Reflection on ACTFL 2019: Learning to be an Advocate

My experiences at the annual ACTFL convention are always a little different from a “typical” ACTFL attendee. Given my district role as a program supervisor, I am fortunate to start ACTFL Week on Tuesday, when the National Association of District Supervisors for Foreign Language (NADSFL) convenes for its annual meeting. By the time ACTFL convention rolls around, my brain is full and I have to recharge quickly so I can focus on interesting and timely presentations. This year was no different.

As part of the pre-ACTFL time, NADSFL members are able to participate in the Assembly of Delegates (AoD), a one-day meeting sponsored by ACTFL where delegates from state and partner organizations meet together to hear about and discuss issues facing world language programs. This year because ACTFL was in Washington DC, Howie Berman and staff organized a Capitol Hill Day for the AoD delegates. For me, this turned out to be one of the highlights, not only of this convention, but of any convention I have attended.

ACTFL did a great job of soliciting information from delegates ahead of time so that meetings could be pre-arranged. As we checked in early on Thursday morning, we received a schedule that reflected our visits for the day. After a quick orientation on Capitol Hill where we were given talking points and suggestions on how to approach the visit, we set off with our state delegations.

For me, I visited my two state senators followed by my representative. I freely admit that the first visit was a little overwhelming and intimidating. This was something that was very much out of my realm of experience. Fortunately, one of my fellow Texans had participated in visits before so our entire group deferred to her experience. By the second visit, we were all feeling a little more confident and chimed in with comments.

In none of the visits did we actually meet with elected officials, we only met with staffers but that’s not unusual. Most visits happen with staffers; they are the ones who take issues and concerns back to the senators and representatives.

My third visit was all on my own since I was the lone representative from San Antonio but by the time I arrived, I was ready, although still a little nervous! On my walk to the Longworth House Office Building, I went back over our talking points and requests. Part of it was easy, we were discussing the importance of world language instruction and asking for support. As educators, we all know why world languages are important for the economy, for national security, for being an educated 21st-century global citizen. Specifically, we were asking for support of the Title VI International Education Programs in the Higher Education Act; support for the house-passed funding amounts for Title VI and Fulbright Hays Foreign Language Instruction Programs; and, support of America’s Language Caucus, a bi-cameral and bi-partisan initiative to ensure adequate resources are pushed to world language learning (ACTFL Assembly of Advocates Congressional Meeting Talking Points, 2019).

At the end of the day, I was tired, but I felt fulfilled. I had advocated for something I passionately believe in and I had directly participated in the democratic process. Will it make a difference? Time will tell. But after the AoD experience, I have a much clearer idea of what advocacy entails, as well as what it requires. I am ready to participate whenever I can in organized advocacy days at both the local, state, and national levels. And, maybe, I’m ready to take on some advocacy all on my own.

Save Time, Money & Hire Qualified Job Applicants

qualified job applicants

Imagine what it would be like if finding qualified job applicants were fast, easy, and cost effective? While that might be a far-off dream, there is one foolproof way to save yourself time and money when hiring multilingual candidates.

Save Time and Money, and Hire Qualified Applicants

Language Certification is the answer to ensuring your multilingual job applicants are qualified and have the appropriate level of language ability for the job at hand. 

How does it work?

Simply add “ACTFL Bilingual Certification Preferred or Required” to your job postings. Then point potential candidates to www.languagetesting.com, where they can pre-certify their level of proficiency in the target language. It’s an effective screening method, which ensures that all candidates you choose to interview are highly-qualified to speak, understand, read, and write in the target language. 

Secure and Convenient 

Through our remote proctoring service, we offer candidates the ability to securely test their language skills anytime, anywhere. We visually verify identifications and monitor the entire test, ensuring valid, reliable results. Candidates who choose to pre-certify organize and pay for their exams directly with LTI. 

Besides saving you time and money, pre-certification and language testing provides you peace of mind and a verifiable language credential that confirms the appropriate level of language skills to get the job done. It also confirms the candidates commitment to the process, the benefit to you—you’ll spend less time sorting through applications and more time recruiting qualified candidates. 

