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Federal Interagency Language Roundtable Links Communicative Goals and Pedagogical Knowledge
Language Problems and Language Planning
This publication was prepared with funding from the National Library of Education, Office of Educational Research and Improvement, U.S. Department of Education, under contract no. ED-99-CO-0008. The opinions expressed herein do not necessarily reflect the positions or policies of NLE, OERI, or ED.
This summer, the Federal Interagency Language Roundtable (ILR) hosted the Showcase of Language Learning and Language Use in the Federal Government—the first event hosted by the ILR for a public audience—at the State Department’s Foreign Service Institute in Arlington, Virginia. The ILR, a network of federal, academic, and non-governmental organization language specialists, holds regular monthly meetings in the Washington, DC, area—something it has done for almost 50 years. The July 25 event, however, was a showcase of government language training, testing, and use that was open to government and non-government linguists alike.
The goals of the showcase were numerous, according to the ILR’s coordinator, Dr. Frederick Jackson of the Department of State's School of Language Studies. The ILR, Jackson said, has had a long-time goal of fostering the sharing of knowledge among its members with others. In addition to the regular attendees of monthly ILR plenary meetings, including university faculty, proprietary research institutions such as the Center for Applied Linguistics and the National Foreign Language Center, staff of the court systems, and staff of private schools such as Language Learning Enterprises, International Center for Language Studies, InLingua, Diplomatic Language Services, and the Comprehensive Language Center, the showcase organizers specifically reached out to a number of other groups. These included senior government managers and decision-makers in the State Department, Department of Defense, Central Intelligence Agency, Department of Education, and Federal Bureau of Investigation, as well as Congressional staffers for representatives with an interest in language needs. Other invitees included National Language Resource Center faculty, leaders in national and local professional associations, such as the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL), the Modern Language Association (MLA), and Washington Area Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages (WATESOL), and representatives of foreign language K–12 Education from school districts in Virginia, Maryland, and the District of Columbia. The showcase was attended by more than 500 people.
The showcase provided an opportunity for government linguists and language educators to gather and share their work and to become aware of the tremendous range of excellent resources for language learning and language teaching from non-government institutions such as Satellite Communication for Learning (SCOLA) and the National Foreign Language Resource Centers. The showcase also aimed to make educators in K–12 and at the university level more aware of government foreign language needs and what the government is doing to address those needs.
The showcase also made it possible to show what the government is doing to "influence bright young people interested in government to focus more on languages," said Jackson. The ILR felt it was important to show senior decision makers in the national government what the government language community is doing to address critical national language needs. The showcase also helped make government language users and educators aware of some high-priority language-related needs, such as training to high proficiency levels, enhancing the value of immersion activities, training of translators and interpreters, dealing with machine translation, meeting the needs of Arabic and Central Asian language teachers and learners, creating effective public diplomacy, using the latest distance learning techniques, and learning languages as a career-long activity.
These concerns reflect the issues that are being emphasized right now by federal and national agencies. Secretary of State Collin Powell has initiated and Congress has approved the Diplomatic Readiness Hiring Initiative, which allows the State Department to increase the number of employees hired, as well as the time to train them. In the spring of 2002, the U.S. General Accounting Office presented testimony to the Subcommittee on International Security, Proliferation, and Federal Services, Committee on Government Affairs about the need for advanced and specific language needs in agencies within the U.S. government and military.
Addressing the U.S.’s defense language needs has been a chief focus for many organizations since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. This November, the theme of the American Council for the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) annual convention is "Building Our Strength Through Language: A National Priority." The conference will focus on three core issues—developing a national education policy for languages, promoting heritage language learning in the United States, and establishing a national agenda for language research. Since 9/11, the enrollment in Arabic and other Middle Eastern language courses has been on the rise at government language learning institutions such as the Defense Language Institute and the USDA Graduate School. Jumps in enrollment have also taken place at many universities and in both public and private K–12 institutions (Morrison, 2003). This past summer, the National Capital Language Resource Center offered two institutes on teaching Arabic as a foreign language as well as a 3-week course in Iraqi Colloquial Arabic. In July 2002, the National Foreign Language Center (NFLC) awarded grants to four institutions to initiate the National Security Education Program's National Flagship Language Initiative Pilot Program. Each grant recipient will provide resources to further the development of curriculum and programming designed to provide professionals with high levels of proficiency in languages critical to U.S. national security.
At monthly Interagency Language Roundtable meetings, members often discuss exactly such topics, explained Jackson. Hosting the showcase brought these concerns to a much bigger audience and on a much grander scale, he said.
Presentations throughout the ILR showcase event emphasized the need for better and more advanced levels of foreign language proficiency. A plenary presented by Heidi Byrnes of Georgetown University and Katherine A. Sprang of the Foreign Service Institute (FSI) discussed strategies to foster advanced literacy skills in a second language. Andrew Cohen, director of the Center for Advanced Research on Language Acquisition (CARLA) at the University of Minnesota, presented a plenary on the center's activities, including its research findings about second-language acquisition, particularly strategies-based instruction and incorporating pragmatic knowledge into language learning.
