Recently, Dr. Lisa Frumkes, Senior Director for Language Learning at Rosetta Stone, had the opportunity to attend and present at Advocacy Days, a meeting hosted by the Joint National Committee for Languages and National Council for Languages and International Studies (JNCL-NCLIS).
This meeting is a gathering of some of the nation’s leaders in the language learning space, representing major associations, government offices, and other stakeholders. It may be the best place to get a pulse on where language learning is heading in the US.
There was a primary focus on bringing language learning to students earlier in their education careers. A hot topic of discussion was groups like the National Network for Early Language Learning, who are working hard to advocate for bringing language opportunities to our youngest students, where it could be of the most benefit.
Marty Abbott, Executive Director of the American Council for the Teaching of Foreign Language, updated the group on the progress of the Commission on Language Learning, a national effort from the American Academy of Arts & Sciences.This commission has the goal of being a primary source of thought leadership in the language learning arena and can be of particular value as the country sets its goals for K-12 language learning.
Dr. Frumkes’s own presentation was based around specialized language learning content for specific purposes. These products go beyond the basic language skills and present specialized vocabulary and situations that learners may encounter in their career. Although this has been important for corporate learning, we are also starting to see more colleges and K-12 educators interested in having their students prepared for specific careers. This only makes sense as career preparedness is a central goal of every state’s educational standards.
She also met with leaders in the Department of Education and on Capitol Hill, all of whom admired the work being done in the nation’s schools to prepare our students for a world in which language skills and cultural competency are more important than ever. They view the work of language educators as vital for national and economic security.
Overall, Dr. Frumkes came away from the meeting heartened by the work that is being done on the national level for language educators across the country. The field is in good hands and is stronger than ever.