Foreign Language Education
As the world becomes increasingly interconnected through the processes of globalization, proficiency in more than one language is critical for business, trade, diplomacy, and to promote international cooperation, mutual understanding, and respect. For students, learning more than one language can that can enrich their academic and life experiences and open doors to opportunities Thus, it is important to become proficient in other languages. For individuals, research points to the strong cognitive benefits of language learning while knowledge of more than one language provides a strong advantage for career advancement.
The need for skilled speakers of languages other than English has been studied and discussed for more than fifty years at various levels of government and the private sector. Despite these concerns, foreign language offerings in schools have decreased and student enrollment in foreign languages has declined. This does not bode well for the ability of the K-12 system to meet the foreign language proficiency needs of the U.S. On the other hand, in schools where foreign languages are taught, more schools teach Arabic and Chinese than before, reflecting the security and economic priorities of the country.
Despite the one in five Americans who report speaking a language other than English at home, vital heritage language resources are being underutilized or lost. CAL continues to make promoting a multilingual U.S. society the focus of many of our efforts, working to support effective language programs through research and program evaluation, information dissemination and resource sharing. Through our work in foreign and dual language education and our support of community and language programs, we are committed to making resources available to promote language learning and cultural understanding.
The Center for Applied Linguistics is working in collaboration with Georgetown University to establish the Assessment and Evaluation Language Resource Center (AELRC) funded by the U.S. Department of Education.
The COPI provides language educators with a computerized, time-efficient assessment of their native-English-speaking students' oral language proficiency in Arabic or Spanish.
CAL conducted a national survey of foreign language instruction in public and private elementary and secondary schools to provide an updated national and regional portrait of foreign language instruction in the United States.
CAL was awarded a grant to fund a study designed to provide study abroad programs, students, host families, and institutions of higher education with information on how to optimize the language learning benefits of the homestay setting.
STARTALK was created in 2006 to provide learning opportunities in the critical languages for students (K-16) and professional development for teachers of the critical languages, mainly through programs offered during the summer.
The COPI is a comprehensive oral proficiency assessment that provides reliable, valid results to help inform instruction and gauge student progress. The COPI is available in Mandarin Chinese, Modern Standard Arabic, and Spanish.
The Multimedia Rater Training Program (MRTP) is a hands-on introduction to oral proficiency assessment that teaches rating skills via CD-ROM. This computer assisted professional development program was modeled after live rater training workshops and CAL's self-instructional Rater Training Kits.
CAL surveyed public and private elementary and secondary schools across the country to identify current patterns and shifts over time in foreign language education. This report provides detailed information about the survey results and includes recommendations for increasing language capacity in the United States.
Evaluation and Program Design Services
CAL offers evaluation and program design services to schools, districts, and other institutions that are planning or implementing programs for language learners.
News & Events
The recent article, Oral Language Development Among Mandarin Learners in Chinese Homestays (in Study Abroad Research in Second Language Acquisition), focuses on a mixed-method study describing the oral Mandarin development of American students living in Chinese homestays.
Ireland plans to increase the number of students who are studying two foreign languages as part of a 10-year strategy.
The US State Department's Foreign Service Institute has mapped the difficulty of some languages to give an idea of how much time is needed for English language speakers to learn them.