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It is evident that class size impacts a multitude of factors related to teacher efficacy and student success across all disciplines, including K-20 World Language education. Communication is at the core of the World-Readiness Standards and students are learning to interact with cultural competence, connect with other disciplines, and use the language to investigate and interact in order to participate in multilingual communities. Maintaining smaller class sizes has a positive effect on student achievement and satisfaction.
The COVID-19 pandemic has drawn attention to many ongoing inequities in education and has raised various challenges for assessing student progress in remote, in-person, and hybrid learning environments. Ensuring learners’ access to online learning and assessments remains a high priority. The myriad challenges of connecting to remote assessments and health, safety, and other considerations for in-person assessments show the complexity of assessment.
ACTFL values diversity and strives for inclusion across world language teaching and learning contexts. It is committed to continuous reflection and evaluation of its specific practices and initiatives to promote diversity and inclusion. ACTFL believes strongly in equal access to world language study and equitable opportunities for all individuals to develop linguistic and cultural competence and pedagogical knowledge. No individual should experience marginalization of their contributions or talents because of their unique attributes.
ACTFL strongly recommends that a language educator be responsible for the planning, instruction, assessment, and facilitation of any language course, leveraging technology to support language learning. Language instruction is best guided by language educators rather than solely delivered via a computer program or by a non-content specialist.
Recognizing the current contentious climate in the U.S., the ACTFL believes it is uniquely positioned to help bridge the ideological gaps that divide our nation. We stand with our more than 13,000 members in asserting strongly that diversity and intercultural competence are qualities that must be embraced in the U.S. and throughout the world.
ACTFL advocates the study of both world languages and computer science. Both are essential skills in a world that is connected across borders and through technology. Both provide specific skills and a way of thinking; however, the perspectives and skills gained are not equivalent.
A world language is a form of communication, essential to the culture of a community, with a system of sounds, letters, symbols, and/or signs recognized and utilized by humans. A world language fulfills all the following criteria, distinguishing it from other forms of communication:
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.
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.