Language Education as a Tool for Building Empathy

A huge thank you to my dear friend and all-star SLE board member Deb Mills-Scofield for allowing me to write for her blog this week! Check out my reflections on why an investment in language education is an investment in a generation of empathetic leaders.

There is debate about whether empathy is something that can be taught. I believe we can teach empathy by listening to and learning from people who are different from us. By asking questions. By meeting others on their level. By immersing ourselves in another culture.

In other words: We can build empathy by learning another language.

Here is the full blog post.

With Few Language Skills to Speak Of, Will the United States be Left Behind?

I had the opportunity to write a short piece for the Atlantic this weekend on what I learned during the JNCL-NCLIS Language Advocacy Day. Check it out here!

Education is dominated by disputes over priorities, largely because of politics and limited funding. Some people, for example, think arts instruction is financial quicksand, while some believe that sports don’t belong in the schools. Others, meanwhile, even assert that schools’ emphasis on math could be holding students back. Language is another subject area whose importance is greatly debated. Advocates and educators disagree about whether it’s a worthwhile investment—whether it’s something that produces a greater return than, say, social studies. And within the realm of language, advocates clash over which ones should take precedence.

Read from the beginning…

At What Age Can You Teach a Global Mindset?

glob·al mind·set, n: the ability to operate comfortably across borders, cultures, and languages

How can you develop a global mindset in yourself or your child? Is it ever too late? Read my most recent Huffington Post piece where I discuss Stacie and Marshall Berdan’s book Raising Global Children and how it can apply to you!

Can Language Learning Help You Achieve Your Dreams?

We just posted this Huffington Post piece to promote Lift Off with Language.

So you slept through two years of Spanish in high school to meet your graduation requirements, only to find out that when you got to college, you had another foreign language requirement to complete! You just need to meet the minimum requirement of 2 more years — that shouldn’t be so bad…

Whether you are a college freshman or a strapping senior, colleges today are pushing you to begin thinking about your career path from day one of stepping onto campus. Between cramming in classes to meet requirements to get our diplomas and scrambling to get into courses that meet distribution levels for our majors, we often forget to stop and think about how all of these subjects are pushing us towards our future, especially when it comes to language.

Many thanks to Kirsten Craig for making this article happen! Check it out on the Huffington Post.

How Would You Redefine Study Abroad?

I learned a lot from Fiora MacPherson while writing this article about study abroad with her!

Over time, the term “study abroad” has become enveloped negative connotations and wrapped in red tape, and we have slowly forgotten the important role international experiences can have in preparing our students both professionally and personally. Today, we are all part of a global community. The world is shrinking, and American colleges and universities are challenged to respond.

Read the full article in the Huffington Post.

7 Language-Learning Myths That Are Holding Us Back

Click here to read the full article on!

A few months ago I was speaking in front of a crowd of American undergraduate students about my work with the Student Language Exchange, discussing the power and benefit of learning a new language. They seemed moderately interested as I spoke, but in the reception following the event, a group of students came up to me:

“Don’t you think there are more productive things we could be doing with our time? After all, pretty much everyone speaks English these days.”

Finish the article here!