Language Matters

Kathleen Stein Smith, Ph.D

Monthly Archives: March 2019

Kathy presenting at the SWCOLT annual conference in Fort Worth, Texas

I am so happy to have been able to present at the SWCOLT (Southwest Conference on Language Teaching) annual conference in Fort Worth, Texas.

Traveling from the airport to Fort Worth, I couldn’t help admiring the lush green of the grass and foliage, a marked contrast to the still-wintry North Jersey landscape.

My session, on “The Importance of Foreign Language Advocacy in Building Student Skills and Empowerment,” included many questions and general discussion with the participants, which is always the best way to get to the heart of an issue.

SWCOLT 03-30-19

The plenary session, on “the courage to connect,” was inspirational.  The interesting session schedule and impressive exhibit area, including a wonderful mariachi performance on Friday evening, were matched only by the friendliness and hospitality of the organizers and participants.

It was a wonderful opportunity to see old friends and to make new ones, to listen to both successes and concerns, and to talk about the importance of foreign language learning and of foreign language advocacy with dedicated educators from across the region.

The historic setting, in the very hotel where President Kennedy stayed during his final night, had photos of the fateful presidential visit on display and was adjacent to the inspirational John F. Kennedy Tribute Memorial in General Worth Square, a destination for many throughout the day and well into the evening.

Many thanks to SWCOLT for including my session in the conference program, and special thanks to everyone who attended my session, especially AATF President Anne Jensen.

Arriving in Newark airport on Saturday evening, I  noticed a large group of excited, happy travelers preparing to board their flight.  Where to?  Paris, of course!  🙂

Languages do matter!


Over 12,000 views of my article, “Foreign language classes becoming more scarce” in “The Conversation” — Thank you!!!

“Of all the skills that a person could have in today’s globalized world, few serve individuals – and the larger society – as well as knowing how to speak another language.

Despite all these reasons to learn a foreign language, there has been a steep decline in foreign language instruction in America’s colleges and universities.”

Read more @

Languages do matter!

Over 13,000 Views of My TEDx talk on the US Foreign Language Deficit — Thank you!!!

Over 13,000 views of my TEDx talk on the US foreign language deficit — Thank you!!!

Languages do matter!

Kathy Attending and Presenting at CSCTFL 2019 in Columbus

I was delighted to attend the CSCTFL 2019 Conference in Columbus, Ohio, this weekend as both a member of the Advisory Council and as a presenter, and so happy to have been invited to present on “Foreign Language Advocacy: Building a Bridge to Empowerment through Proficiency.”

CSCTFL 2019 03-16-19

I was so impressed by the scope of the program that I attended as many sessions as I could, as well as the extensive exhibit hall. After arriving on Friday morning, I attended the AATF-Ohio annual meeting, visited with friends at the AATF table, and attended sessions throughout the day on Friday and Saturday — on authentic audio, engaging and empowering language learners, “advocacy now,” facilitating change, implementing the recommendations of the Commission on Language Learning, creating your own world language immersion day, and building bridges within the language department.

Key takeaways for me are the increasing importance of advocacy at all levels and of a cohesive and collaborative department. I thoroughly enjoyed the presentation on the immersion day imagined and implemented at a local high school, with all the creativity and planning that were necessary.

Many thanks to CSCTFL for inviting me to present and special thanks to everyone who attended my session.

Congratulations to the conference organizers on this wonderful start to CSCTFL’s next 50 years!

The setting for the conference at the Downtown Hilton and the Greater Columbus Convention Center was appealing, convenient, and comfortable for viewing the exhibits, attending sessions, and chatting with friends old and new.

As always, CSCTFL has lived up to and surpassed its tradition as “the friendly conference.”

Languages do matter!

Kathy presenting at the FLAME 2019 conference in Portland, Maine

I am so happy to have been selected to present at the FLAME 2019 (Foreign Language Association of Maine) conference in Portland, Maine, on “Foreign Language Skills as Student Empowerment: The Role of Advocacy.”

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After a return to the gate due to mechanical problems at Newark early Friday morning, I arrived in scenic and historic Portland and was able to attend the FLAME luncheon/business meeting and saw AATF-Maine President Nathalie Gorey receive the FLAME leadership award.

I was delighted to be invited to the AATF-Maine meeting, where I was impressed by their wide range of activities and initiatives — I was especially intrigued by a planned trip this summer to Saint-Pierre and Miquelon, nearby islands just off the coast which are actually part of Metropolitan France.

The vibrant French heritage of the region and the lovely setting “by the bay” only added to the impressiveness of this well-organized and well-attended conference.

Many thanks to the Maine foreign language educators who attended my presentation, and special thanks to the conference organizers who invited me to present.

Congratulations to AATF-Maine for the wonderful work that they do, and special congratulations to Nathalie Gorey on receiving the FLAME leadership award.

Languages do matter!