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ACTFL 2016 Conference Report


The American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) Convention is an international event bringing together more than 7,000 language educators from all languages, levels and assignments. The goal is to provide a comprehensive professional development experience that will have an impact on language educators at all levels of teaching and in turn help their students to succeed in their language learning process. National African Language Resource Center (NALRC) participated in this world’s most comprehensive language education meeting of the minds featuring more than 800 educational sessions in a variety of formats that focus on innovative programs, emerging trends that impact the language profession, and research-informed practices by exhibiting our developed African Languages textbooks and to  source for writers in other African languages that learning materials are still grossly lacking. NALRC and other Language Resource Centers (LRCs) being funded by the department of Education  are part of the exhibit hall will showcase more than 250 companies exhibiting their latest products and services, it is a learning experience within itself where one finds exhibitor sponsored workshops, the ACTFL Collab Zone, the Social Media Lounge, a Career Café, and an ACTFL Confer-station Corner.

Dr. Antonia Schleicher, John O. Adeika, and Joseph Lijofi from National Council of Less Commonly Taught Lanaguages (NCOLCTL) were there to represent the NALRC and NCOLCTL respectively at the 2016 ACTFL Annual Convention and World Languages Expo, which was held on November 18-20, 2016 at Boston Massachusstte with their Pre-convention workshops, November 17.

Arrival and Set-Up

For the fifth year in a row, all Language Resource Centers shared exhibitor space due to the reduced funding all units are operating under. This year, NALRC shared booth with other LRC Centers. For its share of promotional materials being displayed, the NALRC brought hardcopies of the latest edition of ULIMI (the annual news bulletin), the newly developed textbooks (Tuvuge Ikinyarwanda and Let's Speak Bamanankan in the Let’s Speak Series, Ma Y3nkan Akan Twi in let’s Read Series and J́ Ká Bára Wa S̀r̀ ní Yorùbá in the Let’s Communicate Series) and brochures (Umbundu, Tumbuka, Nama, Nubian, Senufo, etc . Other old material resources were also show cased.

Booth Visitors and Dissemination

During the conference, the attendees and visitors, mostly foreign language teachers and scholars, visiting the LRC booths were excited as they listen to the mission and scope of the NALRC work and its achievements. Many visitors were very interested in the work that NALRC does and picked up some of the brochures. A number of them also bought some of our language resource materials at a conference at a conference discount rate. The most spectacular thing about this year's NALRC exhibition booth is the overwhelming expression of kudos and willingness to be part of the work if we need them when they come around to the center's booth. In short, we had a lot of traffic in flow to our both and people expressed their total satisfaction with NALRC works.

Overall, networking with other LRCs, language scholars, and enthusiasts made this trip another successful outreach experience.

Conclusion

NARLC presence at the conference was felt as the center was able to enhance the existent network and new bonds and collaboration were formed particularly for the development of more other African Language instruction materials. It was another successful ACTFL conference, and the center is already looking forward to the 2017 ACTFL Convention to be held in Nashville, Tennessee from November 17-19, 2017.