Goals, Recommendations, & Action Items

Participants in the 2018 Wisconsin Language Summit

The Wisconsin Language Roadmap’s strategic goals and core recommendations address the pressing challenges in world language education in the state today and pave the way to a world-ready Wisconsin.

The recommendations were developed by cross-sector working groups, with input from hundreds of Wisconsinites. Implementing these recommendations enhances the economic competitiveness of the state, promotes the vitality and well-being of local communities, and increases the opportunities for professional success and personal enrichment for all Wisconsin students.

Successful implementation of the Wisconsin Language Roadmap’s recommendations and action items requires legislative and local action, significant and sustained public and private investment, and new cross-sector partnerships to support specific projects. Successful implementation of these recommendations will also take time.

Goal 1: Develop leadership and advocacy for language education.

Raising the degree to which we value and support language learning requires shared responsibility and collective action. Students need the support of parents and teachers. Teachers need the support of educational administrators. Administrators need the support of our school systems, which in turn need support from their school communities and the State of Wisconsin. State-level leadership for languages, combined with local partnerships and programs, can level the playing field for all Wisconsin students by preparing them with the language, intercultural and global competencies they both need and deserve to be college-, career-, and community-ready.

Select a recommendation below to view specific action items:

  • 1.1. Establish state-level leadership to support and sustain cross-sector collaboration for language education.

    1.1.a. Establish the Wisconsin Coalition for Advancing Language Learning, a statewide network of leaders across sectors — PreK-16+ education, business and industry, health and human services, state and local government, Sovereign Nations, community organizations, etc.—for purposes such as the following:

    ● to identify cross-sector groups and individuals to take action on high-priority recommendations of this report,
    ● to ensure ongoing communication among stakeholders,
    ● to stimulate collaboration and coordination between the public and private sectors and PreK-16+ education,
    ● to increase understanding about the value of multilingualism and the importance of language learning,
    ● to promote the teaching and learning of languages and cultures for Wisconsin students at all levels,
    ● to support excellence and innovation in world language education, and
    ● to coordinate the effective use of instructional technologies to improve both access and outcomes in language learning.

    1.1.b. Leverage additional state-level initiatives in areas such as workforce development and talent recruitment and retention in the implementation of the Wisconsin Language Roadmap recommendations.
    1.1.c. Sustain professional staffing levels required for the leadership and progress toward implementation of Roadmap recommendations across the state.

  • 1.2. Increase public and school-based understanding and support for language, intercultural, and global learning.

    1.2.a. Develop and implement sustained advocacy and communications initiatives to

    ● collect and share data and success stories of how language proficiency and intercultural competencies create value for Wisconsin businesses and other entities, and lead to personal and professional opportunities for individuals;
    ● leverage voices of business, state and local government, Sovereign Nations, and community leaders regarding the demand for languages;
    ● show how language study articulates with different academic pathways and professional trajectories;
    ● engage parents in supporting local language program development and in encouraging their children to participate in language learning; and
    ● inform students and parents of opportunities for language learning and international study.

    1.2.b. Prepare school-based personnel to better understand and meet the needs of linguistically and culturally diverse students, families, and communities.
    1.2.c. Develop multilingual communication strategies to reach and engage with linguistically and culturally diverse communities in this work.

  • 1.3. Strengthen partnerships at the local, state, national, and international levels focused on language, intercultural, and global learning among PreK-16+ schools, businesses, government agencies, and non-profit and other non-governmental organizations.

    1.3.a. Create ways for Wisconsin businesses, government agencies, and NGOs to connect with individuals with language and culture expertise in postsecondary institutions and within local school communities.
    1.3.b. Provide custom training, workshops, and experiential learning opportunities for Wisconsin businesses, government agencies and NGOs, based on specific needs for language and cultural preparation.
    1.3.c. Develop new partnerships across academic disciplines to integrate language and disciplinary learning.
    1.3.d. Build networks for leadership, collaboration, and implementation of the strategies put forward in the Wisconsin Language Roadmap.

