Are entries in your second or foreign language released? Is your program threatened to close due to low registrations? Here are some strategies that can help.
Saving a language program from closing takes a dedication and strategic planning. The best thing you can do for any education program that has a low quality regarding your own sustainability is to create a positive opinion about it. Make people excited about the impact that learning of a language can have! Or at least catch their attention. Here are some ideas:
Each semester plans other or foreign language events.
Events are important. Think about it. School sports tournaments give interest to physical activity. Science fairs give interest to science and mathematics. Performances and reasons highlight the importance of dance and music. Events generate buzz and even get media coverage.
Events may include:
Native Speakers Day - Include native speakers who are successful and can be considered role models to enter the school to give presentations about their work, their lives, their travels, their culture or anything inspiring them. Get bios for each speaker and get the students to prepare questions to ask them.
Language Competition for Other Languages - Include celebrity judges from your local community who speak the target language (politicians are eating these things up and we have been successful in getting local, provincial support and even embassy support for talks).
Cultural Festival Day - Let students showcase their work through video, poster presentations and demonstrations. They can cook, make a dance (or better yet, give a short dance class) or have a song-length. Make the students currently enrolled in the program focus all day. Invite parents and community owners to observe, let go and share in the celebration. Having a local celebrity native speaker to offer opening and closing notifications or emcee day is a huge increase.
The idea behind all of these is to get the involvement of people in society. This not only gives interest, when we involve third parties, it also builds credibility and legitimacy. These events take a big organization and they are absolutely worth it.
Communicate the meaning of language with passion. For all of the above, work with your school secretary, principles and district communications office to send out press releases. I guarantee that if your events get media coverage, you will create interest. There is an art of writing press releases, and often school districts have strict protocols on communication, so its important to work with your administrators team and the district is not only good.
Hold a competition - some form of competition - with the students enrolled in your program. My favorite is a video competition centered around a key issue. My favorite is How do you learn a language to change your world? You can get more information about this activity in my downloadable ebook - Do you want to change the world? Learn another language: Leadership inspired by language learning ebook.
If your school allows, students can post their videos on YouTube. Their friends see it ... they talk and interest in your program goes up.
Come with your own ideas for competitions. Start small and let the idea grab and then grow over time.
There is no short-term solution to the issue of submitting notifications in any training program. Events that engage society are critical to creating interest, creating buzz and increasing program morale. The trick is to invite people from a wide audience who are interested in what you do. Go beyond the thought of rounding up the common suspects. Even if you invite new people and they will not come, they will at least have you on the radar, which is good.
Making events consistent, as once per term, builds credibility over time. You can not make an event and expect to save a failure program. Think of it as building your health program. Go for long-term health and lifestyle, not just a band helpless solution. Enjoy your health program regularly so it can grow strong and shine.
To consistently celebrate students work, add to the community, get a local celebrity mother tongue or two to master your program and get some positive media coverage will all contribute significantly to strengthening the programs image and generating interest. Do it for several months and you will see a little positive if your program starts to generate more interest. More interest means more investment. Sometimes emotional, educational and community investments in programs are the best for rebuilding your programs health.