2005: The Year of Languages

Foreign Language Annals, Fall 2005 | Go to article overview

2005: The Year of Languages


2005: The Year of Languages Continues To Call Attention to Language Learning

ACTFL Opens the NASDAQ Stock Market

The revolutionary yearlong campaign that by now everyone in the language community has heard about, been involved with, and recognized as a potential turning point in our national perspective-2005: The Year of Languages-continues to celebrate, educate, and communicate the power of language learning throughout the United States.

As fall arrives and another school year begins, a whole new opportunity exists for teachers, administrators, students, and parents to reenergize efforts in their communities and schools to finish out 2005: The Year of Languages with a bang.

If there is still anyone who has not yet discovered their own unique role in this campaign, time is passing quickly-but there is still time! So, act now and get in on the fun! For inspiration, check out the 2005: The Year of Languages Web site at http://www.yearoflanguages.org.

Special 2005: The Year of Languages promotional items, such as T-shirts, posters, hats, tote bags, pens and pencils, magnets, and much more, are still available through the Year of Languages Logo Product online store (http://www.yearoflanguages.org). Using these products not only helps to promote language learning, but also helps to fund Year of Languages national public relations efforts.

As part of the national celebration of 2005: The Year of Languages, ACTFL has identified an area of focus for each month of the yearlong endeavor. Planned events often feature the monthly theme and participating organizations are encouraged to plan events in their own communities that reflect the same focus.

For June, the monthly focus was Adult Language Learning. While other months have featured how languages are used by adults in their professional fields, this month focused on what motivated adults to learn a language late in life, what the experience is like, and how it ties into their goals and aspirations. Steve Ackley, Director of Communications at ACTFL, recently enrolled in an Adult Education program to learn Italian. Steve says, "For years, I have loved visiting Italy, interacting with the Italian people, and listening to the sound and rhythm of the language. And for many of those years, I told myself that 'someday, I'll learn Italian.' We often hear that we're never too old to learn another language and I decided that I had no more excuses. I knew I would be sorry if I didn't try."

The national event in June, sponsored by the Georgia Department of Education, the Southern Conference on Language Teaching (SCOLT), the Georgia Coalition of Language Learners, the Georgia World Languages Consortium, and the Foreign Language Association of Georgia, in cooperation with ACTFL, was held on Friday, June 3, with a "language ambush" having elementary school students asking questions in the target language to the citizens of Atlanta. After the pop quiz, a forum was held at the Goethe Institut in which adults who were in the process of learning a language discussed their motivation and how the experience has had an impact on their lives. The forum was moderated by ACTFL President Dr. Audrey Heining-Boynton.

The focus during July ("Languages and Communities") was designed to encourage language educators to feature the languages represented in their local communities in celebrations. In August, the focus on "Parents" looked at the important role that they play in ensuring that there are language learning opportunities for their children in school. Understanding the brain research and the important cognitive benefits of learning languages at an early age is important for parents. August's national event was sponsored by the California Language Teachers Association under the leadership of Nicole Naditz, Chair of the California Year of Languages Committee. The event took place on Saturday, August 27 in downtown Sacramento, CA and featured student performances as well as remarks by representatives of the Parent/Teachers Association (PTA) and business leaders highlighting the important benefits of early language learning. …

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