West Virginia Foreign Language Teachers Association

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Language Advocacy Day

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L-R Peggy Dolan, Nancy Ryan, Senator Joe Manchin, Terri Marlow

Language Advocacy Day on February 14th and 15th, 2019

By Peggy Dolan

This was another outstanding experience for the WVFLTA Foreign Language Advocacy Team. In one office, we received an efficient reception, while in all the others, we were welcomed very warmly. The majority of aides with whom we met were enthusiastic about languages and the world’s need for them now, more than ever. We discussed the need to have our WV students trained so they can leave our schools on an equal footing as those in other states. We talked about commerce in our state, and how we need to be linguistically and culturally educated if we are going to attract and maintain international businesses. We talked about how critical the need is for our country’s defense that we have an “army” of global thinkers and language specialists. We talked about the importance of early language learning, as well as the commitment to study abroad options in higher education.

One staffer mentioned that she regrets not having continued her study, and we assured her that it is never too late. Another knew she missed the boat but said that she and her mother make it a point to travel for a few weeks at a time to be sure they get immersed in the cultures. Still, another was very aware that in parts of WV it is an uphill battle, since “English has always been enough for my family”.

It is so stimulating and uplifting.

We are not naive enough to think that our every wish is their command, but we do think our voices were heard. If nobody tells them, they may never know. They look to us as the experts, and they listen.

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