By Natela Cutter, Strategic Communications
The new Air Force Senior Language Authority, Barbara Barger, visited the Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center (DLIFLC) Jan. 13, to find out in detail about the Institute’s language and culture teaching capabilities and expanding mission.
“I had no idea of the outreach beyond the campus and all the things you are doing with technology,” said Barger, referring to the Institute’s support of the Afghanistan-Pakistan (AF/PAK) Hands program, and multitude of Language Training Detachments (LTD) which instruct professional linguists as well as General Purpose Forces deploying to Afghanistan or Iraq.
Barger had the opportunity to visit an Arabic language classroom and received a technology demonstration given by students who showed her how they integrate the use of interactive whiteboards, tablet PCs, and iPodsTM into their daily studies. Impressed with what she saw, Barger said that learning language and culture is a process that needs to begin before reaching the military service.
“We can’t just wait until people get to the Air Force. We have to reach out and work with schools, try to help society have a better approach to education in terms of acquiring language and culture throughout their process,” said Barger, commenting that visiting DLIFLC has given her a better perspective of how language and culture is taught.
“We can no linger say that a cryptolinguist, or people who work in international affairs,” only need language, but that language and culture is important to every career field, she said.
Throughout the day, Barger visited the Directorate of Language Science and Technology where she received a briefing on all of DLIFLC’s online products which are available to the public. Her tour of the Institute included a visit to the Directorate of Continuing Education and the Isolation Immersion facility, where students spend one to three days speaking only the target language.
Barger had the opportunity to have lunch with Air Force students who are a part of the Language Enabled Airmen Program (LEAP), a special program managed by the Air Force Culture and Language Center (AFCLC) at Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala., which provides Airmen volunteers with initial intensive language training and a career-long sustainment program plan. DLIFLC provides language support for this program, as well as Professional Military Education language support for other programs at Maxwell AFB.
“We are in a great partnership with you. The support we receive from DLIFLC is wonderful,” said Jay Warwrik, AFCLC director who accompanied Barger on her visit.
DLIFLC, which has established an LTD at Maxwell AFB in 2006 and consists of a program manager with six instructors, currently provides support to some 750 students with Arabic, Chinese Mandarin, French, German, Russian, and Spanish language instruction.
Story and photos: Natela Cutter, Strategic Communications
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