CULTR Meeting

Phase 1

Teacher Engagement and Retention Roundtable

In the summer of 2015, CULTR implemented the first of its three phase Language Teacher Retention Project called the Teacher Engagement and Retention Roundtable. This stage of the Language Teacher Retention Institute addressed the current crisis surrounding teacher recruitment and retention in foreign language education. Dr. Peter Swanson, an expert on teacher retention, and Patricia Nolde, the Associate Director of CULTR, hosted a roundtable meeting of researchers focused on addressing instructor burnout and self-exiting from the teaching profession. During this discussion, strategies for effective foreign language teacher support, retention, motivation, and coping were identified and explored.

The Language Teacher Retention Project critically examines strategies related to overcoming the difficulties facing foreign language educators today.

CULTR has pushed this project forward as national teacher shortages for positions across foreign language education have worsened in an era where resources for education are even scarcer. At this time, foreign language teachers have one of the highest attrition rates in K-12 education due to factors including self-efficacy concerns and a lack of professional mentoring resources. Correspondingly, this dilemma underscores an urgent need to increase recruitment into the field of education. In this alarming landscape, the rate of teacher attrition, especially among new foreign language educators, remains particularly distressing across certain areas of the southeastern United States. As a Title VI LRC based in Atlanta, Georgia, research into the development of new approaches and tools to reverse these negative trends remains imperative.

In an innovative approach to address both the shortage of qualified language instructors and the challenges in retaining experienced instructors, the Language Teacher Retention Project fulfilled stage one in a three-stage endeavor that will endure over CULTR’s four year funding cycle. This year’s experts included: Greg Kessler (Ohio State University), Anne Hlas (University of Wisconsin), Manuela Wagner (UConn), Bill Van Patten (Michigan State University), Deborah Hammons and Aleidine Moeller.

Following the success of this stage, the Language Teacher Retention Project will introduce the next two phases, the Teacher Retention Workshops and Online Video-conference and Distance Foreign Language Education Mentoring, in the subsequent years.

For more information about the Language Teacher Retention Project, please contact CULTR at