  • 1.4. Encourage strategic planning, professional partnerships, and resource- sharing among PreK-16+ language educators.

    1.4.a. Build PreK-16+ professional communities of practice for articulated proficiency- and standards-based language programs and learning environments.
    1.4.b. Create means for PreK-16+ language educators to share resources, best practices, curricula, assessments, and opportunities for student learning and teacher professional development.
    1.4.c. Promote action research and partnerships between practicing teachers and researchers at postsecondary institutions.

Goal 2: Develop continuous and effective language programs for all students.

Achieving advanced proficiency in a second language requires an extended period of study. Research indicates that starting language learning at a young age—and maintaining that learning over time—are crucial conditions to the development of the advanced language proficiency necessary for career purposes. Effective language education programs should provide standards- and proficiency-based learning environments and follow a developmental sequence of goals over time. Equitable access to language learning is also critical. The benefits of experiential learning in the form of international partnerships, workplace internships, community service, and other opportunities should be made available to all Wisconsin students.

Select a recommendation below to view specific action items:

  • 2.1. Develop and expand effective PreK-16+ programs to improve language proficiency outcomes and academic achievement of students.

    2.1.a. Substantially increase the number of language immersion programs in Wisconsin and diversify the languages offered through those programs, ensuring equity for students in those programs.
    2.1.b. Develop advanced proficiency and intercultural competencies through sequential language programs in diverse languages that build on existing language abilities that students bring to their schooling.
    2.1.c. Improve articulation across grade levels and institutions for seamless student transitions and to ensure a developmental continuum for language learning.
    2.1.d. Revise and implement PreK-16+ academic standards with proficiency benchmarks for Wisconsin that describe what students should know and be able to do in the language of study at different levels of instruction.
    2.1.e. Facilitate pathways to careers through interdisciplinary courses and programs that link language learning to relevant contexts for all students, with an emphasis on functional language skills and intercultural abilities.
    2.1.f. Develop new postsecondary degree programs in professional translation and interpretation for education, healthcare, legal, technical, and other fields.
    2.1.g. Evaluate the design, implementation, and outcomes of new and existing language programs and share data on innovative and effective program practices.
    2.1.h. Recognize innovative and effective language and culture programs through new statewide awards of excellence.

  • 2.2. Ensure equity in and access to participation in language and global learning for all students and promote personalized learning and student agency in language learning.

    2.2.a. Position language and literacy learning as part of the core curriculum at all levels through requirements based on minimum years of study or through proficiency targets.
    2.2.b. Integrate global learning across the curriculum, PreK-16+.
    2.2.c. Focus on equity in language program development, access, participation, pedagogy, and outcomes with particular attention to the following:

    ● access issues in rural areas and underserved populations,
    ● diversity in language program design and student demographics,
    ● differentiation to meet the needs of individual students, and
    ● respect for and supported development of indigenous, heritage, and community languages.

    2.2.d. Integrate languages within academic and career planning and Career and Technical Education pathways for all students.
    2.2.e. Increase access to less commonly taught languages—including indigenous, heritage, and community languages—based on the interests and needs of individuals, communities, employers, and other local stakeholders.
    2.2.f. Employ technology-enabled, teacher-facilitated learning environments to expand access to language instruction. Provide pedagogical and instructional technology support to teachers to facilitate online learning.
    2.2.g. Expand partnerships between secondary schools and postsecondary institutions to offer and/or increase funding for dual-credit courses.
    2.2.h. Plan student programs and schedules to allow universal access to language learning.
    2.2.i. Engage students in performance-based goal setting and self-assessment for language learning.

  • 2.3. Increase student opportunities to study and intern abroad and/or participate in domestic experiential, co-curricular, and community-based language and intercultural learning.

