Win-win: Benefits of Collaborations Between K-12 and College Language Programs (Roundtable)


Pedagogy & Professional

Olga Liamkina (Goethe-Institut)

Peter Weise (SPARK for German)

With multiple college and secondary foreign language programs closed or downsized in recent years due to budget cuts, low enrollments, faculty retirements, and lack of community or administration’s support, many educators come to realize that solid scholarship and excellent teaching are not enough to keep language programs alive. Many now see explicit advocacy strategies and community outreach initiatives as indispensable components of their professional lives. One such strategy, both encompassing and elusive in its organizational complexity, is building reliable student pipelines all through K-16 levels.

Partnerships between colleges and schools have the potential to strengthen foreign language programs on both sides of the collaboration by

- aligning curricula, pedagogical approaches and assessment practices to ensure the continuity of student language learning experiences and their motivation to continue with learning a foreign language beyond high school graduation or college language requirements;

- opening up the field of language learning – and with it wider domestic and international educational and career opportunities – to underrepresented student groups;

- supporting the unique linguistic and cultural skills of heritage language speakers, who can boost enrollments in college upper-level literary-cultural courses;

- engaging undergraduate and upperclassmen high school students in tutoring and mentoring younger learners – and thus possibly sparking their interest in a language teaching career and ensuring that the profession will be able to meet the growing demand for teachers that we are already experiencing now.

For this roundtable discussion, we invite secondary and post-secondary instructors to submit contributions detailing their initiatives in creating collaborations between colleges and schools or other community partners that address the challenge of sparking and sustaining a life-long interest in language and culture learning.

Organizers will present one such program, SPARK for German, focused on training German majors in teaching beginner learners in K-12 afterschool programs and clubs.




Partnerships between colleges and K-12 schools have the potential to strengthen foreign language programs on both sides of collaboration. For this roundtable discussion, we invite secondary and post-secondary instructors to submit contributions detailing their initiatives in creating collaborations between colleges and schools or other community partners that address the challenge of sparking and sustaining a lifelong interest in language and culture learning.