the final exam, resulting in an F in the course.

Final exam policy: Students who miss the scheduled final exam will receive an F in the course unless they can produce documentation for health-related issues or other valid documented reasons for the absence.   Students must notify the tutor and the SILP coordinator if they are unable to attend the final exam. The notification must be done 24 hours prior to the exam or 24 hours after missing the exam. Students who do not notify the tutor within this time frame, will receive an F in the course.

Plagiarism policy: In the case of documented plagiarism, a student will receive an F for the course regardless of his or her proficiency in the language. Cases of plagiarism will be referred to the Integrity Board, in accord with the College’s honor code (see http://cms.skidmore.edu/student_handbook/honor-code.cfm).