Advocacy in Action

Happy Summer!  Whether you are teaching summer school, traveling with students, taking classes, or finding time to relax and enjoy time with family and friends, it is surely a little diversion from your busy routine during the academic year.  However, we  know that your teacher brain is always thinking of plans and good intentions for the next school year.  We encourage you to include ADVOCACY for World Languages in that list of goals. Below are resources that address the two main tenets of advocacy, namely Be Informed and Take Action.

Be informed:

  • Links mentioned in previous Advocacy in Action columns provide resources that support what you know in your heart to be true about the value of language learning. The ACTFL Advocacy page provides the links to research and data that show the benefits of language learning, including the sub-topics “How does language learning support academic achievement?” “How does language learning provide cognitive benefits to students?” and “How does language learning affect attitudes and beliefs about language learning and about other cultures?”
  • Take time to explore the Lead with Languages website.  ACTFL continues to update and expand this cutting-edge resource.
  • Read what others outside the language teaching profession have to say about the benefits of learning.  Explore the findings in “America’s Languages,” the groundbreaking report from the American Academy of Arts and Sciences’ Commission on Language Learning.
  • Read articles about the connection between learning languages and national security. This essay by Karl Eikenberry, former U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan from May 2009 to July 2011, is a good place to start.  You can also watch the video from June 14, 2017 on the website of the Council of Foreign Relations, in which a panel of experts discuss the value of foreign language learning to U.S national security.

Take Action:

  •  Explore the information and call to action for business on the Lead with Languages website. Reach out to share this information with leaders of local businesses that have global connections.
  • Sign up for the JNCL-NCLIS newsletter  for time-sensitive information and easy steps to take immediate action.
  •  Take five minutes to visit the ACTFL Advocacy Legislative Action Center to review legislative alerts and updates, join the Action E-List to get an alert when your involvement can make a critical difference, or even create a Web Widget to put the “Write to Congress” web sticker on YOUR website.

Thank you for all you do year round to help your students become proficient in another language. “The truth is, in today’s increasingly interconnected and interdependent world, proficiency in other languages is a vital skill that gives you the opportunity to engage with the world in a more immediate and meaningful way—whether in your neighborhood or thousands of miles away—while better preparing you to compete and succeed in the global economy.”

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