IFLE Newsletter - August 2015

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Bipartisan Support for New Study on Language Education in the United States

The American Academy of Arts and Sciences recently announced the formation of the Commission on Language Learning, a national effort to examine the current state of U.S. language education, to project what the nation's education needs will be in the future, and to offer recommendations for ways to meet those needs.


The Commission will work with scholarly and professional organizations around the country to gather available research about the benefits of language instruction at every educational level, from pre-school through lifelong learning, and will help to initiate a nationwide conversation about languages and international education.

The Commission was formed in response to a bipartisan Congressional request from Senators Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), Mark Kirk (R-Illinois), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisconsin), and Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) and Representatives Leonard Lance (R-New Jersey), David Price (D-North Carolina), Don Young (R-Alaska), and former Representative Rush Holt (D-New Jersey).

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Georgia State University CIBE and MSI Consortium Host Faculty Development Workshops in International Business

GSU-CIBE Globalization Workshops

On June 4-7, 2015, the Title VI Center for International Business Education (CIBE) at Georgia State University (GSU) and the MSI Consortium of eleven CIBEs hosted the "Faculty Development in International Business: Globalization Workshops". The globalization workshops are designed to help U.S. business faculty bring international content and context into the classroom and to expand their global knowledge and skills.


Over 75 faculty members, workshop leaders, and special guests from the United States and abroad participated in this year's event. GSU-CIBE was especially proud to offer 28 Faculty Fellowship Awards in 2015 to help defray participation costs for faculty from Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs), two-year colleges and institutions, and those with little or no professional development funds.


Since 1992, the Globalization Workshops have trained over 1,000 faculty members from around the United States and other countries. Each workshop is led by one or two world-class educators who incorporate international business content, pedagogy, and resources for teaching in their courses. GSU-CIBE is already planning for next year's workshops, to be held June 2-5, 2016.

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2015 Fulbright-Hays Seminars Abroad Group Travels to China

2015 Seminars Abroad group in China

This July, sixteen K-12 teachers from the United States traveled to China with the Fulbright-Hays Seminars Abroad Program. The program provides short-term study and travel seminars abroad for U.S. educators in the social sciences and humanities for the purpose of improving their understanding and knowledge of the people and cultures of other countries.

This summer's seminar group traveled to China for four weeks, participating in educational lectures and activities specifically designed for the program and touring cultural sites. The K-12 teachers learned about China's educational system first-hand through visits to China's Ministry of Education, Beijing's Dandelion School and Nong Jia Nu School, Tsinghua University, Chongqing's Tongliang Middle School, and the Shanghai Institutes for International Studies, where they visited with educators, students, government officials, and public policy experts.

Participants also learned about Chinese history, arts, religion, and traditional medicine through visits to Tian'anmen Square, the Forbidden City, the Great Wall, the Qin Terra Cotta Warriors, Banpo Neolithic village, Beijing's Dashanzi Art District, the Great Mosque, Jing'an Temple, and the Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine.

Now that they have returned to the United States, the teachers will use their summer experience in China to develop new, cross-cultural curricula for their classrooms. They will share what they have learned with their own students, other teachers in their school districts, and colleagues throughout the country.

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An Interview with Iowa Teacher of the Year Clemencia Spizzirri

Clemencia Spizzirri

Clemencia Spizzirri, whose passion for helping students and families stems from her own childhood in Ecuador, is Iowa's 2015 Teacher of the Year. Spizzirri teaches Spanish at Merrill Middle School in Des Moines Public Schools, where she is known for helping needy children and families understand the power of a high-quality education.


ED's International and Foreign Language Education Office recently interviewed Ms. Spizzirri about her work helping students gain skills for success in the globalized society of the 21st century:


What inspired you to become a world language teacher?

Languages always fascinated me. I remember my teen siblings singing songs in English and French with so much passion that I always wanted to understand what they were saying. Also, I'm an avid reader of National Geographic and I always wanted to travel and be able to communicate with diverse people in their own language, not only to convey my message, but to touch their hearts too. As Nelson Mandela said: "If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart." Language is like music; it can touch your soul, open your mind to new horizons and make you a global citizen ready to confidently and accurately participate in any arena of the globalized economy that we live in.


What drew you to teaching middle school Spanish in particular?

I love middle school students; they are very energetic and curious. As a teacher, if you know how to channel that energy and curiosity into something positive, the results can be amazing. There is never a boring day with middle school students. They're really fun! I teach Spanish because I see the need for learning languages in our schools to promote global citizenship and cultural proficiency in our students.


Why do you think it's important to learn a second language? What would you say to someone who thinks that languages are "nice-to-have", but not important enough to be part of the core curriculum?

Global education and world languages go hand in hand with the Common Core curriculum in grades K-12 because we are educating global citizens who will need to be multiculturally proficient, knowledgeable, and respectful of other languages and cultures of the world. By teaching languages, we are opening doors for our students to be successful. 

In the 21st Century, communication happens instantaneously. In a matter of seconds, you can conduct business online with people who live on the other side of the world. Most importantly, those people may speak a language different than yours and for crucial conversations to take place, speaking a second language is a plus. There are so many reasons to learn a second language besides just for the fun of it -- emigration, family, friends, education, research, work, travel, study abroad, getting in touch with your roots, culture, etc. Most of all, the empowerment that comes with knowing a second or even third language is important. 

We live in the most powerful country of the world the USA and we cannot afford to keep our children monolingual when the rest of the world's youth speak more than one language by elementary school. We need to catch up!


