What do I say to support my local programs?
What to tell parents
Students who study a foreign language benefit in quantifiable ways. Research shows that students’ overall school performance and problem-solving skills improve when they study a foreign language; that multiple years of foreign-language study raises SAT scores more than multiple years of study in any other subject area; and that foreign-language learners have high academic achievement in college.
The College Board reports that students who completed at least four years of a foreign language scored more than 100 points higher on the SAT (both portions) than students who took one semester or less of a foreign language.
Additionally students benefit from the increased ability to communicate effectively with people from other cultures and countries. This life-long cultural and linguistic fluency contributes to personal satisfaction and a sense of achievement. It also suggests an interest in people from other cultures; an interest which can open doors for our Indiana students.
What to tell administrators
All students should learn or maintain at least one language in addition to English.
Learning languages should be a central part of the curriculum at all levels of instruction.
Language learning should be offered in a clearly-sequential curriculum that allows for increasing levels of proficiency at each level of instruction.
Source: “What Do We and Our Students Need in Indiana?” – Recommendations of the Indiana Task Force on Foreign Language Learning (2006).
Program(s) in trouble?
Writing your legislators
Suggestions for Writing Letters to Legislators
• Begin your letter with a brief introduction of who you are and why studying and learning languages is important to you.
• If you are a teacher, you might want to include information about what language you teach, how many students you have, and your school.
• You might want to include information/research on the benefits of language learning such as the following:
–Brain research shows early language learning increases cognitive ability as well as problem-solving skills and creativity.
–Multiple years of foreign-language study raises SAT scores more than multiple years of study in any other subject area.
–Foreign language learners have high academic achievement in college.
–Students benefit from the increased ability to communicate effectively with people from other cultures and countries.
–Life-long cultural and linguistic fluency contributes to personal satisfaction and a sense of achievement.
• Focus on topics that are receiving state and national attention (e.g. economic competitiveness, immigration, national security concerns).
• Inform the legislator that you intend to monitor legislation and voting that involves language study and international education.
• Offer your expertise and/or support.
Tell your story!
We are our best advocates! Why did you get into learning languages? How do your students use their languages? Tell us your stories that we can use in our Advocacy Work: Language Learning Success Stories