STARTALK's mission is to increase the number of U.S. citizens learning, speaking, and teaching critical need foreign languages. STARTALK offers students (K-16) and teachers of these languages creative and engaging summer experiences that strive to exemplify best practices in language educations and in language teacher development.
The Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) launched STARTALK in 2006 and delegated executive oversight of the program to the National Security Agency (NSA). The NSA partners with the National Foreign Language Center (NFLC) at the University of Maryland (UMD) to act as its subject matter expert in the implementation and administration of the program.
STARTALK programs are guided by the STARTALK-Endorsed Principles for Effective Teaching and Learning:
- Implementing a standards-based and thematically organized curriculum
- Facilitating a learner-centered classroom
- Using the target language and providing comprehensive input
- Integrating culture, content, and language in a world language classroom
- Adapting and using age-appropriate authentic materials
- Conducting performance-based assessment
STARTALK offers innovative and intensive language immersion experiences for students K-16 who are highly motivated to learn a language. Instruction incorporates best practices in language education.
STARTALK also provides programs for current and potential K-16 teachers designed to increase teaching knowledge and skills, presented with a blend of theory, research, and practice. Programs exemplify best practices in language teacher development, strive to form extensive communities of practice, and create credentialing pathways for teachers of STARTALK languages.
Additionally, STARTALK sponsors projects to build resources that support language learning and teaching to create a lasting infrastructure for the world language community.
Current STARTALK Languages
- Chinese (Mandarin)