World Language News

The Institute of International Education’s (IIE) Mark Lazar reports on how U.S. campuses are responding to the needs and concerns of current and prospective students from the Middle East, North Africa, and beyond. To help campus leaders and admissions officers navigate these uncertain times, IIE’s Mark Lazar and a team of experts has put together a list of ten actions to encourage international students to come to the U.S. The list is not intended to be comprehensive, but it offers a platform from which to rebuild the confidence of concerned international students.

Despite Brexit–or maybe because of it–there is a desperate shortage of world language teachers in the UK, so the government is launching a program to train native speakers of French, German, and Spanish to become teachers. The plan is to create opportunities for people with linguistic skills, whether they are living in the UK or elsewhere in Europe. “There may be people who speak French, German, or Spanish – in the UK or abroad – who would like to consider a career change and go into teaching,” said Gaynor Jones, director of the National Modern Languages SCITT (School Centred Initial Teacher Training). “For some, it could be an opportunity to experience a different culture as well as using their talents for the benefit of students keen to learn a new language.

With the recent approval of Texas Senate Bill 4, many of the state's most vulnerable students will face new obstacles accessing the education they need to become contributors to our society. The bill, which was signed into law during a Facebook Live broadcast on Sunday afternoon by Governor Greg Abbot, puts a startling halt to "sanctuary cities" and the security they provide to the parents of documented and undocumented children in Texas.

From 2013 to 2016, the number of students in Crimea in classes with Ukrainian as the language of instruction dropped from 13,589 to just 371 in 2016, according to a report by the Crimean Human Rights Group, an independent organization, citing data from Crimea’s Education Ministry. Human Rights Watch, a well-respected, nonprofit, nongovernmental human rights organization, spoke to parents who said that officials of the schools their children attend pressured them not to enroll their children in classes with Ukrainian as the language of instruction and then cut those classes from the curriculum because there allegedly were not enough pupils.

Literacy

As K–12 districts aim to improve learning for a wide range of students facing unique challenges, education leaders need to be particularly mindful of the English language learning (ELL) student population. Of all the students in public schools in the U.S., an estimated 9.3% were ELLs in the 2013–14 school year. Though ELL students have made strides in reading, leaping 22 points in average fourth-grade reading scores from 2000 to 2015, this group of students is consistently behind their non-ELL peers in this area.

Resources

Fluency Matters offers a wide range of compelling leveled readers specifically designed to facilitate language acquisition with novice to intermediate level students. All readers...

ATi Studios has released a virtual reality app for language education to combine the artificial-intelligence technology behind chatbots with speech recognition in virtual reality....

Drawp for School is a digital content-creation and collaboration tool with embedded language scaffolds for English language learners (ELLs). Teachers use Drawp to provide...

Professional Development

M. Elhess, E. Elturki, and J. Egbert offer strategies to support creativity in the language classroom “Our students aren’t creative,” claimed one of the language teachers in the...