ACTFL Special Project: Growing into the Future

Announcing the exploration of innovative approaches to helping students around the world learn languages and more.

“To live in an evolutionary spirit means to engage with full ambition and without any reservation to the structures of the present, but to let go and flow into new structures when the right time has come.” ~ Erich Jantz from the preface to Leadership and the New Science, by Margaret Wheatley, 1990

First-Growth Participants

This is designed to be an innovative, exciting and collaborative initiative. We anticipate extending invitations to approximately 75 teachers with the goal of at least 30 actively participating in the project.

Dissemination of information about applying for participation will be through a variety of Web 2.0 networks, such as Facebook and Twitter. ACTFL Board members and NCSSFL members will also be encouraged to urge innovative teachers to apply.

This project envisions aligning with ACTFL partners, like Hello-Hello, pushing many of the traditional boundaries out of the way of student learning. We will also be including a limited number of innovative teachers from other disciplines, as well as world language teachers from other parts of the globe.

Active participants, who judge this to be a good “fit” for their work through sustained participation, will be invited to F2F elements of the project. We currently anticipate this to include a preconference workshop at the  ACTFL convention, and a summer conference.

Gardener Qualities

  • Out-of-the-box thinker and doer
  • Demonstrated history of innovation
  • Personal or classroom experience with Web 2.0 tools
  • Comfort with a “chaordic” approach
  • Ability to consider a commitment to a multi-year project
  • Demonstrated history of collaboration across discipline and/or geographic boundaries
  • Willingness to approach learning with a connectivist orientation
  • Willingness to commit to learning a new language to mirror student experience
  • Availability to spend at least 2/hours/day for a week during the summer of 2012 and an hour a week during the school year.
  • Commitment to attend preconference workshop at ACTFL 2012
  • Ability to secure school administrative support as evidenced by participation being approved as part of the school or district professional development plan

The "Kinder-Gardeners" Project

ACTFL recognizes that opportunities for learning are undergoing significant changes. This applies not just to learning the languages of the world, but to every facet of our lives.

These opportunities will demand a new and very different approach to nurturing learners and learning, hence the announcement of the “Kinder-gardeners” project. This project, with its organic design will explore vastly different roles and opportunities for students and their “gardeners”.

?In addition, ACTFL will be working with one of its corporate partners, Hello-Hello, to explore language learning in new ways, made possible only through the networked environment?


The project is designed to enable participants to vigorously push notions of traditional thinking about the best way to help language learning to occur.

To help with the emergence of a culture of innovation, the work will be enhanced through nurturing from a select group of colleagues. The responsibility of these fellow innovators is to help shepherd the process, not to push thinking or practice into forms that will satisfy or conform to the status quo.

5-10 Foresters

  • An ACTFL Board member
  • ACTFL President
  • Colleague from Higher Ed
  • NCSSFL member
  • District supervisor
  • District superintendent
  • IT liaison