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Language Link

December 1999

Previous issue

Feature Article
New Visions for the Next Millennium

Language Policy Update

Journal Review
Foreign Language Annals

News Corner

This publication was prepared with funding from the Office of Educational Research and Improvement, U.S. Department of Education, National Library of Education, under contract no. ED-99-CO-0008. The opinions expressed herein do not necessarily reflect the positions or policies of OERI, ED, or NLE.

Feature Article

New Visions for the Next Millennium

Kathleen Marcos, ERIC Clearinghouse on Languages and Linguistics

We enter a new millennium with great hope for the future of foreign language learning. Public perception that foreign language learning is advantageous and important, the development of national standards, advances in technology, and greater collaboration among leaders in the field are among the developments during the 1990s that make this a time of great promise for foreign language learning in the United states.

As always, political and economic concerns play a major role in the nation's perception of the value of learning a second language. In addition, there is a growing appreciation of the role that multilingual individuals can play in an increasingly diverse society. There is also a greater understanding of the academic and cognitive benefits of learning other languages.


In the past five years in particular, researchers, policymakers, educators, employers, parents, and the media have reexamined the advantages of foreign language learning. New materials and resources are available for foreign language learning thanks to the explosion of Web and Internet technologies. Teachers, administrators, researchers, and parents readily communicate problems and solutions through listservs and chat groups. Web sites with instructional materials, training opportunities, and advocacy information abound. Anyone with a computer can download a vast array of resources to improve, set-up, or advocate for a foreign language program.

Early in the 1990s, Goals 2000 legislation identified foreign languages as part of the core curriculum. An important result was the establishment of the National Standards in Foreign Language Education Project, a collaborative effort by the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (, the American Association of Teachers of French (, the American Association of Teachers of German (, and the American Association of Teachers of Spanish and Portuguese ( The 1996 report of the Project, Standards for Foreign Language Learning: Preparing for the 21st Century, was a turning point in the national conversation about language teaching, for the first time setting forth national standards to guide teachers and administrators in their mission to help students become multilingual.

In sum, the strides made throughout the 1990s hold great promise for the next decade and beyond.


Foreign language professionals, policymakers, parents, and others will take us forward, expanding upon the gains made throughout the 1990s. The future may bring a proudly multilingual United States, where second language proficiency is valued more than ever before. Schools, school districts, teacher preparation institutions, professional organizations, parents, and students can work together to make this vision a reality.

One project that has already begun is aimed at shaping the future work of the foreign language field. "New Visions in Foreign Language Teaching," sponsored by the National K–12 Foreign Language Resource Center (NFLRC) at Iowa State University ( and the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL)(, is an initiative that will bring key stakeholders together to move the field into the next century.

New Visions in Foreign Language Teaching

The purpose of the meetings, papers, and conferences that constitute this initiative is to address the questions below.

What would it take to . . .

To begin answering these questions, ACTFL and the Iowa State NFLRC formed a steering committee for the New Visions initiative. Members appointed to the committee were Myriam Met, Deborah Parks, June Phillips, Marcia Rosenbusch, Elizabeth Hoffman, Ed Scebold, Emily Spinelli, and Ann Tollefson. In June 1999, this group met in Atlanta with 40 key leaders drawn from national, regional, and state-level organizations to explore the organizing question, "What could we do?" Attendees represented a variety of languages and educational levels (K-16) and reflected a range of years of service in the foreign language profession. Participants discussed what the profession might do about such critical issues as the creation and assessment of curricular models, teacher recruitment and preparation, and professional development. A series of issue papers on the topics investigated at the June meeting was written; drafts of the issue papers were sent to a Board of Reviewers composed of persons nominated by foreign language associations.

The planning meeting, facilitated by a specialist in change management, laid the groundwork for a series of action-oriented conferences that will be aimed at achieving the following goals: (1) identify what the profession can do; (2) set priorities for the investment of time, energy, and resources; and (3) solicit the commitment of individuals, organizations, and associations to specific action steps that will allow the profession to work in a collaborative, unified, and non-duplicative way toward agreed-upon goals. The meeting concluded with a list of possible next steps.

The list of next steps was distributed for review at a special session held at the November 1999 ACTFL conference. New Visions was also the main focus of the ACTFL delegate assembly.

All foreign language professional associations were invited to nominate a representative for New Visions and were either represented at the planning meeting or will be represented on the Board of Reviewers. The Board of Reviewers is currently responding to the draft papers produced at the June 1999 meeting and will serve as a continuing source of feedback and input throughout the three-year process.

The next phase of the New Visions project is a meeting of the steering committee, to be held in Chicago in January 2000. A national priorities conference open to the field will be held in Leesburg, Virginia, in mid-June.

To receive information about the upcoming conference or copies of the draft papers, contact ACTFL at 914-963-8330,, or, or contact the Iowa State NFLRC at 515-294-6699,, or

(The information presented here about the New Visions initiative is based in part on an article by Myriam Met, New Visions in Foreign Language Education. This article appeared in Center News, the newsletter of the Iowa State University National K–12 Foreign Language Resource Center (


Great strides in public perception of the personal, cognitive, and societal benefits of second language learning, the explosion of Internet technologies, and the publication of national standards for foreign language learning are among the developments that have fueled change in the field of foreign language learning. Focused and strategic collaboration among key stakeholders to shape professional development, teaching, learning, and policy promises a bright beginning for the Year 2000.



