Language Matters

Kathleen Stein Smith, Ph.D

Monthly Archives: January 2020

“7 reasons to learn a foreign language” –over 13,000 views this month

I am delighted to share with you that my newest article, “7 reasons to learn a foreign Language,” published just over a month ago, has had over 13,000 views.

Conversation ed page 12-17-19

Along with my earlier article, “Foreign language classes becoming more scarce,” published earlier last year, the articles have had a combined total of nearly 35,000 readers.

conversation article page scarce

If we all work together, we can make a difference!

Many thanks to all of you who have taken the time to read and to comment, and special thanks to The Conversation.

Languages do matter!



The 2019 Conversation on French and Foreign Language Advocacy – Kathy’s Year-End Update

I am delighted to report that the conversation on French and foreign language advocacy has given me the opportunity to meet and to interact with dedicated foreign language educators and advocates across the country, and to see old friends and make new ones.

I wholeheartedly believe that knowledge and use of other languages in addition to English are essential in a globalized world and an increasingly multilingual society, and current research confirms this.  In addition, our own US history and cultural identity are profoundly multilingual.

I encourage foreign language educators, stakeholders, and enthusiasts to advocate for languages at the local, state, regional, and national level, through personal and professional engagement, and in support of current advocacy campaigns and initiatives at all levels.

Please feel free to contact me if you would like to discuss French or foreign language advocacy!

Many thanks to all who have attended my presentations and read my writing, and special thanks to the members of the AATF Commission on Advocacy, of which I serve as Chair, for their support and encouragement.

Best wishes to all for the new year!

Please keep in touch!

Please feel free to contact me directly.

  1. Email —
  2. Facebook
  3. Twitter@KathySteinSmith
  4. WordPress

As Chair of the AATF, I invite you to join the conversation.

  1. Facebook
  2. Twitter — @AATFComAdvocacy
  3. Web (created and maintained by Founding Chair, Dr. Robert “Tennessee Bob” Peckham



2019 Highlights

aatf-2019 both

2019 Conference Presentations (in reverse chronological order)

Presentation on “Building Language Skills through Immersion” at the ACTFL (American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages) 2019 convention in Washington, DC. (November 24, 2019)

Pesentation on “World Language Advocacy: Opening Doors to Connections Locally and Globally” at the NYSAFLT (New York State Assocation of Foreign Language Teachers) 2019 conference. (November 1, 2019)

Presentation on “French Language and Francophone Culture in the US – A Global Language with a Local Touch/ Le Français – langue mondiale, langue locale” at the MaFLA (Massachusetts Foreign Language Association) 2019 conference. Brief presentation on “Que fait l’AATF pour la promotion du français?” at the AATF Eastern Massachusetts annual meeting at MaFLA. (October 26, 2019)

Presentation on “Unlocking the World for Our Students: The Role of Foreign Language Advocacy,” at the FLAVA (Foreign Language Association of Virginia) conference in Williamsburg (October 5, 2019).

Presentation on “Strategic Advocacy for French Language and Francophone Culture Education: Session officielle de la Commission sur la Défense du Français,” with Founding Chair, Tennessee Bob Peckham, at the AATF Congrès annuel in Philadelphia (July 16, 2019).

Presentation on “Foreign Language Advocacy: Strengthening and Supporting Foreign Language Learning” at the ADFL (Association of Departments of Foreign Languages) summer seminar in Spokane (May 24, 2019).

Presentation on “Multilingualism and the Sustainable Development Goals — Many Languages One World” at the Comparative and International Education Society (CIES) 2019 conference on education for sustainability in San Francisco (April 16, 2019).

Brief book talk with my co-author, Fabrice Jaumont, about our new book, “The Gift of Languages,” at the annual American Society of the French Academic Palms (ASFAP) meeting at the Bistro Vendôme in NYC (April 6, 2019).

Presentation on “The Importance of Foreign Language Advocacy in Building Student Skills and Empowerment” at the SWCOLT 2019 annual conference in Dallas (March 30, 2019).

Presentation on “Foreign Language Advocacy: Building a Bridge to Empowerment through Proficiency” at the CSCTFL 2019 conference in Columbus, Ohio (March 16, 2019).

Presentation on “Foreign Language Skills as Student Empowerment: The Role of Advocacy” at the FLAME annual conference in Portland, Maine (March 8, 2019).

Presentation on “Advocacy and Languages across the K-16 Continuum” at the MLA Convention in Chicago (January 2019).

book trio

2019 Publications (in reverse chronological order)


The Gift of Languages: Paradigm Shift in U.S. Foreign Language Education. Co-authored with Fabrice Jaumont. TBR Books, 2019. Translated into Spanish and French — El regalo de las lenguas: Un cambio de paradigma en la enseñanza de las lenguas extranjeras en Estados Unidos, and Le don des langues: Vers un changement de paradigme dans l’enseignement des langues étrangères aux États-Unis, respectively.

