ARLE continues the IAIMTE Mission, formulated by the founders in 1996:
Although languages and cultures are different in between nations and linguistic regions, there is a common concern: the quality of the teaching and learning of the languages of schooling. Throughout the world, education systems are confronted with major challenges. Societal demands for literacy and communicative competence in one or more languages are growing. At the same time, the cultural and linguistic heterogeneity of school populations increases. In response to these trends, promising research and development in the learning and teaching of languages of schooling and in literature and literacy is done in many countries. Because of the specific languages in regions, this research is often regionally bound.
Our mission is to cross over these boundaries, as national work in the improvement of L1 education can profit enormously from international exchange and cooperation. This, in a nutshell, is the mission of the Association:
The goals of the Association are (1) to build and maintain a network of specialists in research on L1 education and (2) to create an international network of national and regional associations of similar associations. The Association encourages good teaching and learning in language, literature and literacy on a sound scientific basis.
The association intends to deal with language education situations that often were referred to as mother tongue education. Nowadays language education forms a complex and no longer homogeneous picture. Foci of the association are:
1. The teaching of the so-called standard language. The Association 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". In most instances the standard language is the language of schooling. Being competent in such a language is important for schooling and participation in society.
2. Taking into account the heterogeneous cultural and linguistic backgrounds of learners in a global world, the Association also deals with the teaching and learning of languages to second/third-language-learners, i.e., with a migration background.
3. Minority languages and indigeneous languages and the specifics of teaching and learning of these languages in minority contexts are also covered (Catalonian in Catalonia, Frisian in the Netherlands).
L1 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, language learning in the frame of language subjects and beyond: the scope of the Association is comprehensive. Within this vast area, the Association tries to promote theoretically grounded, empirically informed and evidence based educational improvement. Special attention is paid to the support of beginning researchers, namely PhD-students (training schools, international exchange/lab-visits).
Our aim is to connect scholars in the teaching and learning of language, literature and literacy from different countries and regions. Our basic assumption 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 essential difference is the language and culture – including cultures of learning and training – which makes exchange and cooperation all the more enriching.