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The Need for and Challenge of Bringing More Dual-Language Teachers into Classrooms

Education World – Joel Stice

“The U.S. Hispanic population accounts for 56 percent of the country’s population growth since 2000, according to the Pew Research Center. What this means for schools is that roughly five million or one out of every 10 school children are classified as English language learners (ELLs). Many of these students are immigrants or first-generation from Spanish-speaking countries and while they might know some English, it may not be the primary language spoken at home. This elevates the potential for them to easily fall behind in school. Because of this, the need for bilingual or dual-language teachers continues to rise in many parts of the country.”(more)

How One of Indianapolis’ ‘Innovation School’ Principals Is Using Language of Love — and Spanish Immersion Program — to Achieve Dramatic Student Growth

The 74 Million – Kate Stringer

“The staff start their emails with “Familia….” The teachers swing from the monkey bars at recess with their first-graders. The principal finds out students have stolen a bike and walks them home to tell their parents. Not many schools have the word “love” in their mission, and it’s a hard thing to quantify on a school report card. But Global Prep Academy — whose motto is “unlocking the world through language, expeditionary learning, and love” — is one of a dozen schools in Indianapolis doing things differently, including a dual-language immersion program beginning in kindergarten for its native Spanish and English speakers that aims to embrace students’ culture and families.”(more)

Spanish fluency in the U.S. decreases with each generation

USA Today – Laura Castaneda

” The loss or decay of a community’s native language from one generation to the next is not new. But it is cause for concern. Research shows that learning another language has cognitive, competitive and cultural benefits for students. As a result, many educators and parents are emphasizing the benefits of bilingualism in our increasingly global society. “Children who are bilingual have cognitive flexibility in thinking and really move through concepts in different ways,” says Hilda Maldonado, executive director of the multilingual and multicultural education department for the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD).”(more)

German Prof: ‘Learning a foreign language can make you smarter’

The Wichitan – Herbert McCullough

“She talked about how influential Spanish is to American culture. The Spanish-speaking community in the United States dates back to the rise and fall of the Spanish Empire, the aftermath of the Mexican-American War and immigration. “Spanish is very influential if you look at the name of some of the cities in the American Southwest,” Butler said.”The Spanish colonized parts of the United States in their efforts to expand Catholicism and their wealth. Spanish culture has been a part of the United States before the birth of the United States. We have a lot of immigrants from Spanish speaking countries and we have a lot of people who lived here for a generation who are Spanish speakers.” Yvonne Frank, associate professor of German, also explained how important learning a foreign language is. She said learning a foreign language is a form of cognitive training, meaning that learning a foreign language can make a student smarter and enhance their understanding. Frank also added that those who learn a foreign language have a higher salary.”(more)

In young bilingual children two languages develop simultaneously but independently

Medical X-Press – Staff Writer

“A new study of Spanish-English bilingual children by researchers at Florida Atlantic University published in the journal Developmental Science finds that when children learn two languages from birth each language proceeds on its own independent course, at a rate that reflects the quality of the children’s exposure to each language. In addition, the study finds that Spanish skills become vulnerable as children’s English skills develop, but English is not vulnerable to being taken over by Spanish. In their longitudinal data, the researchers found evidence that as the children developed stronger skills in English, their rates of Spanish growth declined. Spanish skills did not cause English growth to slow, so it’s not a matter of necessary trade-offs between two languages.”(more)

Commentary: US education needs more languages

The Ithacan – Ashley Ahl

“When I originally chose to study Spanish in the seventh grade, I never imagined it would impact my life in such a large way. Studying Spanish goes beyond simply knowing how to communicate with others who don’t speak the same language as me. Through my studies, I’ve been able to learn about another culture, especially through my study abroad experience in Seville, Spain, during the Spring 2016 semester. Knowing the language gave me a foundation for the full immersion program I participated in, allowing me to truly understand the Spanish way of life. I am extremely fortunate to have had such an impactful experience, which has forever changed the way in which I see the world. Learning a second language has given me a broader knowledge of the world, and allowed me to have a greater appreciation for others who are different than me.”(more)