IT'S BACK!!!! Board votes to revisit MI as a choice program
Original post made
by Simon Firth, College Terrace,
on Mar 27, 2007
Just the possibility that it might receive an application to start a charter Mandarin Immersion program has the PAUSD school board, as of this evening, reopening the question of whether it should start a Mandarin Choice program -- this time to start in 2008. If my understanding is right, there will a new report on timelines coming in late April followed by meetings to discuss and vote in May.
The plan to be considered would still be for MI to be housed at Ohlone and it would include the provision of language instruction for the non-MI students at Ohlone--but not at any other elementary school.
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Posted by Researcher
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Mar 31, 2007 at 3:01 am
Foreign Language Immersion Programs:
Features and Trends Over Thirty-Five Years
Note: The following synopsis of this new CAL Digest was also reprinted in the February 2007 ACIE newsletter in celebration of 35 years of immersion programs. ACIE celebrates its ten years as an organization dedicated to supporting immersion teachers and the publication is focusing this year on the rich growth of immersion programs. We are grateful to CAL for their ongoing collaboration with ACIE and with CARLA.
To see the full CAL Digest go to: Web Link.
To find out more about the American Council on Immersion Education go to: Web Link
Foreign language immersion programs, first introduced in the United States in 1971 as a way to incorporate intensive second language education into public elementary schools, have gradually spread across the country and are now viewed by educators and parents as a highly effective way of teaching foreign languages to children (Curtain & Dahlberg, 2004). Foreign language immersion is an approach to teaching another language that involves immersing students in the target language throughout the school day. Teachers speak only the target language to teach academic subjects, using a wide range of instructional strategies. The ultimate goal of this type of program is for students to become proficient in the target language in addition to English, and to develop increased cultural awareness while reaching a high level of academic achievement (Fortune & Tedick, 2003).
Foreign language immersion programs, also referred to as one-way immersion programs, are designed for English-speaking students. They vary in intensity and structure according to the model implemented. The following are two main types of immersion programs (Center for Applied Linguistics, 2006a):
Total Immersion Programs in which all subjects in the lower grades (K-2) are taught in the target language; instruction in English usually increases to 20%-50% in the upper elementary grades (3-6), depending on the program. Initial literacy instruction is provided in the target language. Programs may continue in middle school and high school with classes taught in the target language.
Partial Immersion Programs in which approximately 50% of instruction is provided in the target language. Initial literacy instruction may be provided in either the target language or English or in both languages simultaneously. Programs may continue in middle school and high school with classes taught in the target language.
A variation of the immersion model is called two-way immersion or two-way bilingual immersion.Two-way programs use both English and another language for instruction. One third to two thirds of the students in each class are native speakers of English; the remainder are native speakers of the other language, most often Spanish.
The Center for Applied Linguistics (CAL) has been monitoring foreign language immersion programs over the years, compiling data and tracking their growth through the publication of the Directory of Foreign Language Immersion Programs in U.S. Schools. In celebration of thirty-five years of foreign language immersion education in the United States, CAL has updated the directory, which is available online at Web Link, and prepared a digest to provide educators and parents with an update on pre-K-12 foreign language immersion education, show the growth and changes in immersion education over the last thirty-five years, and make recommendations for future program implementation.
The State of Immersion Education:
A Few Highlights from the Digest's Report of the Data
Data for the Directory of Foreign Language Immersion Programs in U.S. Schools include self-reported information from 310 foreign language immersion programs housed in 263 schools. Several schools have more than one immersion language program. The directory provides an exhaustive list of public immersion programs in the country and a sampling of programs in private/independent schools.
The 263 schools represented in the database are spread across 33 states and 83 school districts. 39 of the schools identified themselves as private or independent and 224 were identified as public schools.
Of the 224 public schools, approximately 27% are magnet or some type of choice schools and 6% are charter schools. The majority of the public schools (67%) are regular (not magnet, choice, or charter) schools.
The data show that there are 53 immersion programs at the preschool level, 181 at the elementary school level, 89 at the middle school level, and 37 at the high school level. (Note: there is overlap among these programs in that some programs include multiple levels such as preschool and elementary school in a single program.)
Consistent with past years, there are fewer middle school and high school programs than elementary programs (Fortune & Jorstad, 1996).
The states boasting the highest numbers of schools offering language immersion programs are Louisiana (30), Hawaii (26), Oregon (25), Minnesota (24), and Virginia (24).
The most commonly taught languages in immersion programs are Spanish (at 43% of immersion programs) and French (29%), followed by Hawaiian (8%), Japanese (7%), Mandarin (4%), and German (3%).
