For years, working with Linda Egnatz on just about any project at all has inspired me and made me more effective in my work. I invited her to be a podcast guest because she’ll inspire you, too, no matter what your relationship is specifically to language and culture.
The key with Linda is she stays aware of the world around her, and–here’s the magic–keeps asking the questions “Is this working out well for everyone involved? Is there a pathway to more empowerment for people here? Is there a better way to connect people than is happening here?” And on top of this awareness and sensitivity–already powerful in themselves–is the fact that Linda’s awareness skill is applied to environments as small as a classroom or a school, or as large as the whole world.
So, for our Episode 7, here’s what Linda spotted: those learning languages in the United States are seldom given a vision of the use of that language beyond a year or two, a class or two, or high school graduation. They don’t get a clear sense that languages can be a life-giving tool for them in their jobs and careers, for example, because they have not been provided a solid vision, rationale, and pathway to keep striving. At the other end of the spectrum are those business, industries, and organizations that need employees with solid language skills, but the positions are left open and their company weakened because of lack of proficient language speakers and writers–and employers don’t really even know the pathways to go down to find such proficient language users.
This is a national problem with global implications. And, in typical Linda style (take a look at her bio), once she noted it, she began to work to solve it. She worked with others to develop and support state initiatives to reward students’ achieved language proficiency with a Seal of Biliteracy (spoken and written language) at graduation. Then, wanting to reach all language users (not just learners–so important!), she envisioned a Seal available to all. Then she envisioned a Seal that would not just identify and congratulate you for where you are, but credential you… and then she envisioned how the credentials could point out paths which a learner/speaker could follow to get more proficient and grow the credential… and then she envisioned a registration system so that there would be a data set from which employers could find credentialed speakers to be employees, and then…. See what I mean? Linda spots the mission and keeps on following the paths–and empowers others along the way to contribute their energy and insights.
So, listen to this Episode to learn about Seals of Biliteracy, to learn about how language connects people, or maybe simply to experience how all of us can see needs and then step into the pathway to serve.
Linda wrote me, “I once asked, ‘How does one discover their mission?’ I was told, ‘When you see a need and know that you are uniquely qualified to meet it, big or small, that can be your mission.'”
This is your invitation to this episode. Experience Linda Egnatz, yes, but also ponder what needs you might be uniquely qualified to meet. What paths will you blaze so that others may follow and grow your vision?
Interested in learning more? Connect with me for presentations and workshops. Educators and language organizations, you’d enjoy the two presentations I’m providing at Global CRED: a keynote on language insights to transform learning, and a session on the breakthrough power of being vulnerable through language and cultural mistakes. Also connect with me for presentations on what language proficiency is, how we grow it, measure it, and apply it effectively in life and work. Educators, organizations, and businesses will all find these topics highly relevant and practical.
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