This program can't last for one year only for the children's learning to
stick.Also, being on a mission to Taiwan I am a bit cynical. Do you
remember the part of "The Music Man" where the children play their
instruments in a horrible fashion and the parents all swoon with joy? Of course
the teacher will say the children are amazing because no one else can tell (and
if they could the teacher might be out of a job).If these students
don't continue learning Chinese for years to come these talents will simply be a
cheap trick for a Ward Christmas Party.
beetdiggingcougarThese children will continue to learn Mandarin
throughout elementary school, and middle school, by the time they are sophomores
in high school they will be taking 300 level college courses, in Mandarin. They
will be a lot more proficient in the language than returned missionaries.
Our local school did the "Spanish immersion." Many of the children
dropped out after a few years and had not been taught sufficiently in English.
Their reading and grammar skills were significantly behind. Since a student
can't opt into the program later and make it, the class size diminishes. That
means all the other students have to subsidize those in this class. Our
children were hurt by this program since they were the victims of "The
Music Men" selling a program that is appealing, but has failed over and
over. It hurts many in the program and hurts all of those outside of it who
3bugzLots of forward looking statements there. What my point was
that we better just hope the Legislature doesn't cut their budget (they've done
it for other programs) or all of your predictions may not come true. One other thing to remember. You might also notice the article states BYU
grads will be the teachers. Where do you think these BYU grads learned
Mandarin? Most are RMs. These kids will have a nice thick American accent
since most of the students won't have an opportunity to talk to natives. You
know the scene in "A Christmas Story" with the Chinese singers with
bad pronunciation? Just reverse it.
Wow! Lots of negative comments here...My daughter is finishing up
her SECOND year in the Chinese program. We have another daughter entering the
program next year. The Chinese teachers in her elementary school are native
Mandarin speakers. My daughter struggled a bit in her first year
(which is natural), but is now coming into her own. It's pretty amazing to visit
her class and see the kids talking to each other in Chinese. As for
immersion students not being "taught sufficiently in English", our
daughter studies math in Chinese and reading/spelling/language in English. And
if parents do simple things like reading English books with their kids (which
they should be doing anyway), there shouldn't be any problems with students
falling behind in English.My two cents :)
EXCELLENTTo be the best, children need to start language-learning as
early as possible. And practice, practice, practice.That is because
once facial muscles form (~age 10) -- articulating certain sounds is very, very
difficult. That is why there is Adult Spanglish, Adult Kanglish, Franglish,
etc.Plus, of course, children learn at a much-faster pace than
@ PressureDrop | 9:08 p.m. April 11, 2011There is far more to
learning English than just reading it.Over the years, I have taught
on the college/university level at four different schools. My experience has
shown that the vast majority of these students have absolutely no command of the
English language, be it written or spoken. After 12 years of primary and
secondary education, followed by another four years of "higher
education" (and I use the term lightly), we are graduating students who
write and talk like uneducated clods.There was a time, and it was
not too long ago, that the education system in the United States was second to
none. Today, we lag woefully behind no less than 20 other nations. That is
inexcusable.This is the United States of America. We speak English,
and our children should learn to speak it well before attempting to learn
another language.If we, as a nation, wish to regain our place as a
world leader in education, we must to return to the basics and teach those
(basic) subjects that made us great. We should be masters of our own
John: much of the lag is caused by watering down standards to accomodate ESL
and special ed, as part of the NCLB. If you want X percent to pass, lower the
standards until you meet your goal! If we would allow people to enter
trade/tech programs or to just plain fail out of the academic push that is
prevalent in our schools, we wouldn't have this problem. Instead, EVERY child
must succeed and success is only marked by going to college. Thus, a large
influx of unprepared college kids who shouldn't be there in the first place.
Colleges are NOT complaining. More kids equals a bigger bottom line.If we want excellence, my honest opinion is that it starts at home. Parents
must be willing to push their kids to excel. Simply having teachers with high
demands means simply having more kids who fail. Success starts in the home.Learning a 2nd language has also been shown to greatly increase learning
in other subjects. Like math, second languages allow our understanding and
ability to reason to improve. We should be pushing for more language learning.
Goet | 12:25 p.m. April 12, 2011 I agree with much of what you say.
However..."... second languages allow our understanding and
ability to reason to improve."Can you provide any hard evidence
on that, please? That sounds like an awfully borad statement. How does
studying/speaking a second language improve "reasoning" skills when
graduates can't properly write and speak their native tongue?
