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Innovative Language in Motion Program Receives Grant Program

(Posted August 31, 2004)

HUNTINGDON, Pa. -- Juniata College has received a two-year $146,041 grant from the Arthur Vining Davis Foundations that will allow the college to expand its four-year-old outreach program, Language in Motion, to school districts beyond those it serves in Huntingdon, Blair, Mifflin and Bedford counties and offer professional development workshops to local language teachers.

"Last year we presented programs in six area school districts and we would like to expand beyond that," says Deborah Roney, director of Language in Motion. "We also are very excited to offer professional development workshops for language and social studies teachers that will give them the opportunity to refresh their knowledge base and experience different teaching techniques."

In addition to the program expansion and professional workshops, Juniata also will use the grant funds to develop a collection of language and culture teaching materials that can be used for Juniata student presentations and function as a lending library for area teachers. In addition, the college will bring in a professional consultant to evaluate the program throughout the two-year period covered by the grant.

Another Language in Motion initiative centers on offering scholarships to local language teachers who would like to be immersed in a country's language and culture in a summer study abroad program.

Started in fall 2000, Language in Motion brings international students, upper-level language students, and students returning from abroad into middle schools and high schools for language and cultural activities. During the first year, the program reached more than 300 students and seven language teachers in three school districts. In 2003-2004, the program served more than 1,200 students and 35 teachers in six school districts.

"The original idea was to serve high school German, French, Russian and Spanish classes by using presenters with experience in France, Germany, Russia, Mexico and Spain," Roney says. "Now we are serving some elementary and middle schools and visiting classes such as English, history, civics and geography."

While the original model for the program centered on languages, the program soon expanded into cultural presentations. To date, cultural programs on Afghanistan, Brazil, China, England, Greece, India, Iran, Japan, Afghanistan, Egypt, Russia, Korea, Senegal and Turkey have been presented, often by students from those countries.

Language in Motion received the Institute Of International Education 2002 Andrew Heiskell Award for Innovation in International Education. The program was originally funded by a NAFSA: Association of International Educators grant. The project is currently funded through a grant by the Arthur Vining Davis Foundations. "The long-term vision is to try for state funding," Roney says. "Once you have consistent funding, then you can pay more attention to program development and curriculum."

The Arthur Vining Davis Foundations, based in Jacksonville, Fla., were organized in 1952 and founded by the late Arthur Vining Davis, former president and chairman of the board of the Aluminum Company of America (Alcoa). The foundations' aims are to "provide financial assistance within the limits of their budgets and the discretion of their trustees, to certain educational, cultural, scientific and religious institutions."

Davis died in 1962.



Contact John Wall at wallj@juniata.edu or (814) 641-3132 for more information.