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Old 01-21-2019, 04:32 PM
 
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I heard that more and more schools are offering foreign language education in elementary school nowadays. And in the form of fun rather than memorizations and tests. Particularly in areas where there is a significant number of people speaking a language other than English. I know that in parts of California, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Louisiana, Florida, and the North East there are plenty of neighborhoods like that.

I hear this is a vast improvement compared to the past where foreign language education was offered in some Middle Schools but is only a two year requirement in high school and its mostly about memorization of words and tests and not good for holding a conservation.

Anyone has experience they can share?
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Old 01-21-2019, 04:41 PM
 
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I live in between San Francisco and San Jose and my children aren't learning a foreign language in elementary school yet.

Unless you live near San Diego and even closer to the border, there's no need to speak another language, let's say Spanish, unless you WANT to. You'd have to make that effort yourself and go to Spanish-speaking neighborhoods so you get to practice listening and speaking it to people there. Either that, or move to Mexico or another Spanish-speaking country. If you stay in the USA, you'll just speak English because it's easier.

As far as schooling, when I was in junior high and high school, it was definitely memorizing vocabulary and learning grammar, but never speaking it. So we were learning to read and write Spanish, but never understanding it via listening. We finally had to speak it in 12th grade, and it was tape recorded so my Spanish teacher could listen to it and grade us, and it was insanely uncomfortable speaking a foreign language.

But there are some good teachers who force their students to speak it in class by getting into groups or forcing them to have a conversation with a native speaker. You just have to be lucky to get one of those teachers.
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Old 01-21-2019, 04:49 PM
 
Location: Aurora Denveralis
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My impression is that foreign language study, especially in public schools, has declined to the point of embarrassment. I'd be interested to see stats or hear validated stories to the contrary.
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Old 01-21-2019, 04:59 PM
 
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Not around here. The only thing offered is 1 year of Spanish in high school. If you want something else you have to go on line. One child did German on line. The other did one semester of on line German and one semester of in school Spanish. Neither learned anything they could actually use in college FL class.

Really we should have FL starting early in elementary and it should really be something other than the common French and Spanish. German, Japanese, Hindi, or Chinese. One of the languages that will be used in high tech commerce.
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Old 01-21-2019, 06:43 PM
 
Location: Wyoming
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I'm pretty sure that my granddaughters in Tucson (actually Vail, AZ) studied Spanish right from the start in public elementary. I thought it was a great idea, and that's precisely when they should start studying foreign language. If somebody wants I could text my daughter and get the specifics. The oldest graduates from high school this year and has attended Vail schools since kindergarten. I've got no idea if they've studied it every year or not.

My own kids studied Spanish here in Wyoming for 6 years, from 7th grade through high school. I think they both had straight As, but I was taking an intro Spanish class at the community college and asked my son about something in my homework. He couldn't answer the question. I was like, "WHAT? After 6 years you can't answer what I'm supposed to know after a month?"
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Old 01-21-2019, 06:44 PM
 
Location: Aurora Denveralis
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tnff View Post
Really we should have FL starting early in elementary and it should really be something other than the common French and Spanish. German, Japanese, Hindi, or Chinese. One of the languages that will be used in high tech commerce.
French and German are essentially useless languages unless the intent is to live or work in those countries or study their literature and culture to a high level.

No student in the US should be allowed to graduate without basic competence in Spanish.

International business languages should be offered by middle school.
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Old 01-21-2019, 10:04 PM
 
Location: Virginia
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In my district we have elementary language immersion programs. I teach in one of the language immersion schools. Mathematics, science, and health are taught in the target language (French, German, Japanese, Korean, or Spanish). Some schools are one-way immersion and others are two-way.

World Language (or One-Way) Immersion Program Model:
World Languages Immersion program classes are predominantly composed of students learning the target language. Elementary students are able to learn French, German, Japanese, and Spanish at seven elementary schools through the world language immersion program beginning in kindergarten or first grade.

Two-Way Immersion Program Model:
Two-Way Immersion program classes balance speakers and learners of the target language. Both student populations serve as peer language models during the respective language portion of the day to mutually benefit each group’s language acquisition process. Elementary students are able to learn Spanish and Korean at ten elementary schools through the two-way immersion program beginning in kindergarten.

Our local HS offers traditional world language classes in French, German, Spanish and ASL.
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Old 01-21-2019, 10:56 PM
 
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Definitely. In my area, foreign language has been offered in many districts for many years in elementary schools. Now, we have bilingual public schools in French, Hebrew, Spanish, Chinese, and Arabic. Computers have also improved oral/aural ability. Gone are the days with a language lab using tape recorders.

For the poster who said that Spanish is the only foreign language relevant in the US, I disagree. There are communities of French, Russian, Chinese, Korean, Arabic, and Bengali people where knowledge of those languages is a plus and can lead to job opportunities, especially Chinese and Arabic. That poster needs to get out more and visit some American urban areas.
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Old 01-21-2019, 11:01 PM
 
Location: San Josť, CA
3,052 posts, read 5,609,814 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sas318 View Post
I live in between San Francisco and San Jose and my children aren't learning a foreign language in elementary school yet.

Unless you live near San Diego and even closer to the border, there's no need to speak another language, let's say Spanish, unless you WANT to. You'd have to make that effort yourself and go to Spanish-speaking neighborhoods so you get to practice listening and speaking it to people there. Either that, or move to Mexico or another Spanish-speaking country. If you stay in the USA, you'll just speak English because it's easier.
Where in the Bay Area do you live that you feel that isolated from other languages? I don't speak Spanish tremendously well but I use it quite frequently here, and it's absolutely appreciated. Sometimes it's just the polite thing to do. So either you're unintentionally isolating yourself a little bit, you're eating at Outback Steakhouse way too much, or you're just missing opportunities for multicultural experiences.
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Old 01-21-2019, 11:08 PM
 
Location: Aurora Denveralis
4,856 posts, read 1,604,058 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by llowllevellowll View Post
Where in the Bay Area do you live that you feel that isolated from other languages? I don't speak Spanish tremendously well but I use it quite frequently here, and it's absolutely appreciated. Sometimes it's just the polite thing to do. So either you're unintentionally isolating yourself a little bit, you're eating at Outback Steakhouse way too much, or you're just missing opportunities for multicultural experiences.
I would have agreed about little need for Spanish away from the southwestern arc, until I relocated and spent six years plentifully surrounded by Spanish-speaking people, businesses and neighborhoods.

In rural Connecticut.
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