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I strongly recommend my neighbor’s son to go to a dual language school. The reason why I stated that is that there are lots of benefit in a dual language program. For instance, learn second language skills and maintain their native language. Therefore, a dual language program develops a sense of cultural pride while developing an understanding of others.
First, let me tell you a story about what I have been heard and learn about the dual language program how awesome it was. When the first time I heard about the dual language was during my college class. Our textbook was about the dual language program, and my professor told each one of us to do research about different dual language school from different states. I remember my research about the dual language school was at Bellevue, WA. The school name JING MEI elementary school. It was a Chinese dual language immersion with 90/10 two-way model. The important thing is that by knowing two languages, the student test scores will be higher and doing better in academically. For instance, the test scores in Jing-Mei elementary school is really good, and it makes me think of our textbook also stated that the reason to enroll in dual language class “To increase mastery of the curriculum and raise achievement test scores” (Thomas & Collier, P.18). Which is true because the students in Jing-Mei elementary school did a really good job and received good grades on the test.
Moreover, I believe that learning Mandarin is beneficial to everyone because Mandarin just like English it’s worldwide. For instance, in the textbook, it stated that “Travel to other parts of the world is increasingly available and knowing only English is a huge disadvantage” (Thomas & Collier, P.19). if a person travels to some country, their basic communication language is English and if is in Chinese, then it must be Mandarin. Therefore, it is better to learn another language besides English to travel, working in a different work environment, school, and even in business.
Also, I did an interview at an elementary school located in the city which is Chicago. Carson elementary school is also a dual language school. It more nearby a Spanish speaker neighborhood, so the language that they teach is Spanish and English. The percentage of language instruction will change as the grade level goes up. For example, during the interview, Ms. Julia who taught kindergarten has told us that some of the parents want their child/children keep their native Language which is Spanish, but in the child/children keep speaking in English, the parents didn’t want their child/children to lose their native language. Therefore, the parents choose to send their child to this school because it will make the students keep learning and using Spanish. It’s important to the parents that they want their child to still able to speak and understand Spanish.
In addition, another reason was some parents want their child/children learn a second language, so it’s good to place them at a dual language program. I saw a white student and the only student that keep using English to communicate with Ms. Julia. During the interview, I mentioned that I saw a student that keep speaking Spanish to them. So, I asked her how that helps him by placing him in a 90% of Spanish speaking classroom. Ms. Julia’s answer was that some parents just want them to learn a second language, so they have decided to send them to a dual language program (Julia, personal communication, March 19, 2019). At first, it’s not easy for him or any other students that don’t speak and doesn’t know any Spanish. However, it’s a good opportunity that they are kindergartener where there’s a bigger chance to build a good foundation of learning Spanish when they are at a younger age compared to the older age students. Ms.Julia told us that although during the process for them to learn Spanish is difficult but at the end of the school year. Teachers and the parents saw the big improvement of their students and their child/children did great of speaking, writing, and writing in Spanish.
The advantage of going to a dual language school is that students will be able to do better of their oral reading and speaking and have a skill of both languages. For example, I didn’t go to a dual language school and I was sad that how come Chicago doesn’t have this program for a long time ago and not many dual language schools in the city. If I was in a dual language program I would improve and do better of writing in Chinese. I was a bilingual student, but when I immigrated to America, there’s no dual language school in my area. But, there was some school has a bilingual program. So, my parents send me to that school and enrolled me in a bilingual classroom. The difference between bilingual classroom and dual language program is that bilingual classroom only translates Chinese if the teachers were Chinese. And the teachers don’t do translation all the time for the students, so half of the time I was asking help from my classmates and using a dictionary to translate to find out the meaning.
In a bilingual classroom, teachers were teaching every subject in English, explain and showed work in English. This is more like a “sink or swims” method to me. My new the language which is English. Although during the process I was struggling and having a hard time to learn to speak, write, listening and reading in English. However, the “sink or swim” method works for me because I am living in America, and I need to able to have the ability to succeed in those four important criteria to be able to survive in the language I was learning. For instance, when there are holes in your vocabulary and you still need a minute to come up with a sentence, you must convey your needs, even to the most intrepid learner enough to make your palms sweat. But as nerve-racking as it sounds, it may be the most effective way to improve your language skills quickly. However, I think that “sink or swim” method is not a healthy way for students to learn a second language or maintain the first language. It might be a fast way to learn it in a new language but it’s not successful in some points.
Furthermore, if I was in a dual language program, I would have a better way to learn a new language and maintain my native language in writing, reading, speaking, and listening. It’s important to keep the mother language no matter in writing, reading, speaking, and listening. For example, I was fluent at speaking, reading, and listening, but I am not so good at writing in Chinese. And I have to admit that I was losing to not know how to write Chinese anymore. I need to type the pinyin to look for the Chinese words in order to write Chinese words. Without that method, it takes time and it’s hard for me to think of how the Chinese words looks like to write it. I wish there’s a Mandarin and English dual language school that’s like JING MEI elementary school in Bellevue, Washington. If I was in a dual language program, it would be good for me to keep practicing and learning in depth in Chinese not just only understand of reading, speaking, listening, but not doing so well of writing in Chinese.
