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Peer Review

Orlando R. Kelm's Home Page

by Orlando Kelm


Overall Rating:

5 stars
Content Quality: 5 stars
Effectiveness: 5 stars
Ease of Use: 5 stars
Reviewed: Jul 16, 2002 by World Languages Editorial Board
Overview: Orlando Kelm?s webpage (the Business Language Project section) provides over 170
brief video clips of interviews in which more than sixty Latin American and
Spanish executives offer a variety of opinions on cultural differences and
business practices. The interviews include topics on Negotiation, Language,
Courtesy and Social Situations, and Time and Scheduling.The material is
presented in the target languages, either Spanish or Portuguese, with Quicktime
movies of the actual interview session. Transcripts and translations into
English are also included.

The interviews provide realistic business situations in which natural and
realistic language is employed. There are transcriptions and translations of
the interviews which are ideal for analyzing a variety of linguistic elements,
e.g., idiomatic expressions, syntactic and semantic nuances, dialect differences
and grammar in a context.

The Spanish site also includes video clips containing the transcripts and
translations from various role-play scenarios for teaching Spanish to policemen
and nurses. Additional materials include Spanish and Portuguese video clips of
sample proficiency levels ranging from beginning to superior levels.
Learning Goals: The business language component seeks to develop cross-cultural sensitivity and
language proficiency in Spanish and Portuguese to conduct business in Latin
America and Spain. It focuses on issues related to business culture
(negotiation, language registers, courtesy, social situations, and time and
scheduling.) It serves as a valuable tool in developing bilingual business
Target Student Population: The site is designed for undergraduates with at least a high-intermediate or
advanced language proficiency in Spanish and/or Portuguese; desiring to
learn business concepts, and develop the language associated with conducting
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills: Learners should have listening, speaking and reading skills with a minimum range
of a high intermediate through advanced proficiency levels.

Type of Material: Teacher Resource, Tutorial and Collection
Recommended Uses: These materials could be used either in the classroom or as a self-directed
learning experience.
Technical Requirements: Quick Time plug-in

Evaluation and Observation

Content Quality

Rating: 5 stars
Strengths: The video clips of native speakers discussing the different business scenarios
serve as models for students to use for speaking and writing. The video clips
serve as models for the students? own oral presentations. The accompanying
transcripts of the video sequences serve for analysis of the grammar and
vocabulary in use.The use of transcriptions in both the target language/and
native language provide an instant feedback for developing listening
comprehension and reading skills.
The cultural interviews are made all the more interesting by the Quick Time
movies. A feeling of immediacy is created by watching the speaker
discuss the practical subjects that one faces in a business setting. It is
possible to replay the interviews to improve listening comprehension. One can
verify reading comprehension with the transcription. The English is always
available to clear up any comprehension difficulties.

In the Business Portuguese modules, Falando de Negocios, Portugues
Comercial there is a wealth of interviews treating such areas as Economics,
Finance, Human Resources, Foreign Trade, Banking, Accounting, the stock market
and sales. Clicking on a topic, such as Accounting just for one example, will
reveal the interview questions in a frame to the left of the screen, followed by
links to the interviewees who answer the questions. To the right of the screen,
clicking on the picture of the interviewee starts the Quick Time movie on the
topic. The user can also click to find a glossary of accounting terms with
English equivalents and click on another box to find interactive exercises with
feedback on the topic.
Concerns: Since most videoclips are defined according to proficiency levels, there should
be a description of these. The levels could also be compared to the current
ACTFL proficiency levels.

Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool

Rating: 5 stars
Strengths: The webpage is designed for students having a possible wide range of ability
levels. The course is designed so that the language, content, and the materials
are sufficiently flexible and student-centered.

The use of interviews that include business executives using peninsular and
non-peninsular Spanish helps the listener to distinguish the similarities and
differences in the use of language, e.g., accents, intonation, and vocabulary
within the specialized use of business language.

The inclusion of written transcripts aids in creating a great variety of
classroom activities that help the learner model and develop natural language
patterns in speaking and writing. In addition, the transcripts are invaluable
in analyzing the grammatical patterns using content-based materials.

Kelm includes teaching ideas for instructors using the course materials and
provides suggestions for presenting the listening component, writing, and
assessment. He also recommends the presentation of cultural topics to help
understand the interviews. Some of these include: Business Meals, Concept of
Time, Machismo, Race, Color, Sex ,Work Hours, etc. These suggestions are
invaluable to instructors because the author?s input is based on actual
classroom teaching experience with the underlying second language methodology.

The multisensory format of these materials make them very rich. It would be easy
to project the interviews on a large screen in the classroom and use them as
points of departure for a more in-depth discussion.

Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty

Rating: 5 stars
Strengths: There are clear directions to navigate throughout the site. Each page has a
similar design with a navigation bar with categories for the different
interviews.Each category has a variety of questions formulated that appear on
the left of the screen. Under each of these questions are listed the
interviewees by name. The name, country of origin, the Spanish transcript, and
the English translation appear with each video plug-in on the screen. The
interviews last between two to five minutes in length. The speech is generally
clear and very natural with the expected pauses, repetitions, etc.
Concerns: The background pages might be distracting to some viewers. They may appear
somewhat busy.

Other Issues and Comments: