Foreign Language Education

As the world becomes increasingly interconnected through the processes of globalization, proficiency in more than one language is critical for business, trade, diplomacy, and to promote international cooperation, mutual understanding, and respect. For students, learning more than one language can enrich their academic and life experiences and open doors to opportunities Thus, it is important to become proficient in other languages. For individuals, research points to the strong cognitive benefits of language learning while knowledge of more than one language provides a strong advantage for career advancement.

The need for skilled speakers of languages other than English has been studied and discussed for more than fifty years at various levels of government and the private sector. Despite these concerns, foreign language offerings in schools have decreased and student enrollment in foreign languages has declined. This does not bode well for the ability of the K-12 system to meet the foreign language proficiency needs of the U.S. On the other hand, in schools where foreign languages are taught, more schools teach Arabic and Chinese than before, reflecting the security and economic priorities of the country. 

Despite the one in five Americans who report speaking a language other than English at home, vital heritage language resources are being underutilized or lost. CAL continues to make promoting a multilingual U.S. society the focus of many of our efforts, working to support effective language programs through research and program evaluation, information dissemination and resource sharing. Through our work in foreign and dual language education and our support of community and language programs, we are committed to making resources available to promote language learning and cultural understanding.

Resources, News, and Events

Related Projects

Assessment and Evaluation Language Resource Center (AELRC)
Assessment and Evaluation Language Resource Center (AELRC)

Funder: U.S. Department of Education

Computerized Oral Proficiency Instrument (COPI) Test Administration Project
Computerized Oral Proficiency Instrument (COPI) Test Administration Project

Funder: U.S. Department of Education, International Research and Studies Program

National K-12 Foreign Language Survey
National K-12 Foreign Language Survey

Funder: U.S. Department of Education, International Research and Studies Program

Promoting Oral Proficiency Gain in Study Abroad Homestay Placements
Promoting Oral Proficiency Gain in Study Abroad Homestay Placements

Funder: U.S. Department of Education

STARTALK
STARTALK

Funder: U.S. Department of Defense, via subcontract from the University of Maryland, National Foreign Language Center

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Services

Evaluation and Program Design Services

CAL offers evaluation and program design services to schools, districts, and other institutions that are planning or implementing programs for language learners.

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The Center for Applied Linguistics is a nonprofit organization promoting access, equity, and mutual understanding for linguistically and culturally diverse people around the world.