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Statement of Professional Responsibility for ACTFL Members

This position statement was first presented to the ACTFL Assembly of Delegates in November, 2007.  With extensive edits, it was again reviewed and commented on by the Assembly in November 2008.  It has been through several revisions taking into account comments from the Board of Directors, the Assembly of Delegates, States and other organizational, as well as individual members.  It has been posted on the website for general review and comment. It was presented for final review to the Assembly of Delegates in November 2009.  The ACTFL Board of Directors approved it on November 22, 2009.

Purpose of and Need for the Statement

This Statement of Professional Responsibility is intended to reflect the standard of professionalism to which individuals involved in the teaching of languages hold themselves.  The Statement is needed to demonstrate to the public, parents, students, school administrators, policy makers and the media that ACTFL members hold themselves to a high standard of professional conduct.  Such statements are the hallmark of many esteemed professional societies in the world and provide guidance to language educators about what is expected of them as professional educators.

Members of ACTFL and the language teaching profession are dedicated to the promotion of language learning, multilingualism, cultural understanding, and international competence and are guided by the following principles of professional conduct and ethical practice:

Commitment to the Student

ACTFL members are committed to developing the linguistic and communicative competence and unbiased cultural understanding of every student.  Members are responsible for establishing and maintaining appropriate and positive relationships with students that respect the personal integrity and privacy of students at all times. Members advocate for open access to language programs for all students and support and encourage appropriate assessments for each student.  Members establish learning environments in which student diversity in all its forms is recognized and respected and all students are treated fairly and with sensitivity.

Professional Expertise

Members are committed to achieving and maintaining high levels of appropriate linguistic and communicative competence, and cultural knowledge and understanding by participating in ongoing professional development related to world languages, including experiences in the target cultures.  Members are committed to pedagogical practices that incorporate national and state standards, the best current research in language learning, and assessment programs that effectively and appropriately measure student progress in language learning and cultural understanding.

Professional Community

Members maintain a professional attitude and act with integrity when interacting with colleagues, students, parents, and the public.  They exchange and share information and successful ideas, strategies and activities to enhance language learning. Members adhere to high ethical standards and practices when teaching, conducting research, publishing, mentoring, and when providing and participating in professional development.  Members serve the profession by promoting language education and cultural understanding.

Public Responsibility

Members maintain the highest standards of professional conduct in their communities, classrooms, and professional affiliations, and exhibit the highest standards of expertise by maintaining their professional skills in the field of language teaching.  They model the advantages of having linguistic competence in the community.  ACTFL members support and advocate for effective language programs at all levels by promoting the benefits of language learning and cultural awareness and by providing accurate and applicable information to the public on this topic.


What Our Members Are Saying

ACTFL offers its members a professional home where they can connect, share, network and energize. I belong to ACTFL because I am a language educator, and implicit in that is the idea of constantly developing professionally. I am always looking for ways to better the learning experience for my students. ACTFL continues to provide me with opportunities to do so.

Pablo Muirhead, Milwaukee Area Technical College