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Friday, March 30, 2012 (read 1174 times)
The Future of Dual Language Immersionby Dilek
Spanish is the second natively spoken language in the world. In most of the countries especially in USA, its importance has risen much lately.
In the United States, public schools have increased the number of dual-language immersion programs at a fast pace. The researches show that two or three languages to a high level have certain cognitive advantages for students. The language learning as a second or third is much easier when you learn in the early ages.
Dual language immersion programs target for improving bilingualism (the ability to speak fluently in two languages), it generally begins in kindergarten and continues at least five years. Nowadays in most public schools, dual language immersion programmes extend to high school. About 50,000 students are enrolled in dual-language programs in California and ninety percent of the programs offer Spanish as the second language. Every school has its own teaching structure. Kindergartners are taught 90 percent in Spanish and 10 percent in English. Each following year, the language balance shifts closer to 50-50. Some programs in secondary and high schools split the English and second language 50-50 for all grade levels.First Language immersion began in 1971 with first Spanish immersion program in Culver City, California and has reached to 30 states now.
The kids are also happy with the programme. The students coming from Mexico, Cuba or other Latin America countries don’t lose their heritage and language, since it becomes a big problem for the third or latter generations to speak Spanish out of their home during daily life with their friends or at school. For the American students, it is a great opportunity to learn the language which has dominated the country for the last few years and has a great amount of importance within their community. The programme also offers a cultural exchange experience and the advantage of being a bilateral speaker in modern world.
This two-way immersion programme is regarded to be the most effective way of language learning for integrating both Spanish speaking students and non-Spanish speaking students. And to increase the number of this programme, the authorities emphasizes the importance of scarcity of dual language immersion programme teachers and teaching materials. Right now most elementary schools are hiring teachers starting from the 4th or 5th grades.
The future of Spanish is going to be more bright with the new way of techniques and programmes as almost every citizen will be able to speak Spanish at one point.
Keywords: dual language immersion, spanish, usa, speak spanish