Abstract: Arabic and Chinese are 2 of 13 languages designated as “critical” by the U.S. Department of State. There is an urgent need to expand the teaching force in these languages. Understanding how best to prepare critical language teachers from abroad is imperative. This study examined the perceptions of 16 pre- and in-service teachers (6 Arabic and 10 Chinese) who attended four interactive professional development workshops and a weeklong online learning community that focused on learner-centered approaches to language teaching as highly effective tools for teaching “critical” languages. Results indicated that teachers clearly acknowledged and were aware of the differences between their own schooling and how they were expected to teach in the United States.