Throughout the day, several Foreign Service Institute languages were taught in mini-lessons, giving participants the opportunity to learn a few crucial linguistic features of languages such as Armenian, Dari, and Swahili. Other federal organizations and research centers, such as the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Central Intelligence Agency's Intelligence Language Institute, and the Defense Language Institute, presented information about their language-teaching programs.
In his address, "Introducing the Language Continuum Concept: A Strategic Plan and Notional Roadmap for Foreign Language Learning and Use," Ambassador Michael Lemmon, the Dean of the School of Language Studies at the Foreign Service Institute, discussed the FSI’s Language Continuum. This plan was developed as a response to a need for the interagency community to band together to face language challenges, to collaborate to find more effective ways of addressing a common mission and shared challenges, and to better recruit, train, assign, retain, and further develop a cadre of professionals with the language capabilities that are needed. According to Lemmon, the Department of State stipulates that the ability to use a foreign language to conduct the business of the United States is the hallmark of the successful Foreign Service Officer. During his presentation, Lemmon emphasized the importance of being able to communicate internationally with superior foreign language skills. The FSI’s Continuum, said Lemmon, weaves together language training offered by FSI/Washington, overseas field schools, a range of post language and distance learning programs worldwide, and language partnerships with select educational institutions overseas.
Glenn Nordin, Assistant Director, Intelligence Policy (Language), U.S. Department of Defense, noted that the Foreign Service Institute has made "outstanding meeting facilities and management services available to the ILR," supported by Ambassador Lemmon, Dean John Campbell, and Dr. Jackson. Their support, he said, "has been the stimulus for growth in participation, encouraged and ensured qualitative improvement in plenary and committee sessions, and forged working bonds across academic, government, and the language service industry."
Jackson, too, mentioned the level of support the ILR has received and said there was a very positive reaction to the showcase event. The National Cryptologic School of the National Security Agency will likely host the next such event in the summer of 2005. "Our aim is to be as inclusive as possible in both attendees and presenters, within the constraints of space, time, and other resources," said Jackson.
Morrison, S. (December 2001). 9/11 brings defense language needs into focus. ERIC/CLL Language Link. ERIC Clearinghouse on Languages and Linguistics.
ERIC/CLL gratefully acknowledges Frederick Jackson of the Department of State School of Language Studies and Glenn Nordin of the Department of Defense for their valuable assistance in writing this article.
Language Problems and Language Planning
In each issue of ERIC/CLL Language Link, we feature one or more of the journals that have been abstracted and indexed for Current Index to Journals in Education (CIJE), the ERIC database's index to education-related journals. In this issue, we profile Language Problems and Language Planning.
Language Problems and Language Planning is published three times a year in cooperation with the Center for Research and Documentation on World Language Problems. Articles are primarily on political, sociological, and economic aspects of language and language use. The journal is particularly concerned with language communities and with the adaptation of language for international use. Articles deal with language policy, management, and use in international organizations and theoretical studies on global communication, language interaction, and language conflict.
Recent articles include:
Recent foreign language education policies in Palestine (Vol. 27, No. 3, 2003)
Communication as source and motivator of language evolution (Vol. 27, No. 3, 2003)
Arabic language planning in the age of globalization (Vol. 26, No. 3, 2002)
Predicting challenges to English as a global language in the 21st century (Vol. 26, No. 2, 2002)
Addressing counterterrorism: US literacy in languages and international affairs (Vol. 26, No. 1, 2002)
You can search online for articles from this and other journals indexed in Current Index to Journals in Education.
You can recognize journal abstracts in the ERIC database by their "EJ" prefix followed by a six-digit number. ERIC abstracts can be read at ERIC centers in libraries in the United States and overseas, as well as on the Web.
Subscriptions to the journals indexed in ERIC can be obtained from the publishers. Individual articles from many journals are available from the article reproduction service ingenta: 800-296-2221; www.ingenta.com; firstname.lastname@example.org
New ERIC/CLL Digests
Parents who are considering an immersion program for their child usually have many questions. ERIC/CLL's newest digest, What Parents Want to Know About Foreign Language Immersion Programs, provides introductory responses to some of the questions most commonly posed by parents.
Strategy Training for Second Language Learners, by Andrew Cohen, discusses the goals of strategy training, highlights approaches to such training, and lists steps for designing strategy training programs.
In Professional Development for Language Teachers, Gabriel H. Diaz-Maggioli explores several different professional development activities school districts are now using to meet the diverse needs of their teachers.
New Resource Guides Online
NCLE's newest FAQ offers resources for new practitioners in adult ESL. The FAQ describes four crucial issues related to teaching adult English language learners—principles of adult learning, second language acquistion, issues related to culture, and instructional approaches that support language development in adults.
Effective Ways to Support Them Literacy-Level Learners
NCLE's new Q & A Working With Literacy-Level Adult English Language Learners describes literacy-level learners, examines the skills they need to develop, and discusses the appropriate scope of literacy-level classes, as well as activities and techniques to support them.
