American Academy Issues Call For Support of Language Learning

Following New Report, American Academy Issues Call for Support of Language Learning

The American Academy of Arts & Sciences has issued a call to action that encourages leaders to build capacity in languages other than English and supports language learning. APS is a signatory on the call, continuing its leadership in the area of the science of language.

In 2017, at Congress’s urging, the American Academy, which convenes scientific and other leaders to address critical challenges, issued a report on language education in the US written by an 18-expert commission, including APS Fellow Philip Rubin. The report called for an increase in the number of language teachers, the development of public-private partnerships to support language, and the protection of heritage language spoken in the US, among other topics.

In a step toward addressing the goals specified in the report, APS convened psychological scientists, linguists, and other researchers in Boston in 2017 to discuss the report and its implications. Some challenges are outlined in an article in The Conversation by psychological scientist Catherine Snow, who participated in the APS meeting.

The new call to action is signed by a host of academic associations, including APS; businesses, colleges and universities; language education associations; and other groups.

“Industry participates in more foreign markets than ever before and the nation is engaged, diplomatically or militarily, in every corner of the globe,” the Academy states. “Challenges in scientific research and technological innovation all require greater international collaboration. And we have a social obligation, established by law, to offer critical social services in languages other than English.”

Consistent with the commission’s recommendations, the call to action states that language learning should be supported in the US to achieve the following results:

  • Access to languages for all age groups
  • An increase in trained language teachers
  • Promotion of public-private partnerships in language education
  • Support for heritage and indigenous language
  • Promotion of international learning experiences

“We, the signatories, attest that the public and private sectors require greater capacity in languages in addition to English, and we urge greater support for languages in order to maintain and enhance American global leadership,” the call to action concludes.

APS will monitor the call to action as it develops and will share any opportunities to participate on its Federal Research, Funding, and Policy page.

Click here to learn more about the American Academy’s report on language learning, titled “America’s Languages: Investing in Language Education for the 21st Century.”

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