Divided as we are by our distinct languages and cultures, we do share a common concern: the quality of the teaching and learning of mother tongues. Throughout the world, education systems are confronted with major challenges. Societal demands for literacy and communicative competence are growing and at the same time, there is an increase in the cultural and linguistic heterogeneity of school populations. In response to these trends, promising research and development in the learning and teaching of mother tongues is done in many countries .... in splendid isolation. A pity, for national work in the improvement of language education can profit enormously from international exchange. This, in a nutshell, is the mission of the ARLE: the International Association for the Improvement of Mother Tongue Education.
The goals of the ARLE are to create an international network of national and regional associations of mother-tongue associations and to build a network of specialists in mother tongue education. The ARLE would encourage good mother tongue teaching and learning on a sound international basis.
In general, the ARLE aims to improve the learning and teaching of mother tongues. The association intends to deal with language education situations that often are referred to as mother tongue education, the teaching of the standard language or national language education. To put it simply: the ARLE deals with the common issues of the teaching of French in France and Belgium to francophones, English in the United Kingdom and Hong Kong to anglophones and Spanish in Spain and Argentina to "hispanophones". The ARLE intends to deal with mother tongue education primarily. Second language teaching and learning issues will be dealt with in an integrative manner. Mother tongue education ranges from kindergarten to adult education. It encompasses the learning of the written code and the teaching of oracy. Grammar and communication, literature and functional writing, vocabulary and critical reading: the scope of the ARLE is comprehensive. Within this vast area, the ARLE tries to promote theoretically grounded and empirically informed educational improvement.
Although the key word Mother Tongue Education in the ARLE bears manifold associations, it seems that the message got through: the ARLE is not about the teaching of English in English speaking countries, but about the teaching of the mainstream language (French in France, Spanish in Spain) and of minority languages like Catalonian in Catalonia (region in Spain). Our aim is to connect scholars in the teaching and learning of language and literature from different countries and regions. Our basic belief is that teachers in primary and secondary education, teaching language, literature and culture have a lot in common from a methodological perspective. Teaching writing in language X in Country X has a lot in common with teaching writing in language Y in country Y. The only (sic!) essential difference is the language and culture.
Chair: Dr Irene Pieper, Germany
Treasurer: Dr Ilana Elkad-Lehman, Israel
Secretary: Dr Elzbieta Awramiuk, Poland
Portfolio holder Special Interest Groups: Dr Ellen Krogh, Denmark
Ex -officio: Dr Gert Rijlaarsdam, the Netherlands