Cape considers dual language immersion

Delmarva Now – Jon Bleiweis

“Spanish or Chinese could be the prominent language in a Cape Henlopen elementary school classroom in the near future, as the school district contemplates adding a dual language immersion program. It could happen as soon as 2017, according to district assistant superintendent Kathy Petitgout. It’s part of Gov. Jack Markell’s 10-year world language expansion initiative, which started in 2011. The goal is to have 20 immersion programs in the state and 10,000 students be part of them…Lynn Fulton-Archer, an education specialist for world language immersion with the state Department of Education, said the increase can be attributed to potential economic and academic benefits. Not only does it give students another marketable skill in a global workplace, but decades of research has shown that students who have an earlier start in language learning in an immersion education typically perform as well or better than their monolingual peers on standardized test, she said. It also has the potential to close the achievement gap across minority populations that are enrolled in the programs, she said.”(more)

Computer coding valuable but not a foreign language

The Tallahassee Democrat – Johanne Deremble

“You probably heard about implementing coding classes at schools as an alternative to a foreign language class. Until last week, I did not believe it was a serious possibility. The bill is now going to be on the Senate floor and seems likely to pass – this is happening. Belonging to a family of scientists, it does make sense to me to implement coding classes in our schools. I do think it is an interesting idea that will give students more opportunities to engage in tomorrow’s world market. I do not understand, though, why it is associated with foreign languages. It is true that the word “language” describes a variety of things. A language gives you the ability to engage in a dialogue. Math is a form of language. With coding, you can communicate with computers. It is a technical skill that may be useful in numerous professions. But how is that comparable with learning a foreign language? I wonder about the message we are sending to students: Communicating with machines is as valuable as communicating with other human beings.”(more)

English one day, Español the next: Dual-language learning expands with a South Bronx school as a model

The Hechinger Report – Margaret Ramirez

“At Public School 73 in the South Bronx, 8-year-old Arlette Espallat is reading aloud in Spanish about animals found in “el bosque” or, the forest. Her voice rises as she brings the faraway images to the noisy classroom. Later in the week, Arlette and her classmates will read in English about the life of Olympic medalist Wilma Rudolph. But, ask the chatty third-grader which language she likes best and she gives a thoughtful answer. “I like Spanish better. That’s because I know if I learn my own language, then I will be better in reading and writing English,” she said. Several educators agree with Arlette’s reasoning. In New York City and other parts of the nation, dual-language schools and education programs are on the rise as a way to better prepare students for jobs in a globalized economy. The programs provide instruction in two languages in order to help students develop proficiency in both.”(more)

Eight Reasons Why You Should Really Learn a Language

The Huffington Post – Alexia Cowley

“8 reasons why you should really learn a language… So you have always had the intention to learn a foreign language but never quite got around to doing it? Well, you know what they say; it is never too late to start something new! Here are 8 impressive reasons as to why mastering a foreign language really would change your life…”(more)

Parents can help, but children take a DIY approach to learning language

The Conversation – Jeffrey Lidz

“Parents can help children develop their language. But when it comes to building the linguistic structure that undergirds the language, new research shows that children would rather do it themselves. Perhaps one of the oldest debates in the cognitive sciences centres on whether children have an inborn faculty of language. This faculty makes it possible for children to learn the language of their community. Evidence for its existence comes from the richness of the system that language users come to have as compared to the finite set of sentences that any one learner is exposed to.”(more)

Ask the expert: Should my child learn to speak Mandarin?

The Irish Times – Staff Writer

“Edd Stockwell, co-founder of Tutorfair.com, which makes it easy to find good local tutors, says: “From Facebook’s chief executive delivering a 20-minute speech entirely in Mandarin for the Chinese president’s recent visit, China’s influence on the global market has never been so strong. “Alongside this, we’ve found the appetite for students learning Mandarin has also rocketed – recent statistics show a 24 per cent increase in learning the language. “So why is it so important for children to learn? Simple – invest in their future. China will play a major role in world affairs in the future and business leaders are looking for people who can speak Mandarin and operate successfully in a Chinese cultural context..”(more)