    2.3.a. Increase access to study abroad for all students through scholarships that support international study and through resources for students, parents, and educators regarding these opportunities. Expand access to school-based international travel programs, including to Sovereign Nations.
    2.3.b. Support postsecondary student participation in long-term study abroad designed to facilitate language and culture learning.
    2.3.c. Increase the number of international and domestic internships sponsored by Wisconsin businesses and NGOs through which students develop and apply language, intercultural, and global skills.
    2.3.d. Develop and expand access to language and culture learning experiences in intensive summer, afterschool, and weekend language programs through community organizations and international partnerships.

  • 2.4. Develop and expand student access to academic credentials that recognize language, intercultural, and global competencies..

    2.4.a. Promote existing academic credentials for high school students, such as the Wisconsin Seal of Biliteracy and the Global Education Achievement Certificate Program, to increase participation in and valuation of these talent markers.
    2.4.b. Award credit and/or academic credentials to all secondary and postsecondary students who demonstrate high levels of language proficiency in English and at least one other language.
    2.4.c. Expand postsecondary certificates or other degree programs that integrate language study, such as interpreter and translator training.

Goal 3: Develop and sustain language teacher talent.

One of the most significant factors in a student’s learning experience is the teacher. A shortage of qualified language teachers threatens to compromise the outcomes of language education. Teacher recruitment, preparation, evaluation, and retention are all critical to sustaining and growing high-quality world language education programs for workforce and community development in Wisconsin.

Select a recommendation below to view specific action items:

  • 3.1. Expand recruitment and strengthen the preparation of PreK-12 heritage, bilingual, indigenous, and world language teachers.

    3.1.a. Leverage domestic and international learning experiences to prepare pre-service language educators with the necessary level of language proficiency and intercultural competence.
    3.1.b. Ensure high-quality educator preparation, induction, and coaching for standards- and proficiency-based language and culture programs. Encourage closer coordination in language teacher preparation programs between postsecondary departments of languages, literatures, cultures, and schools of education.
    3.1.c. Raise awareness among students, graduates, and other prospective teachers about pathways to the teaching profession through networking and mentoring for prospective teachers, and in partnership with existing programs and professional and community organizations.
    3.1.d. Increase teacher supply, especially among indigenous and heritage language populations and people of color, and through out-of-state and international recruitment.
    3.1.e. Create incentive programs, such as scholarships, grants, student loan forgiveness, and salary increases, to address both recruitment and retention of effective teachers.

  • 3.2. Align PreK-12 teacher education and licensing requirements with the skills needed to help students achieve advanced language proficiency.

    3.2.a. Implement a plan for a future transition to require a minimum of ACTFL Advanced Low language proficiency for world language teacher licensure and Advanced Mid for bilingual educators, as assessed by the ACTFL Oral Proficiency Interview (OPI) and Writing Proficiency Test (WPT), with alternative requirements and measures that are responsive to the characteristics of specific languages.
    3.2.b. Partner to create innovative and flexible pathways to teacher licensure with responsiveness to candidate background and expertise. Leverage online tools and learning experiences to increase access and to model use of instructional technologies in teacher education.
    3.2.c. Review and revise Wisconsin teacher certification options to support the development of diverse and rapidly growing program models (including bilingual/immersion).

  • 3.3. Invest in mentoring and professional development for all language educators.

    3.3.a. Invest in opportunities for language teachers to participate in discipline-specific continuing education and professional development and to access centralized information about professional development opportunities.
    3.3.b. Expand participation in mentoring programs for experienced language educators to support teachers at any career stage through traditional and non-traditional pathways.
    3.3.c. Create new international partnerships and professional development programs, such as short-term summer international academic programs or internships, that support teachers in maintaining or further developing their language and intercultural skills, and in staying abreast of ongoing developments in relevant cultures.
    3.3.d. Provide funding for language educators and instructional leaders to participate in international professional development. Prepare educational administrators and instructional leaders to support language teacher professional development and effectiveness.