Tag Archives: Defense Language Institute

NPR: Language Boot Camp For Mormon Missionaries

8 Jun

Yesterday, I blogged about the Cesh method for teaching Esperanto. By coincidence, NPR ran this interesting story about the language instruction program for Mormon missionaries:

“there’s a difference between training soldiers and training missionaries. To study Mandarin at the Defense Language Institute takes 64 weeks; missionaries leave the training center after just nine.”

The success of the Mormon program seems some combination of instructional method and student motivation. When I last checked there were over 290 comments on the NPR story, definitely worth browsing. Many graduates, and others, familiar with the program, describe the strength and limitations of the training. For example:

“I live in Thailand and we have many (way too many) Mormon missionaries here (as well as many other missionaries). I speak Thai reasonably well for a non-native speaker but the Mormon missionaries that arrive here can barely hold a conversation with 6 year olds. They do tend to get better over the course of there time here but none I have met would be able to achieve success in the Grade 6 government proficiency examination.”

 

 

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