The Defense Language Institute (DLI) is a United States Department of Defense (DoD) educational and research institution, which provides linguistic and cultural instruction to the Department of Defense, other Federal Agencies and numerous and varied other customers. The DLI is responsible for the Defense Language Program, and the bulk of the Defense Language Institute's activities involve educating DOD members in assigned languages. Other functions include planning, curriculum development, and research in second-language acquisition.
As a Staff Operations and Training Specialist with the Department of the Navy working in the Language Resource Center I am responsible for a myriad of tasks. These include issuing written and oral instructions to prospective students, guidance materials and furnishing informative material for the preparation of foreign language classes, examinations, and schedules. One of my assignments is to coordinate and create an annual Satellite Video Training and Mobile Training Team schedule with DLI in Presidio of Monterey, California. I am also the training lead for information on new classes and new location rollouts.
The schedule needed to include classes for a range of proficiency levels of all linguistic instructors and students, with a focus on Russian, Arabic, Persian Farsi, Serbian-Croatian, Spanish, Chinese and Korean. There were approximately 45 instructors, and I coordinated up to 30 week-long classes and 10 onsite classes, per year, for more than 500 students. I was also responsible for tracking training requests and history, coordinating training with outside vendors, and providing written input in department memos and updates.
One of the challenges in creating this yearly schedule was the distance between my office at the Naval Air Station Brunswick, Brunswick, Maine and DLI in California. This challenge required that all planning and coordination was accomplished through correspondence in writing via email or orally via telephone. I was also required to coordinate via email and telephone with the actual language instructors from DLI regarding what level of curriculum they would be teaching for their classes. If the instructors were scheduled for onsite training, I was required to correspond with them regarding needed supplies, and required teaching technology they would need to instruct the class.
The biggest challenge I had to overcome was not only reserving the class and instructors through DLI, but ensuring there was a class of linguist students at the Naval Air Station Brunswick who would be at a point in their curriculum that they could take a week off to come to our center for training. To ensure enrollment, I sent out emails to all linguistic instructors indicating what classes were available from DLI, and asking if they would be available and interested in attending a class. I also stressed in my communications to the instructors that once they requested a class and I reserved it, that they were committed to attending, or paying for the class.
By utilizing my verbal and oral communication skills, I was effectively able to ensure all information exchanged was accurate, and that all linguistic curriculum needs were met. As a result, I could then reserve time slots and classes based on their availability. Based on my effective use of written and verbal communications, a schedule for calendar year 2006 and a jump start on the scheduling process for the next year's classes. Because other U.S. Naval bases around the world use this service, class times are scheduled and reserved months ahead of time. After implementing the scheduling system we were better able to evaluate our needs and reserve classes from DLI sooner.
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