The goals of the Association are (1) to build and maintain a network of specialists in research on L1 education and (2) to create an international network of national and regional associations of similar associations.

The Association encourages good teaching and learning in languages, literatures and literacies on a sound scientific basis. The association intends to deal with language education situations that often were referred to as mother tongue education. Nowadays language education forms a complex and no longer homogeneous picture. Foci of the association are:

1. The teaching of the so-called standard languages. The Association deals with the common issues of the teaching of French in France and Belgium to Francophones, English in the United Kingdom and Hong Kong to Anglophones and Spanish in Spain and Argentina to "Hispanophones". In most instances the standard language is the language of schooling. Being competent in such a language is important for schooling and participation in society.
2. Taking into account the heterogeneous cultural and linguistic backgrounds of learners in a global world, the Association also deals with the teaching and learning of languages to second/third-language-learners, i.e., with a migration background.
3. Minority languages and indigenous languages and the specifics of teaching and learning of these languages in minority contexts are also covered (Catalonian in Catalonia, Frisian in the Netherlands).
L1 education ranges from kindergarten to adult education. It encompasses the learning of the written code and the teaching of oracy. Grammar and communication, literature and functional writing, vocabulary and critical reading, literacies, language learning in the frame of language subjects and beyond: the scope of the Association is comprehensive. Within this vast area, the Association tries to promote theoretically grounded, empirically informed and evidence based educational improvement. Special attention is paid to the support of beginning researchers, namely PhD-students (training schools, international exchange/lab-visits).

Our aim is to connect scholars in the teaching and learning of languages, literatures and literacies from different countries and regions. Our basic assumption is that teachers in primary and secondary education, teaching language, literature and culture have a lot in common from a methodological perspective. Teaching writing in language X in Country X has a lot in common with teaching writing in language Y in country Y. The essential difference is the language and culture – including cultures of learning and training – which makes exchange and cooperation all the more enriching. Linked to the research aims of the Association, the mission is also to create and maintain a network of and a forum for researchers, teacher educators, curriculum developers, testing experts and policy agents, all involved in improving the quality of teaching and learning in the language(s) of schooling, in literatures and literacies, on a voluntary basis. Open access for all is fundamental for the activities the association organizes.