Presentation on theme: "Building the Foreign Language Capacity We Need: Toward a Comprehensive Strategy for a National Foreign Language Framework Frederick H. Jackson National."— Presentation transcript:
Building the Foreign Language Capacity We Need: Toward a Comprehensive Strategy for a National Foreign Language Framework Frederick H. Jackson National Foreign Language Center Margaret E. Malone Center for Applied Linguistics
Overview Well-documented long-standing need for stronger national foreign language capacity Numerous successful individual initiatives Research has identified many characteristics of good language programs BUT: Without overall coordination and articulation, the national need will not be met
Purpose of this Paper There is a critical national need for skilled speakers of languages other than English. The need is not new. It has been recognized and documented for more than fifty years in reports of high-level commissions, published analytical studies, and testimony by government and private figures before both houses of Congress, reports in national and local news media, and in a major presidential initiative. As a result of 21st century economic globalization and international terrorism, it has never been more urgent to develop American citizens who fully understand and can communicate effectively with people of other cultures. Although several steps are being taken to begin to address these needs, they are isolated and lack central coordination and accountability; to meet the need requires a comprehensive long-term national strategy. The purpose of this paper is to describe the needs for speakers of languages other than English in the United States and to recommend the necessary components of a strategy to address those needs.
Needs for speakers of languages other than English Security and diplomacy Commerce and economic development Global perspective and well-educated citizenry Social needs of multi-lingual U.S. population Scholarship and research
But developing professional language expertise requires many years for even skilled learners, and that is typically not happening.
National Research Council Report on Foreign Languages and International Education Knowledge of foreign languages and cultures is increasingly critical for the nations security and its ability to compete in the global marketplace. Language skills and cultural expertise are needed for federal service, for business, for such professions as law, health care, and social work, and for an informed citizenry. (OConnell and Norwood 2007)
National Research Council Report on Foreign Languages and International Education Need for capacity in a broad range of languages Extensive time required for language learning Need to increase K-12 language offerings and enrollments Need to increase the number of trained teachers and learning resources Requirement for appropriate assessment of program outcomes
National Research Council Report on Foreign Languages and International Education Report Conclusion: The Department of Education needs to develop and implement an integrated strategy for foreign language and international education involving both K-12 and higher education, and ideally additional resources. In carrying out this strategy, the department should work closely with its federal partners, state and local education officials, higher education, and national experts; and engage all of its relevant programs, including the Title VI and Fulbright-Hays programs, the Foreign Language Assistance Program, and other Department programs related to foreign language and international education. Such an integrated strategy is needed to enhance national security, help U.S. businesses compete in an increasingly global economy, and broadly educate and inform the nations citizens. (OConnell and Norwood 2007)
Needed: A Comprehensive National Strategy Goals recommended throughout reports and analyses I Foreign Language needs to be a core subject, like mathematics, science, and social studies; all school children need to study and become functionally proficient in another language in addition to English; Language study should ideally begin in elementary school and extend over several years, continuing in articulated fashion without breaks into secondary school, where courses would also articulate with college level offerings; Higher education needs to provide instruction in a wide range of languages, including all languages identified as critical to the nation; Language instruction and direction must be provided at advanced proficiency levels in relevant languages;
Needed: A Comprehensive National Strategy Goals recommended throughout reports and analyses II Language instruction should include opportunity for extended study in a country where the language is spoken natively; Language teachers at all levels must be expert professionals who have strong proficiency in the language and knowledge of the culture as well as professional teaching skills; Regular assessment of student outcomes must be carried out with reliable, valid, and nationally available standard assessment instruments; and Language teaching must build upon learners previous learning, including any knowledge of a heritage language.
Critical requirement for articulation and coordination across language programs [M]any if not most of the problems of foreign language instruction are not the result of poor classroom instructional techniquesa topic to which the profession devotes almost all of its attentionbut of ambiguities and inefficiencies in the organization of foreign language instruction and unanswered questions about its purpose that limit the effectiveness of even the most gifted teacher, using the most effective teaching technology, teaching the brightest students. The problems arise not so much in individual classrooms, but in the way the parts fit together and what language instruction is all about. (Lambert 1990) Achieving the desired goals must ultimately involve every school district and school in the United States and most institutions of higher education, and that will not be possible without national coordination and oversight.
