Language Matters

Kathleen Stein Smith, Ph.D

Monthly Archives: February 2020

Kathy’s interview @ WNYC radio’s “The Takeaway” — thoughts a year later

I can hardly believe that a year has already passed since I had the opportunity to discuss language learning and, even more importantly, the availability of access to language learning with Tanzina Vega on “The Takeaway.”

Access to the opportunity of learning one or more additional languages, a quintessential global competency, is by no means universal in the US, and is actually decreasing in our elementary and middle schools, and on our college and university campuses.  Even high school programs are at risk.

There are foreign language advocacy groups at the state, regional, and national level in need of our support and participation.

The time to act is now!

The following is my post from one year ago —

I am so happy to share with you that I was interviewed on the importance of foreign language learning on WNYC radio’s “The Takeaway” by show host Tanzina Vega.

It was a wonderful opportunity to get the word out, especially to parents and communities, not only in the NYC area, but in all the locations throughout the country where “The Takeaway” airs.

KSS and Tanzina Vega 02-19-19

While waiting in the “green room,” I had a chance to view the wide range of activities at a busy, and prestigious, radio station on a weekday morning, and I was impressed by the many plaques and trophies for awards won that were on display.

Many thanks to the entire team at WNYC for their warm welcome and for making me feel at home, and special thanks to Tanzina Vega for a wonderful conversation and to producer Alexandra Botti for reaching out to me, for the follow-up, and for the great photos!  🙂

You can listen to the segment @

Languages do matter!

Can Germans’ right to switch off survive the digital age?

What seemed perfectly normal to the American, working after hours, was inconceivable to the German. After all, it was Feierabend, a German term which refers both to the end of the working day and the act of switching off from work entirely.

Down time is taken very seriously in Europe’s biggest economy. That’s why, when the European Union introduced mandatory work and rest periods back in 2003, the Germans embraced the chance to enshrine their sacrosanct work-life balance in law.

An uninterrupted 11-hour break every 24 hours was guaranteed for all workers, bar a few exceptions. All EU member states adopted the rule, but the German Working Hours Act allowed fewer exceptions than elsewhere.

Read more @

Languages do matter!

Kathy presenting on foreign language advocacy at NECTFL 2020 in NYC

I am so happy to have had the opportunity to present on “Foreign Language Advocacy and the Opportunity to Learn Another Language” at the NECTFL (Northeast Conference on the Teaching of Foreign Languages) 2020 conference in New York City.

Arriving on Friday morning, I was able to attend the wonderful keynote, the session presented by the ACTFL teacher of the year, the Palmes luncheon, a session on the use of a French television series in the classroom, a session on leadership and networking, and the Awards Ceremony, where — among other honorees — my co-author, Fabrice Jaumont, received the James W. Dodge Advocacy Award.

nectfl 20 awards

On Saturday, I presented my session on foreign language advocacy, attended a session on media and marketing, and a session on foreign language requirements. As a member of the Advisory Council, I also attended the Advisory Council meeting and luncheon.

nectfl 20 pres

I was delighted to visit with friends at the AATF, CALEC, and many other tables in the impressive exhibit hall, and was so happy to attend the many French language-oriented sessions and events. It was a wonderful opportunity to re-connect with old friends and to meet new ones!

It was an inspirational and memorable conference. The setting in Midtown Manhattan for this well-organized and well-attended conference was ideal.

Many thanks to the NYC Palmes for organizing the collegial and convivial offsite luncheon, to the NECTFL director, conference chair, and all the organizers, and special thanks to all those who attended and participated in my session.

Languages do matter!



Kathy selected as Communications Officer at the National Coalition of Independent Scholars (NCIS)

I am so happy to have been selected as Communications Officer at the National Coalition of Independent Scholars (NCIS).  Many thanks to all and special thanks to Amanda Haste, President.

I look forward to serving!  🙂

You can read more @


Kathy on the FIU Making Global Learning Universal Podcast

I am delighted to be featured on the FIU Making Global Learning Universal Podcast speaking about language learning and global citizenship. Special thanks to Stephanie Doscher!

FIU Episode 7 Description

You can listen to the entire podcast @

Languages do matter!