Nancy Rhodes

Senior Fellow

Nancy Rhodes is a Senior Fellow at the Center for Applied Linguistics (CAL) where she served as director of foreign/world language education for 18 years. She has degrees in Latin American area studies (B.A., Denison University) and sociolinguistics (M.S., Georgetown University).

She has over 30 years of experience working with CAL in the fields of world language education, English as a second language, and multicultural education. Her work includes language education research, professional development training, and elementary and secondary school language program evaluation. In particular, she focuses on helping elementary schools implement proficiency-focused, standards-based language programs in a bilingual setting. Overall goals of her efforts have been to increase the number of elementary schools offering world languages and to develop teacher capacity to improve student language proficiency and academic performance. 

Ms. Rhodes and her team have conducted a series of three U.S. Department of Education-funded national surveys of world language instruction to develop an updated portrait of language teaching across the United States to inform policy and practice. She has been involved in language immersion and content-based language education through district-wide program evaluations, curriculum development projects, and research studies. She began her career overseas teaching English as a foreign language to children and adults at the Centro Cultural Paraguayo-Americano in Asunción, Paraguay. Later, she provided professional development on content-based language instruction to bilingual teachers in Mexico, Venezuela, and India, and ESL writing strategies in Hong Kong.

At Iowa State University, Ms. Rhodes taught Methods in Elementary School World Language Instruction for pre-service and in-service teachers through an online platform. In a six-year federally-funded project at CAL, Ms. Rhodes provided in-service professional development on the integration of language and content instruction, with a focus on science and mathematics, to elementary and middle school teachers in Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia.

Her recent publications include: Elementary School Foreign Language Teaching: Lessons Learned over Three Decades (1980-2010) (Foreign Language Annals, 2014); Demographic Realities, Challenges, and Opportunities in Handbook of Heritage, Community, and Native American Languages in the United States: Research, Policy, and Educational Practice (with M. Fee and T. Wiley, Routledge and CAL, 2014); Language Immersion: Celebrating 40 years of Growth (with D. Christian, J. Garretson, & A. Bruno, CAL, 2011); Foreign Language Instruction in U.S. Schools: Results of a National Survey of Elementary and Secondary Schools (with I. Pufahl, Foreign Language Annals, 2011); and Fostering Foreign Language Proficiency: What the U.S. Can Learn From Other Countries (with D. Christian and I. Pufahl, Phi Delta Kappan, 2005).  

Ms. Rhodes is a founding member, and served as the first Executive Secretary, of the National Network for Early Language Learning, an organization that promotes second language teaching  in elementary schools. She is fluent in Spanish, and has knowledge of Portuguese and Guaraní.