The Keys to Creating a Foreign Language Program
Angela Jackson, Founder and Executive Director, Global Language Project
I originally founded Global Language Project in 2009, after having traveled for my work in different corporate contexts and having lived in Paris on my own. In my travels, I realized the extent to which young people in different parts of the world, from Asia to Europe, were proficient in a language other than their native one, and how this knowledge afforded them much greater access to educational and professional opportunities. This realization prompted me to begin GLP’s pilot program at PS368-Hamilton Heights School in Harlem, New York. We began with offering Mandarin and Spanish to elementary age students, and now we offer Spanish, Mandarin, French, and Arabic to over 840 students throughout New York.
There have been many reasons behind our organization’s ongoing success, and while we are still a work-in-progress, we have found that one of the most challenging and yet most productive topic that we have addressed with GLP supporters is how to practically set up your own foreign language program in a public school environment. This summer, at the Partnership for Afterschool Education’s Annual Conference, I will be speaking about the pragmatic ways that educators can set up their own foreign language programs, with an eye toward thinking closely about their program budgets, curricula, and how to measure student language proficiency.
In our workshop, participants will learn about the multiple steps involved in setting up a program, from picking an appropriate language to employing certain fundraising practices and strategies. We hope that participants will walk away with a better consideration of the following factors to consider when establishing a program: the purpose for why you would like to offer a particular language to students; the most feasible schedule for the program to take place; the type of curriculum that would be best suited to enable student proficiency in the language ; the ideal types of instructors you see executing the curriculum; and general strategies for how to fundraise through both corporate, foundation, university, and individual partnerships. It is our pleasure to share the lessons we have learned over the past few years in hopes of increasing language learning opportunities for more children!
If you are interested in learning more about GLP’s tips for starting a foreign language program, please hear us speak at the annual Partnership for Afterschool Education Conference.