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position statements

The educator is the catalyst for developing learners’ language proficiency and global competence so that learners are prepared to interact and communicate successfully in the global community. Student growth and educator effectiveness are intrinsically connected. The purpose of demonstrating student growth is to show learners’ progress toward higher levels of proficiency while using language in a culturally appropriate manner.

The ability to communicate with respect and cultural understanding in more than one language is an essential element of global competence.* This competence is developed and demonstrated by investigating the world, recognizing and weighing perspectives, acquiring and applying disciplinary and interdisciplinary knowledge, communicating ideas, and taking action. Global competence is fundamental to the experience of learning languages whether in classrooms, through virtual connections, or via everyday experiences.

The ACTFL Board’s Executive Committee with leadership of the National Association of District Supervisors of Foreign Languages (NADSFL) and the National Council of State Supervisors for Languages (NCSSFL) framed the elements of a position statement to describe how four major initiatives in education in the U.S. today connect with language learning.

Maximum Class Size - 05/22/2010
Since the goal of a standards-based language program is to develop students’ ability to communicate, there must be opportunities for frequent and meaningful student-to-teacher and student-to-student interaction, monitored practice, and individual feedback during instructional time. 
 

Recent studies indicate a current and prospective shortage of language teachers. The recruitment and retention of a highly qualified teaching force is essential.  Recognizing the reported 50% attrition rate of teachers new to the profession, we support high quality professional development for experienced teachers and mentoring services for new teachers. 

As part of its mission and vision, the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) provides guidance to the profession and to the general public regarding issues, policies, and best practices related to the teaching and learning of languages and cultures.  ACTFL is a leading national voice among language educators and administrators and is guided by a responsibility to set standards and expectations that will result in high quality language programs. 

Since research shows that an early language learning experience generally results in the development of native or near-native pronunciation and intonation, ACTFL recommends that students be provided the opportunity to learn a second language as early as possible in school.

ACTFL believes that the opportunity to learn any second language is more important than the specific language that is learned since research shows that generally learning a third or fourth language is facilitated after learning a second. 

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