Learning another language can be a real benefit, particularly if it causes you
to learn the grammar of English in the process. However these
"immersion" programs in the elementary grades take away from the
basics the kids need at that age, and they cause the students not in the program
to have bigger class sizes and in other ways subsidize the immersion class.It's been tried for 30 years in Utah with little success and harm to
many, but it sounds sooo "cute" to have kids speak somewhat in another
language, not to mention the "My kid is in the Immersion class (and
therefore I'm a better parent)" badge that many parents wear.
Spanish or Mandarin, which is it this week?
Funny how parents in China aren't worried about their children being taught
insufficiently in Mandarin. Their kids work hard to learn English and then work
extra in Chinese to do well in both.They not only work more cheaply
than we, they work smarter. There are more people learning English
in China.....than the total population of the US....over 300 million.Immersion programs work. They must continue through the secondary level.
Native speaking teachers are best. We have Japanese, French and
Spanish programs here. The Japanese immersion program was the first in this
country. It's kindergarten is Japanese only. Thereafter it's one half day in
Japanese, one half day in English.....through middle school; about 2/5th of the
day is in Japanese in high school. The kids go to Japan in the fifth
grade...paid by parents. Their hosts are shocked. They have seen few
foreigners who speak Japanese so well.The Japanese program has been
around long enough that its first graduates are now out of college. Those who
complete the program can write their own ticket in this life.
It seems like some people never have anything constructive to add to a
conversation on these articles. I also teach in higher ed and I don't think it
fitting to refer to my students as "uneducated clods," especially
after I've taught them ;) As far as the U.S. being the world leader in
education formerly, there is and never was any proof to substantiate that claim.
The reason we know we're not the leaders now is because, in 1995, we
started participating in international tests and discovered we're not the
geniuses we thought we were. Are we doing what we can to improve? You bet, but
learning a second language is actually one of the ways to do that. There's ample
evidence that learning a second language actually improves one's native
language, but it takes 2-3 years for kids to "catch up," and beyond
that foreign-language studying students surpass their monolingual counterparts
in their understanding and command of their native tongue. Look it up at
CALICO, convergent cognition, and ACTFL.
Good idea.After all, we're racking up debt they'll be paying for all their
lives. They should at least be able to communicate with their
I'll give you my own practical experience. Knowing another language allows me
to decipher word meanings solely based on root words/prefixes. I have a
completely separate path of understanding. Often, I find that my native
language is unable to convey the meaning or sentiment as does the 2L. Many have
the same issue.Learning a second language provides a broader view,
not just of the culture of other nations, but of thought processes. Just the
way we formulate sentences in 2+ languages changes our thought patterns.I'm not defending immersion programs. I have no idea of their efficacy.
I do, however, defend learning second languages as a young child. Many studies
show that this is the best time for 2L acquisition and that having children
begin their K-12 with L2 learning improves their academics across the board.
For those worried about attrition, these immersion programs are a 6-year deal.
Parents are asked to commit (inasmuch as that's possible) to the full 6 years
when enrolling their kids in these programs. We have sons in both the Chinese
and French immersion programs and they're doing great in both languages. Also,
the program requires native speakers as the foreign-language teachers. So,
beetdiggingcougar, don't worry, these kids will be speaking Mandarin way better
than the language you picked up on your mission. For those worried
about the drain this program is on local society (e.g., @Chuck E Racer), you
raise an important point in that not all immersion programs are created equal.
Reports that have looked at over 7,700 different students in immersion programs
(Howard, Sugarman, & Christian, 2003; Collier & Thomas, 2002). The
effective programs must be full, dual, or two-way immersion. Those programs that
"gradually" introduce ELL students to English and reduce the amount of
immersion each year are ineffective and just teach students that it's bad to
speak their native tongue. Luckily, those running these new programs in Utah
What's next ... a Communist Chinese flag in every classroom?
In "Outliers" by Malcolm Gladwell, the author describes how the
Chinese (and other eastern) way of undertanding numbers in a logical progression
(as opposed to western numbering systems where the natural progression is often
interrupted by seemingly random, non-pattern names for some numbers) lends
itself to faster, more comprehensive math skills. Chinese, Japanese, and Korean
2-year-olds can count to 50 and beyond, where most western-thinking kids only
make it to about fourteen by that age. Gladwell explains that it is because of
this language-based understanding of numbers, more so than other factors, that
Chinese and other eastern cultures tend to be more adept at math. There's not room here to do justice to his gracefully simple explanation (so
simple, a caveman could understand it), so head on over to your local library.
