As part of Teacher Appreciation Week, Secretary Arne Duncan recognized Mr. Noah Geisel as the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) National Language Teacher of the Year. Mr. Geisel, a Spanish teacher at East High School in Denver, said his enthusiasm for teaching Spanish “comes from my love of language and culture, and belief that language learning and understanding of cultures are essential to my students’ futures.”
Secretary Duncan and the U.S. Department of Education share Mr. Geisel’s belief in the importance of foreign languages and global competencies to the future of our nation’s students and a key part of a world-class education. As Secretary Duncan has said, “to prosper economically and to improve relations with other countries, Americans need to read, speak and understand other languages.” And this is something that I have seen personally, both while working on the President’s National Security Staff and now leading our Office of International and Foreign Language Education here at the Department of Education.
In the months ahead, we look forward to working with foreign language teachers like Mr. Geisel across the country as we continue our Fulbright-Hays and Higher Education Title VI programs and encourage new partnerships between institutions of higher education and neighboring schools and communities. For example, Language Resource Centers throughout the country provide materials and training for K-12 teachers, who then are equipped with the tools and additional knowledge to further world language learning at the K-12 level.
This is the kind of partnership that makes foreign language programs sustainable and develops the cradle-to-career pipeline that we need for foreign language competencies. Check out some of the opportunities offered by our International and Foreign Language Office, and be sure to sign up for our newsletter while there and please also send us your ideas and examples of the great partnerships you have developed to IFLE@ed.gov!
Clay Pell is deputy assistant secretary for International and Foreign Language Education