Trends in Immersion, 1971-2006
A comparison of 2006 results with past years' self-reported data collected by CAL shows a fairly steady increase in foreign language immersion education in U.S. schools over the last thirty-five years. In addition, survey data show that the total number of elementary school language programs, including the less intensive FLES (foreign language in the elementary school) and FLEX (foreign language experience) models, has also increased (Rhodes & Branaman, 1999).
This growth, particularly in immersion programs, can be attributed to at least five factors:
strong parental pressure for quality language programs with goals of high levels of proficiency;
increased interest in a multicultural approach to education among parents, teachers, and administrators;
an increase in schooling options (magnet, choice, and charter schools) that enable immersion to be offered as an educational alternative (as can be seen when comparing immersion schooling options of 2006 with past years);
a strong body of published research on the effectiveness of immersion programs in developing students' language proficiency and academic achievement (see, e.g., Fortune & Tedick, in press; Robinson, 1998);
growing recognition of the need for Americans to be proficient in foreign languages for personal, educational, economic, and national security reasons.
Despite the overall growth of foreign language immersion programs over the past thirty-five years, the 2006 data reveal a slight decrease in the number of schools over the last seven years, although the number of languages offered has increased. A variety of reasons can be offered for the decrease in the number of schools. The reasons for this phenomenon include the following:
First, some of the programs that were originally listed in the directory as total or partial immersion have changed their program model to two-way immersion due to an increase in the number of students who speak languages other than English.
Second, some schools reported that implementation of the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act has increased their focus on mathematics and reading to such an extent that they felt a need to discontinue their immersion programs in order to meet federal standards. Some schools reported that they could not find "highly qualified teachers," as defined by NCLB, for the immersion classes. These views, however, were not shared by all schools.
Third, Hurricane Katrina, wreaking havoc in innumerable ways, also played a role in the destruction of several immersion programs in Louisiana (although the state still ranks first in number of schools with immersion programs).
Finally, some schools reported a shift in program model from immersion to less intensive programs such as FLES, hoping that there would be fewer demands on the staff.
Recent developments, however, provide reason to believe that growth lies in the future of the immersion model. The National Security Language Initiative calls for action in increasing the availability and quality of long-term foreign language programs to aid in global awareness, national security, and economic competitiveness (U.S. Department of Education, 2006). Immersion programs are a proven model to help students acquire the language fluency needed to help us reach these goals.
If national momentum toward the goal of developing a language-competent society continues, one-way and two-way immersion programs will doubtlessly strengthen and flourish, and the number of children and young adults with proficiency in second languages will increase. For now, it is clear that foreign language immersion is a highly successful approach to language instruction for children. It enriches their English language development and provides them with an enhanced sense of global awareness, linguistic confidence, and learning strategies that will be useful in many aspects of life.
Anderson, M., Lindholm-Leary, K., Wilhelm, P., Ziegler, M., & Boudreaux, N. (2005). Meeting the challenges of No Child Left Behind in U.S. immersion education. ACIE Newsletter 8(3), Bridge insert, 1-8.
Center for Applied Linguistics. (2006a). Directory of foreign language immersion programs in U.S. schools.
Center for Applied Linguistics. (2006b). Directory of two-way bilingual immersion programs.
Curtain, H., & Dahlberg, C. A. (2004). Languages and children: Making the match (3rd ed.). Boston: Allyn & Bacon.
Fortune, T., & Jorstad, H. L. (1996). U.S. immersion programs: A national survey. Foreign Language Annals, 29(2), 163-190.
Fortune, T. W., & Tedick, D. J. (2003). What parents want to know about foreign language immersion programs. ERIC Digest.
Fortune, D. J., & Tedick, D. J. (Eds.). (in press). Pathways to multilingualism: Evolving perspectives on immersion education. Clevedon, England: Multilingual Matters.
Howard, E., Lindholm-Leary, K., Sugarman, J., Christian, D., & Rogers, D. (2005). Guiding principles for dual language education. Washington, DC: Center for Applied Linguistics.
Rhodes, N. C., & Branaman, L. E. (1999). Foreign language instruction in the United States: A national survey of elementary and secondary schools. Washington, DC, and McHenry, IL: Center for Applied Linguistics and Delta Systems.
Robinson, D. W. (1998). The cognitive, academic, and attitudinal benefits of early language learning. In M. Met (Ed.),Critical issues in early second language learning: Building for our children's future (pp. 37-43). Reading, MA: Scott ForesmanAddison Wesley.
The article above is an abridged version of the CAL Digest: Lenker, A. & Rhodes, N. (2007). Foreign Language Immersion Programs: Features and Trends Over 35 Years. Washington, DC: Center for Applied Linguistics. This synopsis is printed with permission.