My daughter is in a Chinese immersion program and continues to fare well on
standardized testing compared with the non-immersion students. As someone
involved in higher education, I worry not at all about her ability to compete
with her non-immersion peers.
South Korea, China and Japan teach English. America?
This is needed. How can America compete internationally when we can't even speak
a 2nd langauge? Have you SEEN 'Swamp People' on the history
channel? They tell me, it's in english....and have to use
subtitles. In my opinion, this can only benifit the child. Giving
them the tools and hopeful curiosity to engage in the world. The
idea of 'In the world, but not OF the world' has been disproven. My
examples? The Soviet Union Utah We are very much
OF the world. Not matter how many barriers we try to use to seperate
ourselves. Including the langauge barrier.
I have 1 daughter finishing her second year in Chinese immersion and another
finishing her first. They both can read/write/speak/ Chinese and not at all
behind in other subjects. All of the Chinese teachers they have had are native
Chinese speakers. The program has been PHENOMENAL. @beetdiggingcougar and
others, I hope the comments you've seen have turned away your cynicism. I speak
Chinese so I'm not worried about the "music man" effect...I see what
my kids are capable of and it's real. I'm so grateful that these programs are
Let the program grow slowly and naturally or it can die. That would be
tragic.This will also give concerns an opportunity to catch up.
Might as well let 'em expand.If we keep going down the road we're
own the Chinese will own this nation within 20 years.
I was a skeptic when our school introduced the Spanish Immersion program during
my first child's kindergarten year. We signed her up and have never regretted
it for an instance. There are multiple studies out there that show that,
initially, the immersion students lag behind the non-immersion students. After
3-4 years, they catch up and pass immersion students in all faucets of school,
English included.My daughter is in 1st grade now and speaks spanish
around the home (I speak spanish too and I can vouch that she can communicate in
spanish). It really is pretty amazing.We had concerns about the
district's committment to this. We were assured that there are already plans to
take this program through elementry, into middle school where multiple classes
will be in spanish, then have the option to learn a 3rd language in high school,
or take college level courses in high school and graduate high school with a
college Minor in spanish. After 2 years of the program, I really do
not see a down side to the program and absolutely love it. I hope this helps
the uneducated critics here.
I was a Spanish immersion student. Most of the kids in my class and I
consistently tested higher than most kids in English reading and writing, in
addition to everything else. There are no down sides to learning another
language this early. It has been a tremendous help to me in my life to know two
languages. Utah definitely has the right idea here, and the rest of the country
should follow.Who cares if kids learn the second language with an
American accent? It's far better than not learning the language at all. Should
Scandinavian people not bother to learn English just because they wind up
speaking it with a Scandinavian accent? Don't be ridiculous. I will never speak
Spanish like a native, but that doesn't stop me from communicating with people
A comment and a question. First, learning a second language is a good thing
overall. In most European countries besides learning their native language with
its grammar and structure, they have to learn English and most learn another
language on top of that. The difference is results. In Europe they are required
to test to show mastery of the language at their level. In other words, it is
part of their academic progress. What results are provided to actually show
mastery of the language at the student's level? If we are going to use the
academic time then results must be expected. Questions. There are only x amount
of hours in a school day so something is being given up? Is it PE, social
studies, science? Is the program worth not going more in depth in the area given
up? Since native speakers teach this, then are these native speakers taking
regular teaching jobs that a U.S. citizen could fill? Finally, I know of a
school where teachers had to opt in or move schools since the principal brought
the program into the school. Do we lose excellent teachers who opt out from a
This program is a great idea. America is on the decline and probably won't ever
recover. Chinese is a good language for our children to start learning since
that's where the economic power will be shortly.@PaganYa, Utah
is just like the Soviet Union. LOL! Just shows most of your comments are not
to be taken seriously. Anyway, I thought you libs liked communism.
"There are only x amount of hours in a school day so something is being
given up? Is it PE, social studies, science?"No. That's the
beauty of it. Kids in immersion programs still learn everything all the other
kids learn. They just do it in another language, which is really the only good
way to learn a language. They speak English at home, and their natural curiosity
leads them to learn how to read and write in English way before they actually
start spending time on it in school, at least it did with me and my piers.
Goet, that was precisely my experience having gone through an immersion program.
