Welcome back to school! In the excitement of each new school year, we write optimistic “to do” lists that reflect the very best of our intentions. More than likely, promoting your language program is on that list. In the July E-Voice, WAFLT Advocacy co-chair, Keely Lake, showed us an easily accessible, step-by-step process to remind our top elected officials that languages and language education matter. What a simple, but effective, way to make our voices heard at national and state levels!
In this article, we focus on the value of frequent and on-going communication with all stakeholders at the local level. It is more important than ever in the face of budget shortfalls and other challenges to education that we raise awareness of the importance of learning languages. WAFLT and ACTFL provide links to a wealth of information to help you inform students, parents, colleagues, administrators, school board members, and other community members. Once you are inspired by the resources that are so readily available, you can share the information on your classroom walls, at your class website, in a newsletter to parents, at a school board meeting, with your local newspaper, and more.
WAFLT LINK: www.waflt.org. (Publicity tab) The Discover Languages suggestions for promoting your program are clear and practical. The Postcard and Video contests are exciting ways for your students to get involved in spreading the word. Click on “PR Resources” to find links to an ever-growing list of language resources, as well as a power point presentation that you can use at back-to-school night or share at a school board meeting, and a checklist of action steps to help prevent becoming a “Program in Peril.”
ACTFL LINK: www.actfl.org (Advocacy tab) As the demand for accountability in education has grown, we are often asked to document the benefits of language learning. The sections “Who Benefits” and “What the Research Shows” provide links to the findings of recent research studies. The statements and statistics provide credibility to our passionate discussions about why learning languages is of vital importance, not only for our students, but for our collective future.
You know best what valuable learning experiences are taking place in your classroom. Fortunately technology and social media have made it possible for us to share them with a wide audience more easily. If you aren’t sure how to make the technology work for you, you can surely reach out to a technology support person in your school—or ask your students! We have an important job to do as we advocate for better communication among all people.
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions, concerns, or suggestions regarding public relations for World Languages in your school or community.
TWITTER hashtag: #wafltpr