Dual language school not only teach the student with a new language or maintain their native language. Also, students can learn and see a different culture. School not only teach student knowledge, and also teach any aspect of culture, how to socialize with people and apply the knowledge that was learned from school to apply to the future career or even business. For instance, lots of my friends are born here, I called them as ABC (American born Chinese). They are American Chinese, but 20 years ago I don’t think dual language school exists, but parents choose to send them to a Saturday school to learn Chinese. However, it’s not enough just to go to Saturday school and learn one day or half day of Chinese. Students should learn the second language or maintain their native language on an everyday basis not just going to a Saturday school that’s not proficient enough. It’s better to learn it from a dual language school at least 7-8 school hours a day to achieve and learn the real materials in order to comprehend and using the knowledge of what they learned from school to communicate with others.
It’s beneficial to go to dual language school because just like my friend Stephanie, who is born in America and she’s Mexican American. Their family member could speak, listen, read, and write in Spanish, but except her because she usually spoke English and listened Spanish to their grandparents. Grandparents were the one who keeps spoken Spanish with her, but she only understands but her parents were speaking English to her. So, she was having a hard time to do codeswitching while listening to Spanish and speak English to them. Although she understands Spanish, as her background and culture, their grandparents wanted her to maintain her native language which is Spanish. They don’t want her to lose the important language, and they want her to keep learning and try to be the expertise in speaking, writing, listening and reading. For instance, when they have a family trip back to Mexico. She is the only one doesn’t speak fluently in Spanish. She felt shame and embarrassed by not speaking fluent Spanish. Also, when her little cousin needs her help of the Spanish homework, yet she doesn’t understand that much of the reading and can’t explain her little cousin in English. It’s important to understand the reading because once she doesn’t know how to read the Spanish words, then she is just a person that label as Spanish speaker but not fluent at speaking, reading, and writing. In that case, that will lose lots of the opportunity to look for jobs in the future.
Nowadays, it’s important to be a bilingual and needed to be fluent in speaking, and reading. Writing might not be required at some job like retail or being a salesperson. However, when it comes to working at a school as a teacher, doctor, any job position that requires writing and typing in Spanish or any other languages besides English. It’s really important to be able to understand it. Just like the example of Stephanie or any others has similar experiences, yet it’s hard to look for jobs in the future. It’s beneficial to learn and being an expert of those four important components. There are lots of jobs that want to hire a bilingual person who understands and fluent in that, once it’s missing one or two of the components, then others will take the position just because he/she doesn’t speak well or good at writing in the second language.
All in all, a dual language school or program could impact lots of students, become a better person, and have more opportunity to look for jobs because is bilingual. I strongly agree with the parents who wanted their child to keep their native languages or learn a new language and send them to a dual language school. It’s good to have 50/50 or 90/10 learning methods to learn a new language. The more it involves the second language or maintain the native language, the better he/she will speak, write, type, listen, and read in that language. It’s great for the students who start learning a new language at a younger age because it will learn faster, if not it will take a longer time to become expertise of that language. However, being a bilingual child can learn two languages, but it won’t confuse them. According to the website, one of the studies show that “learning a second language can improve a person’s tolerance and empathy by building what we call “cultural competence,” or by opening people’s eyes in a way that is different from their own.” In essence, language learning involves the learning of different cultures. Children pick up cultural cues through language lessons and meaningful immersive experiences.
Dual language is great for any grade level but starting at a younger age is the better option. It’s a great way to learn a new language and maintain the native language. Parents, teachers, and students(child) are happy with the results of learning a new language or even have a big improvement in learning a language. While developing an understanding of others, they develop pride in their own culture.
- 5 Reasons Dual Language Learning Should Start Early – Little Sponges. (2018, February 6). Retrieved from https://www.little-sponges.com/index.php/2018/02/06/5-reasons-dual-language-learning-start-early/
- Broadway Elementary Mandarin Immersion Program [Video file]. (2014, June 5). Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DkpQUgUyFNA&index=12&t=0s&list=PLzcY-l6WXBK_kwkCqOSqJ9iYSB1hdyjmS
- Julia, personal communication, March 19, 2019
- Making Dual-Language Immersion Work [Video file]. (2015, June 5). Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j1UlcByWXNQ&index=9&t=0s&list=PLzcY-l6WXBK_kwkCqOSqJ9iYSB1hdyjmS
- Thomas, W. P., & Collier, V. P. (2017). What Else Do Policy Makers and Families Need to Know? In Why Dual Language Schooling (pp. 18,19). Author.
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