New languages aren't just a set of grammar rules and vocabulary,
they are entirely new ways of thinking, and understanding them can give you so
many advantages in life, not to mention the experience of simply seeing the
beauty in some other language and culture. I wish immersion programs
were available to my kids. It almost makes it worth it to move to Utah...almost.
Belching Cow | 9:46 a.m., Iron curtian - Derived from Winston
Churchhill's speech in Fulton Missouri, 1946. Throughout the Cold War the term
"curtain" would become a common euphemism for boundaries - physical or
ideological - between communist and capitalist states. The Mormon
Curtian - An actual website dedicated to pointing out the ideological divides
that support a 'Us vs. Them' mentality. Anyway, I thought you
conservatives liked freedom?
My only real problem with foreign language programs is that we've got enough
kids who can't speak or write proper English as it is. We need to be making sure
they have a firm grasp on grammar in this nation's primary language before we go
teaching them another one.I went through College English classes, we
peer reviewed other students' papers. I swear I don't know how some of my peers
made it out of middle school, little lone to a university.
My son is in the Chinese immersion program finishing up year 2. I'm fluent in
Chinese (RM) and use chinese in my work every day, and it's been incredible
seeing how quickly my son has picked up on this complex language in such a short
time. It's not a perfect system, but the dual immersion program is beneficial
to the families who elect to take part in it. The program requires a bit more
parental involvement (which is a great thing). The fear of falling behind in
other subjects because of focusing on Chinese was a concern, although from our
experience our child's progress in school is more affected by our direct
involvement in what he's learning and preoperly incentivizing him to do well.
We've been so happy with the program that our daughter will begin the program in
her first grade next year.Children are capable of doing amazing
things if you give them the opportunity, and the language immersion programs are
just one other opportunity. I would highly recommend others take advantage of
this if it is available to your children.
I saw a movie once which was talking about the economic revolution and how China
was the economic leader of the world. Everyone either spoke Manadrin Chinese or
didn't survive in the business world. Maybe it's good to teach children Chinese
because there isn't only a Chinese immersion, but a Chinese innundation of just
about everything and just about everywhere. It seems like everything we buy,
including the "American" computer I am using was made in China.
For those who have the notion that something is being given up by learning
another language, that's not the case. First, the students are not necessarily
learning Chinese, but rather they are learning in Chinese. They study math and
science in Chinese. My 1st-grade son was calculating the area of a cube while we
were eating out the other day (to figure out the # of M&Ms in the jar), so I
think by first-grade standards, his math is just fine. My 2nd-grade
French-studying child has had report cards indicating he's at the end of the
year standard for half the year, so he's not suffering either. Research long ago demonstrated that students who "give up" time in
other subjects by participating in immersion programs perform on par with the
other students (Burstall, Jamieson, Cohen & Hargreaves, 1974; Hilgendorf,
Holzkamp & Münzberg, 1970). It's a fallacy to assume that we're giving
up on English by studying another language; we're actually helping it.(of course, @Independent's misspelling of the word "peer" doesn't
help my case, but research in general bears out these arguments ;)
@PaganYou get your info from places like the Mormon Curtain? That
explains a lot. And yes, I do like freedom. Not sure why you think I wouldn't.
'And yes, I do like freedom. Not sure why you think I wouldn't.' - Belching Cow
| 2:49 p.m. *'GOP trying to use tax law to limit abortions' - By
Stephen Ohlemacher - AP - Published by DSNews - 03/31/2011 'Opponents say
the bill would make it difficult, if not impossible, for many women to obtain
medical insurance that covers abortions even if they pay for it themselves.' Typical. I 'love' freedom. You 'can' do whatever you
want. Until you do something I don't agree with. Then
you need to 'choose' they way I want you too. This is what happens
when you paint in broad strokes. Or is that NOT what you meant
when: 'Anyway, I thought you libs liked communism.' - Belching Cow |
9:46 a.m. Not sure how calling someone a 'communist' is part of
@ Independent and StaypuffinpcThose that think "That's the
beauty of it. Kids in immersion programs still learn everything all the other
kids learn. They just do it in another language!" You're very naive! You
don't add that much complication without taking away something else majorly.My entire career I've watched people adding one more thing after another
to what we do as teachers. "It'll only take 5 more minutes. You can fit
it in." We already have more to teach than is earthly possible.
Saturation was reached long ago. Teaching whatever in any other language pushes
other good things out.