Invitation to join ATTA


Dear Friend of our beloved Tamil Language:

Please consider this invitation to participate in a focus group that will be tasked with creating the national standards for Tamil.

The present landscape: Throughout the United States, we have over 30,000 youngsters studying spoken and written Tamil. Our children participate in heritage schools and are taught the language and culture by devoted and interested community volunteers. Our schools use various syllabi from the American Tamil Academy (ATA), International Tamil Academy (ITA), syllabi from Singapore and Tamil Nadu, Tamil Virtual Academy (TVA) or other indigenous syllabi. In order to instill our culture and heritage in our children, we have committed to the necessary time, energy, and funds that will lead our students to higher levels of proficiency.

Our challenge: Teachers continue to sustain the motivation of our students as they move through the grades. Competing interests and difficulty in procuring high school credits or other validation for their efforts make our children waver in continuing their study and achieving native like proficiency. In order to grant credit for their heritage language work, students will have to provide proof of oral and written proficiency through calibrated assessments which measure their proficiency. The organization which can provide this authenticity is the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) by having their trained assessors test our students. In order to do so, we will need to have a common, national set of standards for the teaching and learning of Tamil. These standards will have to address all four language skills: reading, writing, speaking and listening. A fifth standard which is embedded in the other four is culture.

Progress to date: Throughout the country, we have schools which have achieved varying degrees of success in promoting Tamil language study and procuring credit for our students.

  • Bilingual Seal legislation has been written into law in 42 states.
  • Bilingual Seal legislation enactment is under progress in 5 additional states
  • Minnesota Tamil schools have had a long-standing affiliation with ACTFL through ongoing training and professional development
  • Members of ATTA leadership attended the ACTFL Annual Conference at New Orleans in 2017.
  • Our committee has reviewed the recently approved Hindi standards
  • Our committee has reviewed various constitutions of national Language Teacher Associations
  • We already have over 50 members from all over US with various syllabus background like CTA, ATA, TVA, Singapore and Chicago indigenous syllabus
  • Membership thus far includes 10 different states Minnesota, Connecticut, Illinois, Texas, North Carolina, Kansas, Missouri, California, Utah & Michigan
  • Weekly meetings and focus groups on Speaking, Reading, Writing and Listening have been working for several months to create assessments based on ACTFL Proficiency guidelines to draft the National Standard for Tamil
  • Dec 2018 ATTA has become an organizational member of ACTFL
  • ATTA Session at NECTFL conference at NY during Feb 2019
  • Mar 2020 ATTA attained the Federal Tax exemption 501 3 (C) status
  • From Jan 2018 we have been working for over 3 years to review the ACTFL standards and draft the Tamil National Standards. New US Tamil standards were reviewed with ACTFL twice and based on the feedback received, we will be submitting the revised version to ACTFL standards committee in a week or two.
  • During the past 3 years we have spent 10 months preparing the Grammar gradation for Tamil language learners as a second language. This will help anyone (or syllabus) to focus on essential grammar to attain language proficiency in Writing and Speaking.
  • Feb and Mar 2021 – New US Tamil standards 2 reviews completed with ACTFL  
  • Jul/Aug 2021 – Public info sessions planned for US Tamil Teachers – Total 5 sessions spanning 5 weeks each 90 minutes.

We need to increase the representation from each state now to have key individuals come together and commit their time and energy to continue the work of the standards committees with the help of ACTFL trainers. This will allow us to create standardized assessments; the success of our students on these assessments will demonstrate their proficiency and thereby help them procure credit for their years of study.

Our ATTA membership is a simple 3 step process:

1. Provide your name and email first using the form bellow.
2. You will get an automatic email after Step 1 to confirm your email and to enter other information like User ID, phone and address.
3. The account will be activated through our Membership admin software and you will receive an email which will enable you to login with their User ID and password to pay $10 Annual membership via PayPal. Upon successful payment the membership will be active.

Nandri,
ATTA Membership Team

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