Language Policy Update

On November 29, 1999, President Clinton signed into law P.L. 106-113, consolidating appropriations for fiscal year 2000. This Act funds a number of Federal agencies, including the Department of Education, for fiscal year 2000 (October 1, 1999 through September 30, 2000). The budget for the Foreign Language Assistance Program (FLAP) was increased from $6 million to $8 million. The Office of Bilingual Education and Minority Languages Affairs (OBEMLA) is expected to receive $406 million. More information about the budget, as well as side-by-side comparisons of major changes to current law proposed by the Administration and House-passed bills to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA), can be read at

The Joint National Committee for Languages (JNCL) offers legislative updates at its Web site ( Visit the What's New section for news about budget issues, national language policy, professional activities, grants and funding, and for federal notices (

Journal Review

Foreign Language Annals

In each issue of ERIC/CLL Language Link, we feature one or more of the journals that we abstract and index for Current Index to Journals in Education (CIJE), the ERIC database's monthly index to education-related journals.

In this issue, our journal review profiles Foreign Language Annals.


Foreign Language Annals (ISSN 0015-718X) is a quarterly refereed journal dedicated to advancing all phases of the profession of foreign language teaching and seeks primarily to serve the interests of teachers, administrators, and researchers. Articles describe innovative and successful teaching methods, report educational research or experimentation, or are relevant in other ways to the concerns and problems of the profession. Recent articles in Foreign Language Annals have included "Developing Foreign Language Frameworks: An Evaluation Study," "Word Processing and WWW Projects in a College Japanese Class," "But Will I Ever Use the Foreign Language? Student Perceptions of the Applicability of Foreign Language Skills," "Foreign Language Anxiety and Learning Style," and "Study Abroad and Experiential Learning in Salzburg, Austria." Foreign Language Annals is published by the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL). To subscribe, contact ACTFL at 914-963-8830,, or 6 Executive Plaza, Yonkers, NY 10701-6801.

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 World Wide Web ( Subscriptions to the journals can be obtained from the publishers; individual articles from many journals are available through the following reprint services:

UMI ProQuest Direct

The UnCover Company

You may also wish to contact your local university or research library.


News from ERIC/CLL

Foreign Language Instruction in the United States: A National Survey of Elementary and Secondary Schools by Nancy C. Rhodes and Lucinda E. Branaman is the latest book in our Language in Education series. This book presents the results of a national survey of foreign language programs conducted by the Center for Applied Linguistics. To order, contact Delta Systems at 800-323-8270 or visit the Delta Web site at

ERIC/CLL Director Joy Kreeft Peyton co-authored Literacy Development in Network-Based Classrooms: Innovation and Realizations, which appeared in the December 1999 issue of International Journal of Education Technology. This article discusses the use of electronic communication networks to foster literacy development. The article can be read online at

ERIC/CLL has just wrapped up data collection for its first annual Customer Satisfaction Survey. Results of the survey will be announced in upcoming issues of ERIC/CLL Language Link.

Our latest Resource Guide Online are Resources for Teaching Spanish to Spanish Speakers ( and Resources for Two-Way (Dual) Immersion ( Resource Guides Online provide links to Web sites, publications, listservs, conferences, and other resources on topics of current interest. For a complete list, see

We have recently published a number of new digests. All are available at our Web site. New digests and corresponding URLs follow:

Print copies may be obtained from ERIC/CLL at 1-800-276-9834 or

We now provide links to information about the books in our Language in Education series via our electronic publications list.

News from NCLE

This fall the National Clearinghouse for ESL Literacy Education (NCLE) published a Question & Answer Digest entitled Refugees as English Language Learners: Issues and Concerns. Digests due out in December include Native Language Literacy and ESL Instruction and Using Poetry in the Adult ESL Classroom. Also available from NCLE is a paper entitled ESL Research Agenda (in English and Spanish). The digests and paper are available by calling NCLE at (202) 362-0700, extension 200; sending an email message to; or visiting NCLE's website at

News from ERIC and the U.S. Department of Education

The ERIC Program Office has commissioned five papers to examine specific aspects of the ERIC system's operation:

  • Mission, Structure, and Resources

  • Database and Operational Processes

  • Use of Technology in the ERIC System

  • User Services

  • Products and Information Dissemination

ERIC/CLL will provide links and ordering information when the papers are available.

The ERIC Clearinghouse on Assessment and Evaluation (ERIC/AE) publishes an online journal, Practical Assessment, Research, and Evaluation in conjunction with the Department of Measurement, Statistics, and Evaluation at the University of Maryland. For more information, visit

The Office of Bilingual Education and Minority Languages Affairs (OBEMLA) is seeking field readers for grant applications. Please contact Ki Lee at 202-205-8730 or Trini Torres at 202-205-0719 for more information.

