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Educate the Local Board of Education and Other Local Stakeholders
Often language educators think about standing up for their programs only when the inevitable axe is ready to fall. However, pro-active and ongoing advocacy addressing the benefits of articulated and academic PK-16 language education including multiple languages is much more effective than relying just on reactive or crisis advocacy.
TIP: Get on the agenda for a local board meeting, local PTA meetings, school accountability committee meetings at the district and/or school level, community organizations such as Rotary International. At the postsecondary level, see if you can make a presentation at a meeting of your university’s Board of Trustees. Show clips of your students in action using the language, or invite your students to do a skit, sample class, or some other demonstration using their language skills. In your presentation, show how your program is aligned with local, state and national guidelines and mention the cognitive benefits of language education that can lead to increased overall achievement in school. [Note: You can find this research online at www.DiscoverLanguages.org.] This approach to local stakeholders and decision-makers allows for an objective presentation that validates the current language program or sets the groundwork for program expansion. Above all, know your audience, meet them where they are in terms of their awareness about language learning, and customize your presentation to further their knowledge of the benefits of language education.