Department of Teaching, Learning and Teacher Education


Date of this Version



Published in Realizing the Potential of Foreign Language Instruction: Selected Papers from 1990 Central States Conference, eds. Gerard L. Ervin, Sharon Watts, and Nile Vernon (Lincolnwood, IL: National Textbook Company), pp. 37- 49.


Copyright © 1990 Central States Conference on the Teaching Foreign Languages.


FLEX is the common acronym used to describe a presequenced Foreign Language EXploratory course ranging in length from six to nine weeks. Such a course is designed to motivate students to pursue foreign language study, to develop their interest in the world and its peoples, and to increase their sensitivity to cultural similarities and differences. There are a variety of FLEX programs in existence (Grittner, 1974). Some are cultural in nature, others emphasize linguistics, and still others are career-based (Strasheim, 1982, p. 60). The FLEX course is usually offered in sixth, seventh, or eighth grade before foreign language study is formally begun and gives the students an introduction to several foreign languages and cultures. This enables students to make a choice of a foreign language at a later time based on experience.