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February is Discover Languages Month

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Marty Abbott
703-894-2900, ext. 110

FEBRUARY IS DISCOVER LANGUAGES MONTH. ACTFL INITIATIVE CALLS FOR K-16 SCHOOLS, TEACHERS, STUDENTS AND ADMINISTRATORS TO SPEAK UP FOR LANGUAGE LEARNING

January 26, 2011 Alexandria, VA – The American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) is pleased to announce that February 2011 marks the 6th annual national celebration of Discover Languages Month. Part of a sustained effort, Discover Languages Month was developed to raise public awareness about the cognitive, academic, cultural and economic benefits language learning provides and to help all U.S. students Discover Languages…Discover the World!®

ACTFL is spearheading efforts and has created a website filled with ideas and classroom activities, information and research studies and step-by-step guidelines to help teachers, students, parents and supporters communicate, educate and advocate about the benefits of language learning. The campaign also seeks to provide a unifying effort among all language professionals to help them work collaboratively, promote language education, and identify resources to meet the needs of the constituent groups of language professionals.

As part of the advocacy campaign, ACTFL helps shape policy in a variety of arenas, with particular focus on helping educators, parents and citizens appeal to their representatives in an effort to re-introduce and co-sponsor for the Excellence and Innovation in Language Learning Act (formerly H.R. 1994) that was introduced by Congressmen Holt and Tonko in September 2010.

“We want to help teachers, parents and students spread the word to business leaders, decision-makers and political leaders at the local, state and national levels,” said ACTFL Director of Education Marty Abbott. “The research is clear and measurable: Learning languages boosts cognitive ability and improves academic performance across all subject areas, including English,” Abbott said. “Now is not the time to cut language programs. Now is the time to do more and start earlier.”

Each year ACTFL sponsors a National Student Video Podcast Contest that challenges world language students of all languages and all levels of instruction to create a 1-minute PSA to promote the value of learning a second language to their peers. “The quality of this year’s videos is astounding,” said ACTFL Executive Director Bret Lovejoy, “Nothing is more powerful than watching and hearing students explain why learning languages is key to participating in our global community.” ACTFL invites everyone to view the videos and vote for their favorite. Winners will be announced in February, during Discover Languages Month. For information on how you can celebrate Discover Languages Month, visit the website at www.actfl.org.

About ACTFL
The American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) is the national association for world language education professionals representing all languages and across all levels of instruction. 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. With more than 12,000 members, 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. For more information, visit the website at www.actfl.org.

Date: 
Wednesday, January 26, 2011