Advocacy

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Advocacy > Position Statements

Technology (2011)
The National Network for Early Language Learning (NNELL) recognizes the potential of technological innovations for improving foreign language teaching and learning. NNELL also believes that no form of technology should serve as a primary source of foreign language instruction, but rather as a supporting tool in the class of a qualified language teacher.

The language teacher creates a learning community where reading, writing, speaking and listening skills are fostered through meaningful and cognitively engaging language experiences. These experiences allow learners to negotiate meaning with a variety of speakers through conversations that reflect real life use of the language. Language teachers help students develop the ability to use the language accurately and fluently in a variety of situations at increasingly higher levels of performance. Language learning technologies can provide additional practice in the study of a language through repetition and substitution drill, but are limited in scope, offering learners little opportunity to reach the high levels of language proficiency required for extended communication locally and globally.

Students must develop proficiency in the language and an understanding of the cultural practices and perspectives specific to the languages they study. Language teachers create a culturally-rich environment incorporating technology, personal experience, and community resources. With teacher guidance, learners develop an understanding of cultural similarities and differences that, in turn, builds cross-cultural competence and decreases stereotyping and miscommunication. Cultural facts can be taught using computer assisted language programs. These programs, however, do not offer learners extensive opportunity to apply this information. Language learners who rely exclusively on language learning technologies may become knowledgeable about the language, but are ill-prepared to use it in an authentic cultural context.

Language Aptitude Testing for Early Language (P-8) Learners (2006)

All children are capable of learning other languages in the early grades when provided opportunities for quality instruction by teachers with high expectations for all students, including those with diverse needs. The belief of teachers, administrators and parents that there is a broad spectrum of talent and potential in the world language classroom and that students can and will succeed in learning a world language often makes it possible for students to succeed. This is further supported by second language acquisition research that justifies the inclusion of all students as language learners. As such, the need for aptitude testing of early language learners is not warranted within the context of these core beliefs. Equity of access to early second language learning can no longer be denied to students solely based on the results of aptitude tests if we are to provide learners with the long sequences of instruction necessary to successfully interact with peoples of other cultures in the diverse communities in which we live and work.

National Language Conference White Paper (2005)
The National Language Conference “Call to Action” acknowledges the urgent need for a cogent plan to provide opportunities for all students to effectively participate as U.S. citizens in the global community by gaining proficiency in world languages and a greater understanding and respect for diverse world cultures. The success of this plan must be accompanied by policies, programs and legislation that guarantee the establishment and maintenance of long well-articulated sequences of language study beginning in the early grades. Participation of a variety of stakeholders from public and private sectors on a national coordination council overseen by a cabinet-level appointee will serve as an organizational entity for the development and implementation of a plan that will foster systemic reform in world language education nationwide.

No Child Left Behind Act (2005)
The inclusion of Foreign Languages as a core academic subject area in this Act sends a strong message about the importance of second language education in the U.S. The development of literacy skills in both a first or second language is dependent on the establishment of quality instructional programs. As such, all elementary school students should have access to high quality, ongoing and systematic world language instruction to take advantage of children’s special capacity for language acquisition. Long sequences of language study should become an integral part of early schooling when the integration of content and language learning occurs easily as does the development of positive attitudes towards people who speak other languages and represent other cultures.

In the 21st century, languages and cultures are intertwined and citizens worldwide can instantly communicate without regard to national borders. Education must keep up with this forward movement. A sound, basic education calls for an update to the current public education system and includes the study of languages and cultures as part of the core curriculum in Grades K-8 and beyond.

International Education (2005)
The study of world languages is an integral part of international education. Effective K-16 programs in major world languages, including non-European languages, are essential in order to meet the goals of international education. Policies and incentives must be established to expand the teaching of world languages beginning in the earliest grades and continuing throughout the education continuum for all students. The world is interconnected economically, socially and environmentally. Using another language and knowing its culture empower our students’ participation as collaborators seeking solutions to global issues in an interconnected world.