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Special Focus Topics

Each of the four issues of The Language Educator in 2018 will include a "focus topic" section featuring article submissions coming from varied perspectives related to the topic—reflecting different levels, languages, methods, backgrounds, opinions, and experiences. The articles in this focus section will again be double-blind reviewed by two language education experts, in addition to TLE and ACTFL staff.

Each of these focus topics will explore recommendations from the Commission on Language Learning of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences 2017 report, America's Languages: Investing in Language Education for the 21st Century. Contribute your stories and examples of how language educators are responding to this urgent national language crisis.


  • We urge you to submit original, previously unpublished articles for these issues directly using the online form. You will upload your article directly to the site for a specific issue, and you can find more information about formatting and content.
  • Only articles submitted for the focus topic sections will go through a peer-review process.
  • If you would like to submit an article for consideration for The Language Educator that is not meant for a special focus topic section, please upload it here.
  • Focus topic articles, while peer-reviewed, should still follow The Language Educator Author Guidelines and should be written in the style of a magazine feature article, with direct quotes from multiple primary sources and intended to appeal to educators of all languages at all levels. They should not be narrowly focused research articles or dissertations with literature reviews, etc. Please do not submit a paper that is meant for an academic journal; we suggest you send these to Foreign Language Annals for consideration.

March/April 2018

Supporting Heritage Learners

AAAS Recommendation 3: Support heritage languages already spoken in the United States, and help those languages persist from one generation to the next.

AAAS Recommendation 4: Provide targeted support and programming for Native American languages as defined in the Native American Languages Act.

Language holds culture, provides identity, and links communities. How can we as language educators support native or heritage speakers? For many heritage learners, their language is not available for study or for credit within their school or university. What are the challenges and opportunities to develop heritage learners’ language skills to include communication within their family as well as a career asset? Share examples of supporting heritage language learners to achieve the Seal of Biliteracy in an increasing number of states.


August/September 2018

Building our Professional Capacity

AAAS Recommendation 1: Increase the number of language teachers at all levels of education so that every child in every state has the opportunity to learn a language in addition to English.

Teacher recruitment and retention are critical issues facing our profession, with 44 states reporting shortages of language educators. How can we all reach out to bring in and support new language educators? At every level, communities and networks of educators are collaborating on unit and assessment design, exploring their practices, engaging in online discussions, and sharing resources. Advocacy is only as effective as the results demonstrated by learners, results focused on learners showing increasing language proficiency. What is effective to increase our professional capacity?


October/November 2018

Leveraging Community Connections

AAAS Recommendation 2: Supplement language instruction across the education system through public-private partnerships among schools, government, philanthropies, businesses, and local community members.

How are we making the case for languages in order to draw in a broader network of supporters? How are language programs made visible; how are programs proving their value to the local community? Partnerships are essential for long-term support. Tell others what is effective in creating, maintaining, and leveraging connections with communities beyond your institution.