Contact us and schedule a time with an assessment specialist to learn more about how Language Testing International (LTI) can assist you with your language proficiency testing needs.

Language Proficient – October 2019

Language Proficient

Brought to you by Language Testing International — Your Global Partner in Language Testing, Training, and Learning.

3 MILLION Multilinguals strong and growing!

Companies all around the world depend on multilingual talent in order to grow and scale their business. Employees with the appropriate level of language proficiency eliminate communication barriers and mitigate risk when conducting business. The list of companies that have announced hiring initiatives to fill the gap in their multilingual talent pool is growing—from call centers in Honduras to corporations in the United States such as Progressive, Nielsen, and Disney. CEO and Founder of Monese, Norris Koppel, spoke on his purpose, “We operate in 8 languages with more to roll out, so having the insight of those who are bilingual or multilingual not only helps us to achieve our goals but also to understand the nuances and cultures of each country and our customers.” (Gentle)

The impact of having a multilingual proficient workplace in the corporate sector bolsters both economic and social psychological effects. A one language fits all approach to business “could impoverish innovation and creativity, leading to business monoculture and standardized patterns of thinking” while a multilingual approach allows a company the opportunity to look at achieving their goals through multiple lenses (Yanaprasart, 2016, HRPub). Implementing a multilingual approach provides a strong infrastructure for engagement, for suppliers to customers to coworkers, with which otherwise nuances in language would be lost (Kraniotis).

The consequences of continuing on with this one language fits all approach have become indisputable. In the UK, 11% of contracts are lost annually “…because SME’s are unable to conduct business in a language other than English. That’s the equivalent of 945,000 lost contracts”(DCU Language Services, 2013). Overall in the United States, 1 in 6 U.S. businesses are losing out due to a lack of language skills and cultural awareness in their workforce (Conversis). In Australia, a high profile case, in particular regarding 7-Eleven, the convenience store chain, was ordered to pay $57 million in wages to overseas workers who were unable to communicate workplace issues because of a language barrier (Bushell-Embling). Clearly, language proficiency is a worldwide matter.

As the role of technology evolves, it is important to embrace the highly adaptive means of evaluating language proficiency in the workplace (Kraniotis).

Language Testing International (LTI) administers language assessments to hundreds of thousands of candidates every year and is one of the largest and most respected foreign language proficiency test providers in the world. We offer the highest level of client service as well as convenient online test scheduling and reporting over secure client networks. Not sure what level of language is needed for the task at hand? LTI offers comprehensive assessments to help you every step of the way!

Contact us today to get started!

Go Global, Grow Your Business, and Get Certified!

world globe puzzleGlobalization creates unlimited opportunities for industries worldwide. How can your organization go global and ensure that your efforts are successful? Your company’s potential customer base is virtually endless when barriers are broken down, including, but not limited to, language barriers.

Is your organization prepared to communicate, serve, and delight your customers?

Have you certified the language skills of your employees who are front and center?

An opinion article in the Training Journal indicated that “language learning will become an integral part of a company’s corporate strategy” as a means of improving international negotiations and relationships as well as internal business operations. This article is part of a growing body of evidence that suggests that corporations are in need of global language expansion in order to succeed. This goes hand in hand with recent reports that the demand for bilingual workers has doubled in the past five years (New American Economy, 2017, March).

Successful global companies assess the language proficiency of their employees and unlock the potential of key global markets by using language assessments to certify the skills of their bilingual employees. Studies have shown that customers prefer to communicate in their native language, and “56.2% of consumers said that the ability to obtain information in their own language is more important than price.”

Language assessments allow you to better understand your employees’ actual language skills so that you can assign your team tasks that are the best fit for their level of language ability. Language testing is an essential part of any company’s global strategy.

Contact us and schedule a time with an assessment specialist to learn more about how Language Testing International (LTI) can assist you with your language testing needs.

Go Global, Grow Your Business, and Get Certified!