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Derek B. Miller: Utah speaks the world’s languages

Deseret News – Derek B. Miller

“Utah boasts a robust and expanding K-12 dual-immersion program. Every day, children in over 130 schools across the state spend part of the day learning subjects in English and part of the day learning in another language. The benefit of this language training to Utah’s position as the nation’s fastest growing economy cannot be overstated. Utah is part of the global economy, and the language ability of our workforce gives Utah a tremendous competitive advantage. Beyond the basic linguistics, understanding the world’s cultures helps Utah to be an outward focused, internationally minded state…many other states across the country are initiating and expanding their own dual immersion programs. To whit, President Obama recently announced, in partnership with China President Xi Jinping, a goal for the U.S. to have 1 million K-12 students studying Mandarin by 2020…The benefits of this effort go well beyond having more U.S. students speaking Chinese.”(more)

Summertime is a great time to begin learning a foreign language

The Guam Daily Post – Elizabeth Hamilton, M.Ed

“Children who study one or more foreign languages during their school years reap numerous personal, cognitive and academic benefits. Through foreign language study, they learn about different cultures and ways of life, and expand their views of the world. Additionally, they have higher scores on tests of academic achievement than their monolingual peers. Below are some details about the benefits of foreign language study:.”(more)

Bilingual Education In The US: How The Benefits Of Teaching Two Languages Extend Beyond Schools

The Parent Herald – Samantha Finch

“Bilingual education is becoming a trend in U.S. schools. Beginning in Florida in the 1960s, dual-language immersion programs for Spanish students now exist in states like Minnesota, New York and Utah. Teresa Chávez, the lead teacher in Minneapolis, Minnesota’s Little Canada Elementary’s Dual Language Immersion program, said teaching English and Spanish side-by-side is important because it signifies the world’s undeniable connection. Multiple races and immigrants from different countries live in the United States, which means that English is not the only language being used in the country, the Atlantic wrote.”(more)

Why students are turning away from learning foreign languages

The Sydney Morning Herald – Kelsey Munro

“Kurt Mullane, the executive director of the Asia Education Foundation, said “one of our great challenges is our monolingual mindset”. “We think English will be enough, that it’s got us this far and it will treat us well into the future,” he said. “But the world has changed rapidly. If you are a monolingual speaker these days, you are well and truly in a minority in a global context. Our education sector is still playing catch up to that.” Despite millions being pumped into promoting foreign language learning in schools in the past decade, the slide has continued. Asian languages, treated as a priority by successive governments, are faring particularly badly. In 2005, 1524 NSW students took Chinese at HSC level; in 2015, when there were 12,000 more year 12 students, that number was 832. Butof most those were native Chinese speakers and only 153 were studying it as a second language.”(more)

Video: Portland Spanish Immersion First-Graders Learn Muy Rapido

Maine Public Broadcasting – Robbie Feinberg

“When Pedro Zamarro teaches his first-grade class, it’s all in Spanish. What’s unusual about it, though, is that Zamarro’s students aren’t from Spain, Mexico or South America. They attend Lyseth Elementary in Portland, which two years ago launched the state’s first public Spanish immersion class for first-graders. Today, students are speaking near-fluent Spanish…He says he’s often surprised at just how well his students pick up the new language…This style of bilingual immersion education isn’t new. Experts estimate that there are more than 1,000 language immersion classrooms nationwide. Schools tout the ways that bilingual education helps students learn problem-solving, empathy and literacy. Lyseth Principal Lenore Williams says it’s a great start for kids who’ll one day be competing for jobs in a global economy. “It’s pretty well known that if you’re going to be successful in the future, bilingualism is going to be a requisite skill. A critical skill,” she says.”(more)

Naples student heads to China for intensive language training

Collier Citizen – Lance Shearer

“”They told us to bring a gift for our host family — but be sure it’s not something made in China,” said Nick Lamb. The concept illustrates some of the cultural currents the rising Naples High sophomore will navigate this summer, as a U.S. State Department scholar in Sichuan Province, China. Nick will have intensive Mandarin classes six hours a day, all while living with a local Chinese host family and speaking nothing but the local tongue. Nick’s merit-based scholarship, officially known as the National Strategic Language Initiative for Youth (NSLI-Y), is part of a U.S. government initiative that prepares outstanding American students to be leaders in a global world…The NSLI-Y program seeks to increase the number of Americans who can engage with native speakers of critical languages. The goals of the NSLI-Y program include sparking a life-long interest in foreign languages and cultures, and developing a corps of young Americans with the skills necessary to advance international dialogue and cross-cultural opportunities in the private, academic and government sectors.”(more)