Date: January 7, 2021
By: Maureen McLaughlin, Senior Advisor and Director of International Affairs and
Ashley Clark, Presidential Management Fellow, International Affairs Office
This year, international education has looked different, more than ever before. Traditional exchange programs have been largely unavailable, and other avenues of world language and cultural education have gone online.
Still, the need for strong cross-cultural learning opportunities remains pressing. Learning a second language benefits students academically and on the job market, with many U.S. employers reporting that they seek candidates who know another language. Unfortunately, the vast majority of states report a shortage of world language teachers. Recruiting teachers for language immersion programs or advanced language instruction is difficult because these positions demand a high level of fluency and discipline-specific vocabulary.
Deputy Secretary Mitchell Zais recently joined State Department officials and representatives from American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) at a virtual meeting with Taiwan representatives to identify potential steps that the United States and Taiwan could take to meet the growing need for Mandarin teachers in the United States, and for English instructors on Taiwan. The meeting marked the launch of a new U.S.-Taiwan Education Initiative.
Taiwan plans to be bilingual by 2030 and wants to recruit more native English-speaking teachers, which could give U.S. teachers opportunities to teach abroad and learn innovative pedagogical techniques. In turn, districts, states, and schools could increase the number of visiting Mandarin teachers and provide their teachers a unique professional development opportunity on Taiwan. [FULL STORY]