National Foreign Language Center Symposium

May 12, 2011

The National Foreign Language Center (NFLC) at the University of Maryland hosted a symposium, “Beyond Preaching to the Choir: Realizing the Vision of a Multilingual Nation,” on May 12 tocelebrate their  25th anniversary, and the NALRC was represented through the center’s Director, Professor Antonia Schleicher. Held at the Hay-Adams Hotel in Washington, D.C., the symposium brought together 80 language professionals from a variety of organizations, universities, school districts, and government branches to discuss how to address linguistic needs in the U.S. and overcome the challenges of building a multilingual nation.

Professor Schleicher attended two breakout sessions, titled “Cultural Components of Language Proficiency:What is ‘competence in intercultural communication’and how do we develop it?” and “Technology and Blended Learning: How do we realize their potential?” The first focused on the importance of understanding the cultures of the language being studied, and how language study is a natural platform for studying culture. The technology session discussed how to effectively use technology to engage young language learners.

Lectures attended included “Visioning a MultilingualNation: Strategies from the States,” presented by Debbie Robinson, World Languages Consultant for the Ohio Department of Education, “Making ForeignLanguage Learning a National Priority,” presentedby Charles Kolb, President of the Committee forEconomic Development, and “The Potential FederalRole in Meeting the Nation’s Language Needs,”presented by David Chu, President of the Institute for Defense Analyses. There was also a panel discussionof NFLC directors titled “Striving for a Multilingual Nation.”