Nelson Brooks Award

Teaching of Culture


ACTFL Nelson Brooks Award for Excellence in the Teaching of Culture

The Nelson Brooks Award recognizes a language educator who has made significant impact through the teaching of culture in the world language classroom and beyond.

Granted in celebration of the contributions of Nelson Brooks, this award honors a preeminent author and teacher whose work and writings changed the course of our profession. Although best remembered for his writings on the role of culture in world language education, his articles and books on the audiolingual approach to teaching world languages, published during the 1960s, contributed significantly to a movement that dramatically influenced second language instruction.

The Nelson Brooks Award was established in 1978 through the donation of $2,500 by Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, Inc., as a memorial to Nelson Brooks. Since 1995, the recipient has received a $500 honorarium provided by ACTFL.

Criteria for Eligibility

  • The nominee is a current ACTFL member and has been a member.
  • The nominee has a minimum of five years’ experience teaching language and culture with at least half of each year's assignment in the area of world language education.
  • The nominee’s dossier must include an introductory cover letter, CV, maximum of three letters of support, and supporting documentation combined in one PDF file and submitted online by the deadline.

Procedures for Nomination

Nominations and self-nominations may be made only by ACTFL members.

  1. The nomination dossier must include the following documents (in order):
    1. A cover letter introducing the nominee and other dossier materials to follow, signed by nominator or by self-nominee (not to exceed 500 words).
    2. Curriculum vitae of the nominee (not to exceed 10 pages or 4500 words).
    3. A program narrative addressing the award criteria (not to exceed 4500 words).
    4. Letters of support – maximum of 3; including but not limited to colleagues, supervisors, current or former students, and administrators.
    5. Other supporting documentation not to exceed 10 pages or 4500 words (e.g., photos, artifacts, articles, etc.) that documents the nominee’s excellence in teaching of culture in world language education at the local, state, regional, national, and international levels (see rubric for specific criteria and indicators); supporting materials may include links to video and audio files. Complete nomination dossiers must be submitted through the online form in one PDF file by the deadline.
  2. Complete nomination dossiers must be submitted to ACTFL in one PDF file by the deadline.

NOTE: No member or officer of the ACTFL or Language Connects Foundation Board of Directors may write a letter of support for any award nominee or actively shepherd the nomination of an award nominee. No member or officer of the ACTFL or Language Connects Foundation Board of Directors, or ACTFL employee is eligible for nomination for any award while holding these positions.

Procedures for the Selection Committee

  1. The award Selection Committee will be chaired by a member of ACTFL, invited by the current ACTFL President.
  2. Committee members will be selected from those that apply as volunteers.
  3. Committee members rate and rank the dossiers using the award rubric and return their ratings and rankings to the Committee Chair or Co-Chairs by an agreed upon date.
  4. The Committee may meet as many times as needed to decide on the award recipient.
  5. At the discretion of the Committee, the award may or may not be presented during a given year.
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Nelson Brooks Award Rubric