AP linguistics course planning begins


A really exciting initiative from the Linguistic Society of America! The LSA has announced that it’s formed a committee to create an Advanced Placement (AP) course in linguistics: 

This will be a long term project requiring many years and tremendous effort. Nonetheless that effort, if successful, has the potential to transform our field. Among other things, Linguistics could go from being a “discovery major” to a field high school students have heard about, and perhaps even sampled, before arriving on campus.

As this document makes clear, AP proposals require many elements that are challenging in the current context, including a well-developed college intro level curriculum, documentation from 250 US High Schools saying they are willing to offer it, documentation from US universities saying they would be willing to award college credit for it. AP Linguistics will plainly need HS teachers trained to deliver it, it will need an accompanying exam, and it will require funding to support its initial offering.

Recognizing that such demands will require the efforts of professional linguists and High School teachers in programs and schools from across the country, the ad hoc committee (APLC) has been charged to oversee and coordinate the work. APLC foresees four major subareas of effort: Curriculum Development, Outreach to High Schools and Universities, Teacher Training, Fund Raising. 

Of course, not all schools have AP or may offer a future AP linguistics course, but it would still a fantastic increase in visibility for linguistics at the high school level. General high school courses are typically approved by the school board, so at the moment anyone trying to create a high school linguistics course has to first explain to their school board what linguistics even is (as Suzanne Loosen did in her excellent article for Language). Being able to say “we should have linguistics, look, it’s already an AP course” would make this argument much easier. 

So if anyone is at a high school, knows high school teachers, or can get in touch with your former high school, helping to form that list of 250 high schools that are willing to offer the course would is one area in particular that would be really helpful, although you can also contact Richard Larson with offers to help in any area

At the moment, for anyone interested in doing linguistics at the high school level before the AP course gets going, I have a list of ideas for integrating linguistics into high school classes

Yes!!! Awesome! Three cheers for AP Linguistics!

We at The Ling Space have always had as part of our passion and our mandate the notion that linguistics – the study of this amazing thing each one of us does every day – is something that should be accessible and available for anyone as part of scientific literacy. Having high schools offer it as an option would be phenomenal, and I’m really excited to see how this project develops. 

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