Launched in 2006, STARTALK is a language education program that endeavors to expand the learning, speaking, and teaching of critical need languages in the United States. Funded by the National Security Agency (NSA), STARTALK offers K-16 students and teachers of these languages creative and engaging summer experiences that highlight best practices in language education and in language teacher development. The NSA partners with the National Foreign Language Center (NFLC) at the University of Maryland (UMD) to act as its subject matter expert in the implementation and administration of the STARTALK program.


Program Features

STARTALK programs are guided by the six STARTALK-Endorsed Principles for Effective Teaching and Learning and three main objectives:

1.) To increase the number of students enrolled in the study of critical-need languages

STARTALK offers innovative and intensive language immersion experiences for students K-16 who are highly motivated to learn a language. Instruction incorporates best practices in language education.

2.) To increase the number of highly effective critical-language teachers in the U.S.

STARTALK provides programs for current and potential K-16 teachers designed to increase teaching knowledge and skills, presented with a blend of theory, research, and practice. Programs exemplify best practices in language teacher development, strive to form extensive communities of practice, and create credentialing pathways for teachers of STARTALK languages.

3.) To increase the number of highly effective materials and curricula available to teachers and students of these critical-need languages.

STARTALK sponsors projects to build resources that support language learning and teaching to create a lasting infrastructure for the world language community.

Working toward these ambitious purposes, STARTALK helps to propel the United States forward on national security, international relations, and global economic competitiveness. To continue learning about STARTALK, please explore the following portals.