NEW SIG Proposal- Critical Literacies in World Languages for Transformative Education

By Siwen Zhang posted 12-27-2010 02:42

Please use this link(, search my name (Siwen Zhang) to download the PDF form(signature support form), sign it, scant it, and send it to me to support this new SIG proposal. I am in need of 150 signatures to make it proposal happen! :)

Please send the scanned copy of your support form to:


Siwen Zhang

NEW SIG Proposal- 
Critical Literacies in World Languages for Transformative Education -  CLWLTE

Background information -  How this SIG will support ACTFL’s mission and goals

We would like to assert that more is needed to address the dwindling resources and increasing demands that educators face in meeting the diversity of students' needs. Secretary Arne Duncan's  (2010) remarks recognized this and indicated that “Just 10 states require foreign language study for high school graduation--and low-income and minority students in particular lag behind their peers in other countries in their knowledge of languages, as well as geography and other cultures…Low-income students and those who live in rural areas are a lot less likely to attend a school with language instruction. We have to level the playing field for them and offer better opportunities.” This SIG holds that world language instruction can be more of a resource for students and teachers than it currently has been envisioned. 

Mission Statement

The ACTFL SIG, tentatively known as "Critical Literacies in World Languages for Transformative Education -  (CLWLTE)  identifies  its mission to
1. Build creative and rigorous community for encouraging instructional practices that speak to local conditions and how world  language learning  can build new insights for transforming local conditions  and facing  global realities.
2. Design ways for teachers and students to work toward social justice projects making their conditions known to the audiences that can be helpful in constructing ecological responses / solutions
3. Construct social networks that encourage both traditional and new literacies development of tools and skills for carrying out communication and knowledge development in ways that reach real audiences that matter (stakeholders) with real emotions and creative thinking for issues that matter.
4. Provide forum for research and theorizing that examine the affordances of innovative socially oriented projects
5. Create dialogs with stakeholders in diverse communities to identify goals and resources for instructional transformation (eg.: seek out demonstration projects in Chicago, New York, Boston, etc., and perhaps get the Great City Schools involved in some way)

The SIG would have as principles

1. recognition of world  language and literacy as more than linguistic resources to be learned or acquired.
Language is viewed in this SIG as influencing knowledge and identity construction  and being dialectically constructed through  users’ activities constructing knowledge. This shapes culture and thinking as has been established by  scholars such as  Michael Agar (1994),  James Lantolf (2009),  and  Guadalupe Valdés (2006) to name a few.
2. acknowledge  that participation and critical understanding in world language and literate practices opens up possibilities for urban teachers and children to transform their current communities as well as their imagined ones (knowledge and identity)
3.critical multimodal literacy practices and critical language awareness complement the 5 C's  and are necessary for meeting academic and social development of learners and teachers in this millennium ( New literacies and thinking)
4. apprenticeship in diverse settings will promote deeper understandings and potential insights into mutual transformation ( eg.: local community learning and well-designed study abroad experiences; eg.: in service learning roles, and so  forth)
5. cross professional-association collaboration is needed to  intensify needed transformative curricular and teacher education efforts locally and internationally
Agar, M. (1994). Language shock: Understanding the culture of conversation. New York: William Morrow

Lantolf, J. P. (2009). Knowledge of language in teacher education. The Modern Language Journal 93: 271-274.

US Department of Education. (2010). Education and the Language Gap: Secretary Arne Duncan's Remarks at the Foreign Language Summit. December 8.

Valdes, G. (2006). The development of minority language resources; Case of Spanish in California. Bristol, UK: Multilingual Matters.