Read up on the latest at ACTFL
Which Languages Schools Should Offer
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.
Diversity and Inclusion in Language Programs
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 Support a teaching and learning environment where diversity is appreciated and respected Advocate diverse language learning opportunities for all socio-economic levels in urban, suburban, and rural communities Work to develop, support, promote and enhance the language skills of Native American and heritage language learners Initiate and support efforts to recruit and retain a diverse teaching force in the language profession Work to ensure that the organization’s structure, services, professional development, and policies address the needs of our diverse profession Promote awareness and differentiation of language instruction to accommodate students’ diverse learning styles; exceptional learning needs; cultural, ethnic, and linguistic backgrounds; and personal interests and goals Encourage the selection and use of instructional materials that integrate multicultural and diverse perspectives throughout the curriculum
Use of the Target Language in the Classroom
Research indicates that effective language instruction must provide significant levels of meaningful communication* and interactive feedback in the target language in order for students to develop language and cultural proficiency. The pivotal role of target-language interaction in language learning is emphasized in the K-16 Standards for Foreign Language Learning in the 21st Century. ACTFL therefore recommends that language educators and their students use the target language as exclusively as possible (90% plus) at all levels of instruction during instructional time and, when feasible, beyond the classroom. In classrooms that feature maximum target-language use, instructors use a variety of strategies to facilitate comprehension and support meaning making.
Language Learning for Heritage and Native Speakers
ACTFL and its members encourage learning environments that support heritage and native speakers of languages other than English. It is critical that these students be able to continue to develop their heritage linguistic and cultural skills in order to become fully bilingual and biliterate in today’s global environment. By doing so, they will be well-positioned to live and work in an increasingly multilingual environment in the U.S. Native speakers (those raised in an environment using mainly a language other than English) and heritage speakers (those raised in an environment where the language was most likely spoken in the home) benefit from instruction that draws on and enhances their native or heritage language skills and cultural knowledge.