GW'S NATIONAL CAPITAL LANGUAGE RESOURCE CENTER RECEIVES GRANT FOR SOUTH ASIAN LANGUAGES K-12 RESEARCH STUDY
WASHINGTON - The National Capital Language Resource Center (NCLRC) at The George Washington University's Graduate School of Education and Human Development has been awarded a three-year International Research and Studies (IRS) grant from the U.S. Department of Education to begin Sept. 1, 2009.
(Media-Newswire.com) - WASHINGTON - The National Capital Language Resource Center ( NCLRC ) at The George Washington University's Graduate School of Education and Human Development has been awarded a three-year International Research and Studies ( IRS ) grant from the U.S. Department of Education to begin Sept. 1, 2009. The South Asian Languages K-12 Research Study, to be called DesiLearn, will connect the diverse language communities of South Asia through information gained in this research. The George Washington University - in collaboration with The Alliance for the Advancement of Heritage Languages, the South Asian Language Resource Center and an advisory board of scholars, administrators and national South Asian heritage community leaders - will develop and conduct the study to gather comprehensive data on South Asian language programs, both credit and non-credit bearing, from communities across the U.S.
The NCLRC co-director, Dr. Anna Uhl Chamot, is confident that this project will be as successful as another of NCLRC's highly influential U.S. Department of Education IRS grants, the Arabic K-12 Teachers Network. Dr. Chamot said, NCLRC's efforts "have created the definitive professional community for Arabic teachers of school-age children in the U.S. This effort demonstrated how the goal of improving the teaching of Arabic has unified teachers from diverse backgrounds who would have otherwise remained isolated. Much of the rewards of this endeavor have been based on assessing teachers' needs, such as standards, professional development and a network to share materials and resources. As a result, the NCLRC is well placed to lead these efforts for South Asian language education in K-12. We will begin with a nationwide survey of current language programs."
The current state of language instruction in K-12 for 13 South Asian languages presents a clear case of the challenges that the United States faces in building South Asian language expertise to meet economic and national security challenges of the 21st century. These languages are spoken by a large contingent of the world population -- one in four people worldwide -- and collectively represent politically, culturally and economically significant nations. There is a need for concerted nationwide efforts between institutions and heritage communities to effectively teach these languages to school-aged children. Articulation of the language programs from elementary through college level would provide a reliable pipeline providing the nation with urgently needed advanced level speakers of South Asian languages.
The South Asian Languages K-12 Research Study is designed to document and describe all of the South Asian language programs for K-12 age students in the U.S. This will allow the South Asian language community to marshal and strengthen existing resources for the teaching of these languages. The research will identify currently used resources and areas of need and is designed to answer 'What is the current state of South Asian language education for K-12 school-aged students in the U.S.?' and 'What do teachers and administrators involved in these programs report as the needs of their programs?'
The study is designed to document and describe all K-12 programs for the Bengali, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Kashmiri, Malayalam, Marathi, Nepali, Panjabi, Sinhala, Tamil, Telugu and Urdu languages. "Desi" refers to the people and cultures of Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.
Upon completion of the research study, evaluation of existing resources and an overview of needs, a final report will address the short- and long-term actions that should be implemented to strengthen South Asian language programs for school-aged learners in the U.S. The report will be published and the findings disseminated at professional language teaching conferences.
The National Capital Language Resource Center at The George Washington University, in collaboration with Georgetown University and the Center for Applied Linguistics, is funded by the U.S. Department of Education with a mandate to expand and improve the teaching of foreign languages in the United States. The center was originally created in 1990 at Georgetown University and was refunded as a collaborative effort for 2006 - 2010. The center sponsored more than 30 presentations at national conferences during the past year and has conducted research on the learning strategies of students studying Arabic, Chinese, Korean and Japanese at GW.
For more information and to provide referrals to language programs, visit http://desilearn.us or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information about GW's Graduate School of Education and Human Development, visit http://gsehd.gwu.edu.
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