Engaging Future Professionals: How Language Teacher Associations Facilitate the Involvement of Student Members

  • Nikki AshcraftEmail author
Part of the Second Language Learning and Teaching book series (SLLT)


Little has been previously documented about the ways language teacher associations (LTAs) support the membership and involvement of student teachers. In this study, the publicly available information on the websites of 124 LTAs in the United States was reviewed to identify the strategies used by these associations to recruit student members, facilitate their involvement in association activities, and meet their unique member needs. Associations reviewed included language-specific associations (e.g., Spanish, English as a second language) as well as associations serving teachers of various languages. Findings indicate that the primary way LTAs encourage students to join is by offering discounted student memberships. However, there is a lack of consistency in how “student” is defined and the type of evidence required to prove student status. LTAs demonstrate that they value student members by allowing them to participate in association governance, giving awards which recognize student teachers’ developing pedagogical skills, and featuring students in member spotlights on websites and in newsletters. They also allow students to contribute to the work of the association through volunteering and to the knowledge base of the field through special presentation and publication opportunities. LTAs further strive to meet students’ financial needs by offering membership and conference registration discounts, grants for conference attendance, and scholarships for educational pursuits. Finally, they attempt to meet student members’ social and career development through the formation of student subgroups and career mentoring initiatives. The chapter concludes with recommendations on steps LTAs can take to more actively involve student members.


  1. American Association of Teachers of French (AATF). (2017). Walter Jensen scholarship for study abroad. Retrieved from
  2. American Association of Teachers of Spanish and Portuguese (AATSP). (2017a). Graduate department membership. Retrieved from
  3. American Association of Teachers of Spanish and Portuguese (AATSP). (2017b). Graduate student session stipend. Available
  4. American Association of Teachers of Spanish and Portuguese (AATSP). (2017c). Spanish and Portuguese review. Retrieved from
  5. American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages/Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (ACTFL/CAEP). (2015). ACTFL/CAEP program standards for the preparation of foreign language teachers. Retrieved from
  6. Arkansas Foreign Language Teachers Association (AFLTA). (2015). AFLTA McAlpine award. Retrieved from
  7. California and Nevada TESOL (CATESOL). (2017a). CATESOL news-Students. Retrieved from
  8. California and Nevada TESOL (CATESOL). (2017b). 2017 Conference: The World is the Classroom. Retrieved from
  9. Cavazos, M. (2016, December). Highlights of BESO institute. Texas Association for Bilingual Association E-Newsletter, XXIII(3), 10–11. Retrieved from
  10. Connecticut Council of Language Teachers. (n.d.). CT COLT Future Teachers Honor Society. Retrieved from:
  11. Hall, G. (Ed.). (2016). Focus on teacher associations [Special issue]. ELT Journal, 70(2).Google Scholar
  12. Mid-America TESOL (MIDTESOL). (2017). Awards. Retrieved from
  13. Motteram, G. (2016). Membership, belonging, and identity in the twenty-first century. ELT Journal, 70(2), 150–159.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. National Council of Less Commonly Taught Languages (NCOLCTL). (2015). NFMLTA-NCOLCTL research award. Retrieved from
  15. New Jersey TESOL/New Jersey Bilingual Educators (NJTESOL/NJBE). (n.d.). Membership forms. Retrieved from
  16. Northern New England TESOL (NNETESOL). (n.d.). Apply for a grant. Retrieved from
  17. Roberge, M., & Wald, M. (2017). Editors’ Note. The CATESOL Journal, 29(1), v–vi. Retrieved from
  18. Rossman, G. B., & Rallis, S. F. (1998). Learning in the field: An introduction to qualitative research. Thousand Oaks, California: Sage.Google Scholar
  19. Swanson, P., & Mason, S. (2018). The world language teacher shortage: Taking a new direction. Foreign Language Annals, 51(1), 251–262.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. TESOL International Association. (2017). International convention and language expo. Retrieved from
  21. Texas Association for Bilingual Education (TABE). (2017). Affiliates-BESO.
  22. Texas Foreign Language Association. (2017). 2017 Conference program: Ready, set, go: Get on the path to world language proficiency & global citizenship. Retrieved from
  23. Zeichner, K. M., & Gore, J. M. (1990). Teacher socialization. In W. R. Houston, M. Haberman, & J. Sikula (Eds.), Handbook of research on teacher education (pp. 329–348). New York: Macmillan Publishing Company.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of MissouriColumbiaUSA

Personalised recommendations