FOREIGN LANGUAGE ADVOCACY ON THE NATIONAL STAGE
The Modern Language Association's May 2012 Policy Statement on the Importance of Foreign Language Learning
NEW RESOURCES ON CAREERS AND LANGUAGE
How learning a foreign language can help you pursue a masters' degree.
Interviews with professionals who use languages in careers like flight attendant, event planner, police officer, language lab director, and others.
WHY STUDY JAPANESE?
Ten Reasons to Study Japanese: Download this handout to get started talking with students about why Japanese is important, fascinating, and cool!
The Japanese language education field has come a long way from the days when only a few students studied Japanese in a small number of classrooms.
Today, tens of thousands of enthusiastic American students study Japanese language, culture, and literature in every corner of this country.
Budget cuts and other pressures sometimes threaten foreign language programs in public schools; competition from other subjects puts pressure on students to abandon their study of Japanese – or of any foreign language.
This website offers information about the study of Japanese: why it is interesting and fun, what it has done for some amazing people, and what it can do for you.
If you are a teacher, parent, administrator, or student who wants to stand up for your Japanese language program, or support the study of this amazing language, you’ll find:
- information about how Japanese can help you as you start a career;
- interviews with students who studied Japanese about what they learned and gained;
- materials to help fight for a school program that is threatened with elimination;
- and more!
This Advocacy Website includes interviews with students, teachers, and parents, as well as links to online resources to help with promoting Japanese language education in general and with supporting existing or threatened programs.
STUDENTS SPEAK UP
Kelsey Witt, Texas A & M University
Michael Ward studied Japanese and now works in Japan
Madeline Locke, Earlham College
Alex Steimle works in Japan for Nippon Express
Asher Ramras is a JET teacher in Japan
Chelsea Lura, video game fan
Eliza Campbell started Japanese in a first-grade immersion program
Erin Hodge, Langley (VA) High School
Joshua Hume studied Japanese in high school and now lives in Japan
Lindsey Witt, Texas A & M University
Marquel Carter, Culver (CA) High School football star
Marty Friedman, rock guitarist
Tom Killgore studied Japanese in high school and works for Panasonic
PARENTS WEIGH IN
Mike and Gail Hume, The Woodlands, TX
Betsy Campbell. Great Falls, VA
Cora Mackoff and Daniel Ramras, Seattle, WA
Steve Ward, Houston, TX
Bruce and Cindy Steimle, Montgomery, TX
Lisa Hodge, Great Falls, VA
Shirley Locke, The Woodlands, TX
TEACHERS ARE CHAMPION ADVOCATES
Jaci Collins, Menomonie, WI
Michael Van Krey, Evanston, IL
Yuki Matsuda, University of Memphis
SCHOOL ADMINISTRATORS HAVE THEIR SAY
Michele Anciaux Aoki, World Languages Supervisor, Washington State
Daniel Naegeli, Counselor, Meadowdale (WA) High School
STUDYING JAPANESE CAN LEAD TO CAREER SUCCESS
Kamalea Cott, Translator/Localizer
Conan Grames, Lawyer
David Daniels, Diplomat
Aziza Zakhidova, Bank Executive
Jason Mortimer, Investment Banker
LINKS TO RESOURCES
Foreign Language: What Can I Do with This Major?
Description: This website from the University of Tennessee is a one-page document that provides lists of prospective jobs for foreign language majors. Lists are divided into broad categories of government, industry and commerce, travel and tourism, interpretation/translation, service and education, and arts, media, entertainment. Each of these broad categories is further broken down into more specific possible employers, for example, “banks and financial institutions” under industry and commerce and “professional language schools” under service and education. Each broad category is further supplemented with strategies or suggestions for how to better prepare oneself or become more competitive for employment in that category.
Review: This is a very global view of employment after graduation for language majors. It is likely useful for advocacy for all language teachers, but with some editing, and the addition of concrete examples of firms and agencies (perhaps with contact information) that are known to hire Japanese majors, it could be made much more useful for Japanese language teachers. Specific information about the JET program, other teaching opportunities in Japan, or links to helpful web pages on Japan teaching jobs, for example, would improve the usability of this document for Japanese advocacy.
Benefits of Early Language Learning (Center for Applied Linguistics)
Description: A Nanduti website that provides active links to a variety of other resources for advocacy. There are multiple uploaded documents to assist advocates with making the case for language learning under the categories of:
Benefits of Being Bilingual (an overview of the advantages of learning a second language at an early age and information about language learning and the developing brain);
A Case for Early Language Learning (the experiences of other schools that started language instruction early, and resources on the benefits of early foreign language teaching, and a brochure for parents);
Annotated Bibliographies (research that supports the teaching of foreign languages in elementary school);
Looking to the Standards (a link to the National Standards). In addition, there is a Teachers Tool Kit that provides links to resources on Strategies and methodology, materials and curricula, and assessment.
Review: A highly useful and well-organized site that, again, could be augmented by the Japanese language teaching community with specific information on Japanese. However, all of the resources here are immediately useful and the added materials for teachers will benefit all language teachers and have great applicability.
Promoting a Language Proficient Society: What You Can Do
Description: This ERIC Clearing House website provides an introduction to why language learning is essential, and ideas for advocacy. The lists of advocacy initiatives are divided into:
- what parents can do (e.g. Provide videos, music, books in other languages; Send children to summer language camps or abroad);
- what teachers can do (e.g. Align foreign language curriculum with the national standards; Plan activities that encourage students to develop an awareness and appreciation of the linguistic and cultural diversity in the classroom);
- what school administrators can do (e.g. Develop a rationale for establishing a program which includes importance of language learning and cognitive benefits of developing language proficiency; Provide professional development for language teachers);
- what policy-makers can do (e.g. Budget adequate financial resources; Fund curriculum projects carried out by language teachers);
- what the business community can do (e.g. Make policymakers aware of the need for language proficient workers; Attend school career days to talk about the importance of languages in the workplace).
The document also includes where other information and resources are available.
Review: This is a very elementary and familiar list of advocacy tactics for foreign language learning activities and initiatives and is likely most useful to young teachers new to the field and to the fight. Those who have been teaching for a while should already be very familiar with these suggestions. However, it provides a good discussion starter for those who are active in language learning advocacy and want to inform or mentor others in the area. These lists could be edited to focus more on information and data concerning Japanese language study specifically.