Language learning is not a nice to have, it's an essential. One in five jobs is linked to international economy."
Mohamed Abdel-Kader, US Department of Education. @GoGlobalEd
Advocating for students In May of 2014 and 2015, I had the wonderful opportunity as the ACTFL Teacher of the Year to discuss issues important to language learners with both Senators from Illinois, Senator Dick Durbin and Senator Mark Kirk. While not every teacher has the opportunity to visit Washington D.C., we all have the opportunity to use our teacher's voice in our community and state to speak up for the importance of language study. LANGUAGE EDUCATION is ACCESS to EMPLOYMENT.
As this page grows, so will its resources on the importance of language education that can be shared with your colleagues, your administrators, your parents and most importantly, your students.
Look for articles to share on the importance of language education and other advocacy resources on the ACTFL Advocacy page.
Learn about your state's need for multilinguals at: http://asiasociety.org/mapping-nation
The graphic to the left is descriptive of my vision for language education. It's a BIG PICTURE: Kindergarten through Higher Ed language experiences that lead to the proficiency use of the language with native speakers. Why K-16? During a 2014 Sabbatical I had the wonderful opportunity to visit immersion and dual-language program that gave me a glimpse of "what could be" for our students. Each level offers unique opportunities to grow as a language user.
The K-8 learner has the opportunity to expand vocabulary across all content areas: math, science and social studies. I observed 3rd graders describing the life cycle of ladybugs in Chinese and 5th graders discussing the economic activity of the thirteen colonies in colonial America in French. I realized that no matter how great a high school curriculum I might teach, my high school Advanced Placement students would never have this breadth of vocabulary.
The 9-12 learner can take an expansive vocabulary and use it to examine, analyze and imagine. Their cognitive abilities and curiosity can be stretched with greater acquisition to authentic resources, allowing them to achieve much higher levels of proficiency than their 9-12 only language learning counterparts.
For the 13-16 college student, the breadth of vocabulary allows them to use their language as a career complement to whatever field they choose to pursue. The 12 years of language study will lead to the kind of proficiency that opens doors of opportunity.
Proud to have presented Senator Mark Kirk with the Central States Conference Paul Simon Award for his support of language education. The Senator recorded this thank you message below for CSCTFL and for all language educators. March 2015.