What advice do you have for aspiring language learners and those who might struggle to learn another language?

If you are thinking about learning a second language, you are on the path to success because learning languages will help you better understand our thought process, which is the real nature of the human soul. Work hard by practicing your vocabulary and grammar on a daily basis, speak as often as you can, and don’t feel embarrassed about your accent or when speaking with native speakers because they will understand and appreciate that you are putting effort into learning their language. More than anything, have fun!

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Mohamed Abdel-Kader Visits Ohio

Deputy Assistant Secretary Mohamed Abdel-Kader Visits International Education Programs in Ohio

On August 6, IFLE Deputy Assistant Secretary Mohamed Abdel-Kader traveled to Columbus, Ohio to participate in a pair of events spotlighting international education efforts in the state. The Deputy Assistant Secretary delivered opening remarks at a symposium for middle-market companies that are increasing exports from the state of Ohio. The event was sponsored by The Ohio State University, home to one of IFLE's 17 Centers for International Business Education (CIBEs). The program provides funding to schools of business for curriculum development, research, and training on issues of importance to U.S. trade and competitiveness. He then joined a ceremony at the Ohio Statehouse recognizing the successful completion of the Export Internship Program at Ohio State, also supported by the Department of Education. The CIBE program, authorized by Title VI of the Higher Education Act of 1965, is designed to help America enhance its leadership role in world markets, global engagement, and scholarship.

IFLE Participates in State Department's Title VIII Program Competition

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Dr. Timothy Duvall of IFLE's Advanced Training and Research Division participated this summer in the panel review for the U.S. Department of State's Title VIII Program for the Study of Eastern Europe and the Independent States of the Former Soviet Union, administered by the Bureau of Intelligence and Research. Following Tim’s assistance in the grant application review and selection process, IFLE’s Senior Director, Lenore Yaffee Garcia, represented the department at the public meeting that convened on August 4 to recommend grant recipients for the FY 2014 competition. The meeting included opening statements by the Chair and members of the committee, and, within the committee, discussion of grant agreements with national organizations with an interest and expertise in conducting research and training concerning the countries of Eastern Europe and the Independent States of the Former Soviet Union.


Title VI and Fulbright-Hays Fiscal Year 2015 Awards


The IFLE team is hard at work to award fiscal year (FY) 2015 new and continuation grants worth over $70 million under the Title VI and Fulbright-Hays programs. Grants will be used to support institutions of higher education, K-16 teachers and administrators, and, dissertation research scholars. Funded projects will focus on international and area studies, world languages, international business, language assessment, cultural experiences, and research abroad, while incorporating activities to meet IFLE's competitive preference priorities to broaden access to foreign language and international education opportunities at Minority-Serving Institutions, community colleges, and teacher preparation programs. Keep an eye out for a more detailed update in September!

IFLE Grantee Showcase Webinar Series

Grantee Showcase Spotlight

The IFLE Grantee Showcase Webinar Series is a monthly opportunity to hear about the exemplary practices and stories of IFLE grantees, ask questions, communicate, and collaborate, all from the comfort of your own computer and phone.

IFLE has already hosted two webinars this summer, featuring innovative grantee work like the University of Washington's Task Force Program and Everett Community College's Japanese Fluency for Undergrads ProgramIf you missed these sessions, you can view the webinars here!

The next IFLE Grantee Showcase Webinar will take place Monday, August 31 at 4:00pm (EDT). The team at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill will present on "Broadening Access to International Education for Students from Minority Backgrounds". Space is limited. REGISTER HERE to save your spot!

IFLE Welcomes Gary Thomas!

Gary Thomas Joins IFLE

This June, Gary Thomas was appointed Director of IFLE's International Studies Division, which administers the Fulbright-Hays Doctoral Dissertation Research Abroad, Group Projects Abroad, and Seminars Abroad grants in addition to the Title VI Undergraduate International Studies and Foreign Language Program.


Gary has worked at the U.S. Department of Education since 2000, most recently as a Senior Program Manager for the Office of Postsecondary Education’s (OPE) Fund for the Improvement’s First in the World program that pioneers the Department’s new higher education evidence-based innovative projects. Previously, Gary served as a Senior Policy Advisor in Higher Education Programs, where he managed the allocation of Minority-Serving Intuitions higher education grant funds. Prior to his OPE service, he worked as a Program Analyst for the Department’s Federal Student Aid Division, where he drafted statutory and regulatory amendments for Federal Student Loan programs and assisted in negotiated rulemaking and the revision of  program regulations. Before coming to the Federal government, Gary served as a higher education policy analyst for the Maryland General Assembly. In this capacity, he reviewed the budgetary, personnel, and administrative practices of University System of Maryland institutions against the parameters of state regulations to ensure fiscal responsibility. He has been a fellow in the Department’s Excellence in Government and Executive Leadership programs. Gary was selected for the President’s Management Council Interagency Rotation Program, where he served as the President of the Department of Interior (DOI) University. In DOI, Gary oversaw the delivery of high-quality training programs provided to Federal employees. 

As an undergraduate, Gary studied political science and French and he completed a French language and international studies program at the L’Universite Laval, in Quebec City, Canada. Gary also holds a Master’s degree in public administration. Gary has volunteered for the Youth for Understanding Program, served as a member of the National Academies’ Fellowship Roundtable, and he is a member of the World Affairs Council.


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IFLE is on Twitter with the latest from the world of international and foreign language education. Follow us @GoGlobalED and tell your friends! We'll see you in the Twittersphere!

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