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RFE's Teachable Moment

Reading, writing…and RFE? That's the plan for one European university.

RFE video clips will be online as teaching tools this fall at the UCL (University College London) School of Slavonic and East European Studies for post-graduate students studying the Serbian and Croatian languages. RFE was chosen for its emphasis "not just on politics, but also on social and cultural issues," says Jelena Čalić, senior teaching fellow in Serbian and Croatian language.

Čalić said RFE's Balkan programming was valuable as it covers several countries, including Bosnia, Croatia, Montenegro and Serbia. She wanted to use material that dealt with current issues and allowed student to hear the "authentic language, not something that is engineered or doctored," as is often found in audio programs used for language teaching.

Video clips will be accompanied by exercises aimed at developing comprehension skills and insight into social, cultural and political issues. RFE programs have highlighted current events in Serbia and Croatia – including the economy, minority language rights and the wearing of burqas – which Čalić believes will add a cultural context to language studies.

-- Sarah Adler