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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. 
 
Coauthorship - 07/30/2012
  1. The American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages supports collaborative research and publication because studies that are conducted across levels, languages and disciplines contribute to the development of theory and practice in Foreign Language Education.
  2. Jointly authored publications should be valued in decisions measuring scholarly production such as merit, tenure and promotion.

ACTFL and its members are committed to developing and maintaining a teaching and learning environment that reflects the broad diversity of American society. We welcome teachers and students from diverse cultural, linguistic, and socio-economic backgrounds to language programs.  We believe that all children should have the opportunity to learn other languages and support full access for all students to language programs.  In this effort, ACTFL and its member organizations

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. 

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