Articles (in reverse chronological order)

“7 reasons to learn a foreign language” The Conversation 17 December 2019

“Building on Historic Foundations.” Language Magazine Nov 2019.

“French Teaching in the U.S.” Language Magazine Nov 2019.

“Classes Duo Paris/Knoxville, an Integrative Learning Experience: A Case Study.”  TPLS: Theory and Practice in Language Studies v. 9 no. 9 September 2019

“Bastille Day, or French Every Day.” France-Amérique 12 July 2019.

“Un Coup des États-Unis.” Language Magazine July 2019.

“Foreign Language Advocacy: Empowering Foreign Language Educators.” NYSAFLT (New York State Association of Foreign Language Teachers) Language Association Journal v. 68 no. 1 (Spring 2019).

“AATF Commission on Advocacy Update.”  AATF National Bulletin v. 44 no 4 April 2019, p. 4.

“For the Children’s Sake.” Language Magazine April 2019.

“Rethinking the Role of Foreign Languages in the US: Toward a More Diverse Cultural Identity.” JLTR: Journal of Language Teaching and Research v. 10 no. 3 (2019).

“So You Say:  Reader Responses to Issues in Language Learning.” (contribution included). The Language Educator. February/March 2019. p. 58.

“Foreign Language Classes Becoming More Scarce.”  The Conversation 6 February 2019

“The Bilingual Approach: Foreign Language Education for the Twenty-First Century” (Review Essay) GSLR: Global Studies Literature Review No. 9 January 2019.
The Bilingual Revolution: The Future of Education Is in Two Languages by Fabrice Jaumont

KSS and Tanzina Vega 02-19-19

2019 Radio Interviews (in reverse chronological order)

Interview on learning a foreign language on “The Attitude w/Arne Arnesen” on WNHN (December 18, 2019)

Interview on foreign language learning in the US, “Fewer Americans Have the Opportunity to Learn a Foreign Language in School” with Tanzina Vega on “The Takeaway” on WNYC.

Interview on foreign language learning in the US, “Fewer Foreign Language Options in Schools,” on Wisconsin Public Radio (February 7, 2019)

Palmes 04-06-19 6

Other Professional Engagement

I was delighted to attend the Palmes luncheon in NYC during NECTFL, the Palmes dinner in New York at the annual meeting, the Palmes dinner in Philadelphia during AATF, and the French Embassy luncheon in Washington, DC, during ACTFL; to have been invited to attend the AATF Region II meeting at Albertine during NECTFL; to serve as a member of the Palmes election committee; and to have visited the French American Academy in NJ.



Presenting at the MLA 2020 Convention in Seattle

I am so happy to have presented on the “New Structures for a Changed World: The Second Decade,” in a panel discussion on languages and the interdisciplinary department at the MLA (Modern Language Association) 2020 convention in Seattle.

It was a wonderful opportunity to engage in conversation on the importance of foreign languages and foreign language learning with dedicated scholars and teachers, both on the panel and among those who attended the session, and to discuss the importance of foreign language advocacy with educators from across the country and from Canada.

MLA 2020 5

Special thanks to my co-presenters, to our presider, Christopher Lupke, and to the MLA organizers for inviting me to participate, and many thanks to all those who attended the session.

MLA 2020 2

In addition to my own presentation, conference highlights included the session on foreign language enrollment and the innovation showcase.

Special congratulations to AATF’s Jayne Abrate on receiving the ADFL Award for Distinguished Service to the Profession.

In addition to my own session, I was also able to attend interesting sessions and events, including the Delegate Assembly as a member observer and a session on being online: risks and rewards for women in academe, as well as the exhibit hall.

All in all, it was a wonderful opportunity to see old friends and to meet new ones! The setting in beautiful Seattle and the Washington State Convention Center only added to the memorable experience of this well-organized and well-attended 135th annual convention.

Languages do matter!

Making time for languages! Over 12,000 views for my newest article, “7 reasons to learn a foreign language,” in The Conversation — Thank you all!

I am delighted that my newest article in The Conversation, “7 reasons to learn a foreign language,” has already had over 12,000 views — Thank you all!

My article published earlier in the year, “Foreign language classes becoming more scarce,” has had over 21,000 views, making a total of well over 33,000 for both.

7 reasons

Conversation article








The message is clear — foreign languages and foreign language learning are important for so many, for as many reasons as there are individuals!

Whether as a new year’s resolution, the actualization of a lifelong dream, a connection with a family heritage or that of a loved one, or preparation for an upcoming trip, there is no better time to begin learning another language, or to continue learning a language studied or spoken in the past.

As busy as we may be in our personal and professional lives, and as multi-faceted as the academic and learning needs of our students at all levels may be, we cannot and should not forget to make time for languages in our lives and in our schools!

Read more @


Languages do matter!