The Summer 2003 issue of NCLEnotes summarizes Issues and Challenges in Assessment and Accountability for Adult English Learners, a symposium hosted by NCLE this spring. The "Her NCLE's Worth" column features Inaam Mansoor, the director of the Arlington Education and Employment Program (REEP), who retired in May after 27 years.
This new NCLE brief identifies advantages and challenges in using video-based education for adult English language learners, describes implementation alternatives, and suggests practical implementation strategies. Authors Sylvia Ramirez and K. Lynn Savage describe video-based delivery systems that have been successful in their own programs.
Four New Picture Stories on Adult ESL Health Literacy Now Available Online
Adult ESL educator Kate Singleton has added four downloadable picture stories to NCLE's online health literacy collection. The new stories deal with depression, proper medicine dosage, and nutrition and exercise issues for adults and children. The stories include background information, specific teaching instructions, and related online resources.
The Center for Research on Education, Diversity & Excellence (CREDE)
Building Partnerships with Latino Immigrant Parents (Practitioner Brief #6)
This brief discusses research findings on Latino immigrant parents' attitudes towards their children's education, lessons learned from CREDE projects in which these parents participated, and implications for instruction.
New Titles in Five Standards for Effective Pedagogy CD-ROM Series
Teaching Alive for the 21st Century: The Five Standards for Effective Pedagogy in Elementary Settings
Teaching Alive for the 21st Century: The Five Standards for Effective Pedagogy in Secondary Settings
The Early Childhood Literacy Case: Balanced Literacy Approaches for Second Language Students
The Lucia Villarreal Case: Literacy Practices in a Bilingual Classroom
The Second Language Literacy Case: Bilingual Students’ Literacy Development
The Adolescent Literacy Case: Teaching Second Language Students Content Through Literacy Development
These easy-to-navigate CD-ROMs present a research-based pedagogy for professional development. Educators watch classroom footage of exemplary teachers with narration by expert voices. The format allows users to customize their own lessons. Titles in this series are available to order through the CALstore.
National Council of Organizations of Less Commonly Taught Languages (NCOLCTL)
NCOLCTL 2004 Conference
National Council of Organizations of Less Commonly Taught Languages (NCOLCTL) 2004 Conference, “Identifying Individual and National Needs in the Less Commonly Taught Languages"
NCOLCTL Seventh Annual National Conference
April 30 - May 2, 2004
University of Wisconsin-Madison
A call for proposals will be posted soon.
INQUIRIES: Dr. Antonia Schleicher, President NCOLCTL
National African Language Resource Center (NALRC)
4231 Humanities Bldg.
455 N. Park Street
Madison, WI 53706
Tel: 608-265-7906. Fax: 608-265-7904
The National Capital Language Resource Center (NCLRC)
Elementary Immersion Learning Strategies Guide
This guide to incorporating learning strategies into an existing immersion curriculum in Grades K–6 comes complete with explicit learning strategy instruction and sample lesson plans and is now available for $13.50. Visit http://www.nclrc.org/eilsrg.pdf to view sample pages from the guide. To order a print copy of the guide, email email@example.com.
Portfolio Assessment in the Foreign Language Classroom
NCLRC's Portfolio Assessment in the Foreign Language Classroom is a complete guide with downloadable organizers, rubrics, and planners. This free, Web-based tutorial is designed to guide educators in creating and implementing a standards-based, foreign language portfolio assessment tied to their own curricula. A print version of this manual is also available for $8.00.
The Language Resource
Published monthly by the NCLRC, this free email newsletter aims to provide practical teaching strategies, share insights from research, and announce professional development opportunities for foreign language educators of all levels. For your free subscription, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL)
TESOL and McGraw Hill Education have entered into a partnership to write and publish EFL content standards and teacher performance standards for Chinese primary and secondary schools in collaboration with a cross-section of Chinese educators. The partnership is designed to address the need to train over two million additional EFL teachers in China in the next decade.
Commission on English Language Program Accreditation (CEA)
CEA wins recognition from the U.S. Department of Education
The Commission on English Language Program Accreditation (CEA) announced on June 10 that it has won recognition from the U.S. Department of Education as an official accrediting body for intensive English programs in the United States. CEA was recommended to receive a 2-year recognition, which is the longest period awarded to initial applicants. For more information on CEA, visit their Web site.
National Association for Bilingual Education (NABE)
NABE is proud to announce the 2004 Nationwide Writing Contest for bilingual students. This is the 23rd anniversary of NABE's highly successful and popular student essay program. This year, eligible bilingual students throughout the country have an opportunity to submit essays on the topic, "Proud To Be Bilingual."
This competition is open to those who completed their doctoral dissertation in the field of bilingual education between June 1, 2000, and August 1, 2003, and are members of the National Association for Bilingual Education. Studies using any research approach (historical, experimental, survey, etc.) are eligible. Each study will be assessed in light of the research approach used, the scholarly quality of the dissertation, and the significance of its contribution to knowledge in the bilingual education field.
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