Some current initiatives to address the need Some current initiatives to address the need (1/3) Defense Language Transformation Map State Dept. Language Continuum National Security Language Initiative STARTALK NSEP Language Flagship Critical language FLAP grants National Language Service Corps State Dept. overseas scholarships
Some current initiatives to meet the need Some current initiatives to meet the need (2/3) 15 Language Resource Centers National consortia (e.g., SEASSI, SASLI) Local initiatives at all levels Bills supporting legislation to improve language learning
Current initiatives to address the need Current initiatives to address the need (3/3) Strengths Efforts for pK-12 Focus on critical languages Focus on advanced levels Recognition of importance of language Challenges: the lack of-- Coordination across efforts Communication within field and outside of field Absence of outcomes-based assessment
Components of effective language education Survey data Importance of assessment Research
Data on Present US Foreign Language Programs and Their Outcomes Information from surveys: * Post-secondary Foreign Language Enrollments *K-12 Foreign Language Enrollments *Articulation between Secondary School and College
Higher education language enrollments in some critical languages: 2002 and 2006
Assessment of Language Ability and Achievement Nationally …without regular assessment against standards, there is no accountability among programs and so it is not possible to identify and implement necessary changes. (Jensen 2007)
Research Evidence on Optimizing Language Program Effectiveness Research Evidence on Optimizing Language Program Effectiveness (1/2) 1 Extended, uninterrupted study 2 Extended time in immersion environment 3 Length of time for L1 English speakers to learn languages varies 4 Continuous, articulated study that builds on previous learning 5 Competence and skill of instructor
Research Evidence on Optimizing Language Program Effectiveness Research Evidence on Optimizing Language Program Effectiveness (2/2) 6 Small class size 7 Articulation requires systemic assessment of progress and maintenance of records 8 Focus on language and cultural content and functional ability at all levels 9 Heritage learners have different needs 10 Exploit technology whenever appropriate
Summary and Conclusions Commitments Needed from the Field Recommendations for focused federal support and coordination
Field Requirements Base educational practice on reliable information and empirical research; Identify clients and potential learners beyond the traditional ones; Envision the end-goal as broader than foreign language education, including cultural and international studies as core components in development of a global competence; Think more broadly than university and federal programs and explicitly include pre-kindergarten through Grade 12 education; Reform curricula to ensure continuity and articulation at all levels, from early childhood through adulthood Develop intensive teacher education and expedited certification programs to produce skilled teachers with advanced proficiency in the language and culture of instruction; Create a longterm sustainable national framework for foreign language education and international studies that integrates and coordinates efforts and is flexible and responsive to learners and other stakeholders
Recommendations Reaffirm in words and actions that foreign language is a core subject Pass HR 5179 Establish and maintain a national program of language assessment Establish new teacher education programs and support existing ones
Foreign Language is Core Mandate regular K-20 record collection of data on languages, levels and enrollments Substantially Increase-- FLAS Grants for graduate and undergraduate IRS base funding and number of grants Funding for NRCs, with requirement of 4 years minimum instruction in critical LCTLs Base funding for current LRCs and additional funding for new LRCs Continue to support current NSLI initiatives
Pass HR 5179: The International Leadership Act of 2008 Establish Assistant Secretary for Foreign Language and International Education Coordinate language efforts K-12 and higher education Consult closely with stakeholders and professional providers Report annually to Congress
Establish and Maintain a National Program of Language Assessment Administer the Foreign Language National Assessment of Educational Progress Where possible, use existing assessment tools Where necessary, develop new reliable, valid and practical assessment tools
Establish new teacher development programs and support existing ones Fast-track certification for high-level, culturally proficient individuals Enable ALL language instructors to develop a minimum language competency Provide existing teachers with regular and frequent opportunities for continued growth, including overseas immersion