Laura Loves Languages

A place for many opinions

2015 Update to Chloebentley’s Blog

To all my friends and family, I am blessed to be blogging in my sixth decade. I still have so much more I want to do, even though what I do right now is enough activity for at least six people. Last month, I walked a 1/2 marathon called the DC Rock n’ Roll. Cannot tell you how elated this achievement makes me.

For seven years, I have been helping all those who are searching for a cure to fight multiple sclerosis, alongside the most badass fighter I know, my own child. She is an inspiring advocate for health of body, mind and spirit and a true inspiration to our whole family. She is frankly the first reason I have paid such attention to my own diet and fitness level. I am in the best shape physically as I have been in many years,as a tribute to her and thanks to her.

I am still in the most exciting profession that anyone can have, a career in World Languages. This profession has brought me full circle from teaching French and Portuguese in the early years at my alma mater and now at ,y own institution. Presently, I teach all of my classes online, through one of the pioneers in distance learning.

I continue my journey in the world of OER, the solution to making educational materials to the world. This year, I will be working as Editor of MERLOT World Languages for 15 years. Through MERLOT, I have become involved in the MERLOT Africa Network. I am very proud of this work.

So what shall we talk about?

April 1, 2015 Posted by | Community College, e-learning, Languages, MS Awareness, Uncategorized | , | 2 Comments

Language Advocacy is everybody’s business, especially in 2010

Lately, I have been seeing some troubling trends that affect my profession in a big way. First, my alma mater, GWU, did away with its Foreign Language requirement. GW is where my language educator journey began under the guidance of my mentor, Professor John Andrew Frey, and it is essentially where I learned to appreciate and teach the French language that I love.  I just know how my dissertation director would have reacted to this  disheartening news. See the article:

Next, I have just learned that in 2010,  a Washington Post  columnist is debating why schools should bother to offer foreign languages at all:

My question is how did we get to the point in this flat world of ours that we still question the need to communicate with the rest of the world in languages other than English?  What is clear to me as a veteran language educator is that we all must speak up, new teachers and veterans, and challenge those who  do not see the obvious- that learning a second language is vital to our well-being and our future.  Communicative competence  opens the door to other cultures  and ways of thinking in the most authentic way possible.   Increasing the number of proficient speakers of languages other than Englishwill necessarily increase our global awareness,  economic strength and  our capacity to live in security and peace.

 It is ironic that the threat to language programs comes at a time where we have made so many technological breakthroughs that allow us to communicate globally. We now have all the tools to give students practical and meaningful experiences in the classroom.  Instead of limiting language study to doing routine and often boring drill work, students can actually communicate with  the world for free, via Skype and language exchanges such as Hello-Hello and the Mixxer. The technology is easy to use and most importantly, it is engaging. (Google these tools for more info.)  It is also so much easier to give our students meaningful study abroad experiences and service learning opportunities that allow them to interact directly with native speakers of the languages that they study in school.

(retrieved from Fulbright-Hays- Title VI website)

To my language colleagues, the time for advocacy is now. Our profession did not escape the economic downturn.  Indeed, teachers from all disciplines have been laid off due to budget shortfalls.  I know that when I was a young teacher in the early eighties, I was much more interested in what happened inside my classroom than in joining language organizations or writing letters, but if we do not all raise our voices to defend our discipline, who will do it for us?

What can we do as individuals?

  • Join your local language association and be active.  Most all of the state language organizations have conferences and websites where you can find out how to get involved.
  • Learn all about Foreign Language advocacy at
  • Write an article for your local language organization newsletter.
  • Showcase your language program in the local media. Keep FL in the public eye.
  • If you cannot participate personally in organization activities, your organization membership will still help support its FL advocacy efforts. Join so that they can use your membership dues to represent you.
  • Read about H.R. 4065 and let your representatives know you support it.
  • Plug into your regional language organization: NECTFL, Central States, SCOLT, and SWCOLT and PNCFL
  • Learn about ACTFL’s Discover Languages advocacy campaign and participate in it.

Blog about it, use the media, tweet…. no shortage of  ways to communicate, right?  Together, we can insure a better future for our profession.

April 24, 2010 Posted by | Community College, Languages, NECTFL | , , | 3 Comments

Bonjour! Bom Dia! Marhaba!Welcome!

Welcome to my language blog. This is where we can continue our discussion about languages and whatever else is on our minds.  This will be a good spot to continue conversations begun elsewhere and to start new ones.

 I want to play with this to see how we might use this technology to make language study real for our students. Everything you see here is free and relatively easy to use.

March 17, 2007 Posted by | Community College, Languages, NECTFL | 1 Comment