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Archive for Friday, July 5, 1991

5LETL LANGUAGE BARRIER

July 5, 1991

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To the Editor:

The June 28, 1991, issue of the Journal-World featured an article by Tim Carpenter headed "Regents tighten English requirement for GTAs" (graduate teaching assistants). I am compelled to comment, mainly because of Del Brinkman's paraphrased statement that it was unjust to target foreign-born instructors as the cause of a student's failure. Of course it is unjust, without good reason. It seems to me that an inadequate command of American English is a very good reason for blaming an instructor or professor for the poor performance of a student who is doing otherwise satisfactory work.

As an undergrad at the University of Pennsylvania, I suffered through a required lecture course in European history taught by an Italian-born professor who spoke American English but couldn't pronounce it. This was an academic nightmare to my classmates and me, because all exams were based solely on his lectures. I almost failed the subject, although I was in the upper 10 percent of my class.

More recently, I have met two KU instructors (rank unknown) and a KU Medical Center staff psychiatrist, all of whom could barely make themselves understood conversationally.

Regent Shirley Palmer, according to your article, allows as how she thinks the problem really exists.

I'll betcha it does, Shirley!

Gene A. Carr,

2111 Kasold.

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