The Foreign Language Assistance Program (FLAP)

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This article features the Foreign Language Assistance Program, also known as FLAP, which holds the distinction as the only federally funded program that exclusively targets foreign language instruction in elementary and secondary schools. Funded under Title V of No Child Left Behind, FLAP provides 3-year grants to states and local school districts to establish, improve, or expand innovative kindergarten through grade twelve model programs. The program began in 1988 when Congress passed the Foreign Language Assistance Act, directing the Secretary of Education to make grants to state educational agencies for foreign language study in elementary and secondary schools. Today, FLAP funds 15 grants to states and 122 grants to local school districts to support a broad range of activities, including classroom instruction, professional development, teacher recruitment, curriculum development, student assessment, program evaluation, and parent involvement with a current program budget of $23,780,000. The resources of FLAP support local school districts and state educational agencies as they address the challenges and build a foundation for success in foreign language education. Here, the author discusses how the FLAP grants are awarded through a grant process and how the program gained prominence as an essential component of K-16+ education to prepare foreign language speakers.

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... (The study) ... concludes that a majority of teacher education graduates are prepared in university-based programs that suffer from low admission and graduation standards. Their faculties, curriculums and research are disconnected from school practice and practitioners" (p. 1). 2. See Richey (2007) regarding the history of FLAP grants, and Falsgraf (2007) for technology in the WL classroom. Regarding Scebold's and Zimmer-Loew's many contributions to the profession, from the oral proficiency movement to the collaborative that created our national standards and after, the reader is referred to these essays for a representative sample: , , and Zimmer-Loew (2000). ...
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This essay is a call to action. It offers a comprehensive overview of the challenges facing world language (WL) teacher educators and their employers, the K-12 schools, during the teacher induction period. We propose a new paradigm for WL teacher education based on national accreditation standards, best-practice pedagogy, insights from the professional literature on methods education, and the enhanced role of the Paul A. García (Ph.D., University of Illinois) is currently Visiting Associate Professor of Foreign Language Education and Director of the Ph.D. program in Second Language Acquisition, Instructional Technology (SLA/IT) at the University of South Florida. Prior to teaching at the University of Kansas (1998-2006), he taught German and Spanish and was the FL supervisor for the Kansas City, Missouri, Schools (1973-1998). He was President of ACTFL in 2000, NADSFL (1989-92), FLAM (1984-88), and ALL (1992-1995). His publications and many conference workshops concern immersion, listening comprehension, and methods/best-practice pedagogy. Todd A. Hernández (Ph.D., University of Kansas) is Assistant Professor of Foreign Language Education and Spanish, and Coordinator of the First-Year Spanish Language Program at Marquette University. His most recent research examines the role of motivation in shaping speaking performance in a study abroad context. He has published articles in journals such as Applied Language Learning, Foreign Language Annals, Hispania, and Modern Language Journal. Patricia Davis-Wiley (Ed.D., University of Houston) is Professor of WL/ESL Education in the Department of Theory and Practice in Teacher Education at The University of Tennessee, Knoxville. She is a former high school WL teacher, active conference keynoter and presenter in both WL and ESL Education, has research interests in the efficacy of early second language study, and is the new Editor of The TFLTA Journal.
In view of the importance of increasing multilingualism in the United States, the current study examined state policy for high school graduation requirements in the 50 states and the District of Columbia as an index of the way in which the study of world language is positioned and prioritized in K–12 education. Only seven states require the study of a world language other than English as a prerequisite for high school graduation for all students. The majority of states do not include world languages as a requirement for high school graduation, but almost half include world language coursework as an option of fulfilling an elective graduation requirement. Overall, while there are some positive developments, principally the Seal of Biliteracy initiative, world language education is not prioritized in state-level policies. Continued efforts, possibly at the federal level, are required to maintain and promote world language education in the United States
Recent research in language education policy (LEP) refocuses attention from the role of governments to local stakeholders that shape LEP. However, little attention has been given to teacher agency in LEP implementation for early foreign language (FL) education in the United States. This pilot study considers the role of foreign language elementary school (FLES) teacher agency through an analysis of interviews with two FLES teachers and examines how they see their opinions, experience, and expertise involved in the process of delivering on New Jersey's K–8 FL authorization. In discharging their responsibilities, FLES teachers are limited by structural factors that reveal little support for FLES. The study gives warrant to comprehensively investigate, with a view to FLES program sustainability, the multiple local factors that influence FLES program implementation across a variety of settings.
The purpose of this research was to investigate the major successes and challenges of elementary school language teaching from 1980 to 2010 through the voices of some of the individuals who were instrumental in the development of the field. The author conducted interviews with 16 leaders in the field of early language education to elicit their views on such topics as program models, instructional approaches, proficiency assessment, and advocacy. Ten lessons learned are presented in the form of recommendations for the expansion of proficiency-based language programs in elementary schools. These recommendations will help the field learn from past successes and failures, develop the highest possible levels of language proficiency, and build on the methodologies (e.g., immersion and content-based instruction) that have been demonstrated to be best practices.
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