Title

Sputnik: The historical event which revitalized, redirected foreign language study in the U.S., and prepared it for today’s needs

Subject Area

Special Topics

Abstract

Sputnik: The historical event which revitalized, redirected foreign language study in the U.S., and prepared it for today’s needs

Foreign language study in the United States was on the verge of being removed from the educational curriculum in the 1970s. The methods and mission of the discipline were not producing outcomes educators considered practical or of value. Where we were summarizes through a review of literature, the history of U.S. foreign language education from its beginning to the 1970s and how it was failing. What happened was intervention by an unrelated historical event. The launch of Sputnik1 in 1957 woke the United States to the fact that Russia had initially “beaten” them in the “Race to space”. The fix was initiated by a thorough review of the U.S. educational system in comparison with systems of other countries. Studies led to the passage of the National Defense Education Act of 1958 (NDEA). The U.S. revamped teaching in the areas of science and mathematics. Little attention was given to the fact that comparisons also revealed the importance of foreign language acquisition in other countries. For this reason, funding for revitalization and redirection of foreign language pedagogy was included in the NDEA.

Where we are now reviews today’s position of foreign language education as the result of several factors: U.S. population changes which created new needs for communicative knowledge of foreign languages, and emphasis on foreign languages as preparation for a globalized World. Perhaps contemporary pedagogy was ready to accept these challenges because of the years of development initiated by Sputnik 1 and the passing of the NDEA.

Brief Bio Note

Joe LaValle Assistant Professor of Spanish at the University of Nroth Georgia, Oconee campus. Research aea: Combining ESL/natuive Spanish-speakers with intermediate level Spanish language learners in freestyle conversation activities to promote vernacular language acquisition and genuine language experience.

Keywords

NDEA, Sputnik I, comparative studies, policy changes

Location

Room 218/220

Presentation Year

2018

Start Date

4-6-2018 9:35 AM

Embargo

10-16-2017

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Apr 6th, 9:35 AM

Sputnik: The historical event which revitalized, redirected foreign language study in the U.S., and prepared it for today’s needs

Room 218/220

Sputnik: The historical event which revitalized, redirected foreign language study in the U.S., and prepared it for today’s needs

Foreign language study in the United States was on the verge of being removed from the educational curriculum in the 1970s. The methods and mission of the discipline were not producing outcomes educators considered practical or of value. Where we were summarizes through a review of literature, the history of U.S. foreign language education from its beginning to the 1970s and how it was failing. What happened was intervention by an unrelated historical event. The launch of Sputnik1 in 1957 woke the United States to the fact that Russia had initially “beaten” them in the “Race to space”. The fix was initiated by a thorough review of the U.S. educational system in comparison with systems of other countries. Studies led to the passage of the National Defense Education Act of 1958 (NDEA). The U.S. revamped teaching in the areas of science and mathematics. Little attention was given to the fact that comparisons also revealed the importance of foreign language acquisition in other countries. For this reason, funding for revitalization and redirection of foreign language pedagogy was included in the NDEA.

Where we are now reviews today’s position of foreign language education as the result of several factors: U.S. population changes which created new needs for communicative knowledge of foreign languages, and emphasis on foreign languages as preparation for a globalized World. Perhaps contemporary pedagogy was ready to accept these challenges because of the years of development initiated by Sputnik 1 and the passing of the NDEA.