The good news is that the year 2000 finds a growing number of elementary schools in the United States launching foreign language programs, including Asian languages. The hard news is that there are not enough trained teachers or curricular materials. (There is no bad news as long as we continue to address the problem.) Even in the case of Japanese, which has relatively well developed resources, training needs exceed supply, as you can read in the report, “Japanese Teaching Credential Programs in the U.S.,” by Hiroko Kataoka, Hiroko Furuyama, and Yasuhiko Tohsaku, appearing in the Spring 2000 issue of The Breeze quarterly (no. 21). As the authors demonstrate, departments and schools involved in the education of K–12 instructors need to be more conscious of the particular needs of Less Commonly Taught Language (LCTL) professionals. With the growth of programs at the elementary level, and the desire to sustain language instruction over subsequent school years, a firm foundation becomes all the more crucial.
Education in Asian Languages: Start at the Very Beginning