The following items appeared in ERICNews, a bimonthly electronic newsletter published by ACCESS ERIC. To subscribe, send the command SUBSCRIBE ERICNEWS FIRSTNAME LASTNAME (for example, SUBSCRIBE ERICNEWS JOHN SMITH) in the body of the message to

The ERIC Clearinghouse on Disabilities and Gifted Education (ERIC/EC) has published its Fall 1999 issue of Research Connections, a review of proven school-based research in special education. The latest issue, Universal Design: Ensuring Access to the General Education Curriculum, is available by contacting the Clearinghouse at 1-800-328-0272.

The ERIC Clearinghouse on Higher Education (ERIC/HE) recently added information about college degrees and Carnegie classification to its Frequently Asked Questions. Review the new FAQs at

The ERIC Clearinghouse on Reading, English, and Communication (ERIC/CS) has added to its Web site an extensive compilation of links related to children's literature. For more information, contact

The ERIC Clearinghouse on Rural Education and Small Schools (ERIC/RC) has been hosting a series of chats with book authors. The next scheduled discussion, with the authors of Place Value: An Educator's Guide to Literature on Rural Lifeways, Environments, and Purposes of Education, will be held in January 2000. For more information or to sign up to participate, visit the ERIC/RC Web site at

The Information Institute of Syracuse at Syracuse University, the organization that operates the ERIC Clearinghouse on Information Technology (ERIC/IT) won the EdNET 99 Pioneer Award for its outstanding contributions to educational technology. Past winners of this prestigious award have included MicroSoft, NASA Classroom of the Future, and Apple Computer. A committee of independent judges selects the winner from a pool of nationwide nominations. Learn more about the Institute's work by contacting the ERIC Clearinghouse on Information Technology at

More information about ERIC is reported in the ERIC Users' Interchange, also published by ACCESS ERIC. Issues can be read at or you can call 1-800-LET-ERIC (538-3742) for a subscription.

News from Our Colleagues

The American Association of Teachers of Spanish and Portuguese (AATSP) co-sponsored a national forum on "The Future of Spanish Departments on College and University Campuses" in September. Other sponsors were Amherst College, Hampshire College, Mount Holyoke College, Smith College, the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, and Five Colleges, Incorporated. Information about the forum is available from AATSP at

Also from AATSP is a new Video Resource Library for all AATSP members.

The American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) provides ordering information for the new language-specific standards document, Standards for Foreign Language Learning in the 21st Century, at its Web site,

The Center for Research on Education, Diversity & Excellence (CREDE) ( has just published The Sheltered Instruction Observation Protocol: A Tool for Teacher-Researcher Collaboration and Professional Development by Deborah Short & Jana Echevarria (1999). To read more about this report or to order a copy, visit the CREDE publications Web site at the Center for Applied Linguistics (

Long Island University has begun publishing "Educators for Urban Minorities," a new journal with five scholarly papers, a short section on work in progress, and a book review section. To subscribe, contact Gladys Schrynemakers at the following address: Long Island University Press, One University Plaza, RM M301, Brooklyn, NY 11201 or fax your request to 718-780-4045.

The Modern Language Association of America (MLA) has released the results of its 1998 survey of U.S. enrollment in foreign language studies at the higher education level. The survey studied 2,763 two- and four-year institutions of higher education, revealing a 4.8% overall increase in enrollment in foreign language courses since 1995. To obtain a copy of the "MLA Foreign Language Registration Survey," call the MLA at 212-614-6319 or send an email message to The final report will be available early in 2000 at the MLA Web site (

Multilingual Matters publishing company offers the latest information on new language and linguistics publications in its online newsletter "Multilingual Matters Books News." To subscribe, send the message SUBSCRIBE LANGUAGE to In addition to book announcements, the newsletter reports on news from Multilingual Matters and provides information on submitting manuscripts for publication. Visit the Multilingual Matters Web site at

The National Foreign Language Center (NFLC) has published the latest in its Policy Issues series, Language and the Department of Defense: Challenges for the 21st Century. To download the PDF version, visit

NCBE Newsline( is a bi-weekly online newsletter from the National Clearinghouse for Bilingual Education at The George Washington University. NCBE Newsline offers timely legislative updates; Department of Education news and publications updates; news from the Regional Laboratories; and information about awards, conferences, and job opportunities in the field of bilingual education. To subscribe, send an email message to In the message type SUBSCRIBE NEWSLINE.

NCBE and The National Council of La Raza are conducting a descriptive study of charter schools that serve limited English proficient (LEP) students. To download an application, visit

Also from NCBE are two new publications: AskNCBE20: "How Many Indigenous American Languages are Spoken in the United States?" and "Implementation of Mother-Tongue Teaching in Hong Kong Secondary Schools: Some Recent Reports." Visit the What's New section of the NCBE Web site at for these and other new items.

The Northeast Conference on the Teaching of Foreign Languages has issued a "Call for Papers" for NECTFL Review. Information about submitting papers is available at

Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) offers an extensive news section at its Web site. Visit for timely articles on issues related to the profession, the Board of Directors, and ongoing projects and initiatives.

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