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Skidmore College
World Languages and Literatures

Self Instructional Language Program (SILP)

Description of the Program and Student Responsibilities

The Self-Instructional Language Program (SILP) provides students with the opportunity to study critical languages via an academically rigorous program that combines self-study of appropriate texts with audio and visual materials, conversation, and drill sessions with an instructor who is a native or a near-native speaker of the target language. Participation in the Self-Instructional Language Program is a privilege and as such entails certain responsibilities.

Classes, which consist of less than ten students, meet for two hours per week. Unscheduled class times are decided at a mandatory meeting with the instructor. Students will not be guaranteed a place in the class if they do not attend this meeting.


Instructors are generally native speakers 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. 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 are good candidates for SILP.

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 instructor. The instructor 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 instructor to withdraw a student from the course if assignments are not completed when due.

Course Grade

The final grade is awarded by an external examiner through a final examination

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 for the chosen time slot only. Students who miss the scheduled final exam will receive an F in the course

Language Requirement

Two consecutive 2-credit SILP courses would fulfill Skidmore’s language requirement.

Statement of Policies

Eligibility policy: All students who have successfully completed their first semester at Skidmore are eligible to participate in the program. Native or Heritage 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 instructor will determine the appropriate level of placement for the student no later than the first class meeting of the semester.

Attention: 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 instructor, will not qualify to take the final exam, resulting in 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 Skidmore College Honor Code).

Please feel free to contact the chair of the Department of World Languages and Literatures, if you require any further information.