The First and Easiest Step Toward World Language Advocacy

Richard Emch, OFLA Parliamentarian and Bylaws
French Teacher, North Royalton City Schools

Are you an advocate for world language learning? An easy way to advocate for world language learning is often overlooked by world language professionals. Maintaining membership in several professional associations is a simple way to provide funding to support world language learning’s biggest advocacy organization, the Joint National Committee for Languages – National Council for Languages and International Studies (JNCL-NCLIS). If you are unfamiliar with JNCL-NCLIS, this is from its website, 

In 1972, the Joint National Committee for Languages (JNCL) began as an informal coalition of several national language teaching associations, and now has grown to over 130 members, including national, regional, and state organizations. The following excerpt from the March 1973 edition of the Foreign Language Annals serves as the inaugural draft mission of our organization: The National Officers of AATF, AATG, AATI, AATSEEL, AATSP, and ACTFL, mindful of the importance of foreign languages in our society and of the pressing need of close collaboration between the various language associations, hereby announce the establishment of a permanent joint committee…The Joint National Committee shall have as its main purpose the implementation of a continuing movement in favor of learning foreign languages in the United States, as well as the sponsorship of special projects to improve and enhance the teaching of these languages. (Foreign Language Annals, Vol. 6, Number 4, March 1973, pp. 292-293)

Each world language association that is a member of this important organization contributes a relatively small portion of their members’ dues to JNCL-NCLIS. As you can see, The Ohio Foreign Language Association, The Central States Conference on the Teaching of Foreign Languages, the American Council on Foreign Languages, the American Association of Teachers of French, the American Association of Teachers of Spanish and Portuguese, and the American Association of Teachers of Japanese, just to name a few, are all contributing members to JNCL- NCLIS. By maintaining membership in these respective organizations, even in the years one is unable to attend the organizations’ conference, one is contributing to the advocacy of world languages. As world language professionals, we share a common mission and vision as JNCL- NCLIS published on their website, “Our Mission: Ensure that Americans have the opportunity to learn English and at least one other language. Our Vision: We envision a world where the language enterprise facilitates the free movement of people, information, and ideas; builds mutual understanding and acceptance of cultural and linguistic diversity; and promotes the personal development of the individual.” This worthy organization needs the financial support from its member organizations’ dues to remain an effective voice to advocate for our precious world language programs at the federal level. It is easy to let memberships in professional associations lapse. It is not always evident that world language associations at local, state, regional, and national levels use a portion of their members’ dues for advocacy to ensure world language programs receive federal funding. Please consider taking this first and easiest step toward world language advocacy.


This entry was posted in Advocacy, Executive News, Fall 2019. Bookmark the permalink.

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