Posts Tagged ‘immersion education’

Speaking in Tongues – Watch it Online

The powerful documentary film, Speaking in Tongues, which follows four children in language immersion classrooms (Chinese and Spanish) in San Francisco, is streaming live through Friday on the PBS website. From PBS:

In a country where most states declare English as the official language, Speaking in Tongues turns the issue on its head and explores how bilingualism can be a national resource. Following four students involved in an educational experiment designed to make them bilingual and biliterate, the film questions rote debates about immigration, assimilation, globalization, and what it means to be American in the 21st century.

You can watch it here (even with Mandarin subtitles). It is also showing on PBS stations around the country, check the schedule.

The filmmakers have also set up an excellent website and a blog about language and immersion education. A number of local organizations are hosting free screenings as well so check the film’s site for ones near you.

 

Jon Stewart on “Socialism Studies”

For many of us who live in the Bay Area, southern California can seem like a foreign country. I was reminded of this while reading about the debates now raging in Hacienda Heights over funding for a Chinese language program in a middle school there. (Read more about the debate here.) In short, opponents claim the program, which is partially funded by the Chinese government, will brainwash children with Communist dogma. In a way that only he can, Jon Stewart takes on the debate:

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c
Socialism Studies
www.thedailyshow.com
Daily Show Full Episodes Political Humor Tea Party
 

More resources for bilingual families

I just discovered that Multilingual Living (which I have linked to before) has a new website, which is a very inviting, useful resource with all kinds of information about raising bi- or multilingual children. That site in turn led to to another new site, Multilingual Mania, which includes personal stories, new research, book and movie reviews and more about raising bilingual children. On this site, I found a clip of the documentary Speaking in Tongues , which explores, “the provocative notion that being bilingual can be a national asset.” This clip focuses on a Chinese (Cantonese) classroom in San Francisco to show how language immersion works and the benefits of an immersion education.

For those in San Francisco, the Excelsior Branch Library will be showing the full movie tomorrow, May 26. For more information see here.

[This post is cross-posted at Bay Area Mama.)

 

Learning in Chinese

East Bay Express, our local free weekly, has published a very nice article about my son’s Mandarin immersion school here in the Bay Area. It gives a good picture of how an immersion classroom works and why full immersion is really the best way for children to learn a second language. I recommend the article, whether or not you are local, as it’s an interesting read for anyone thinking about teaching or learning languages.

 

International Schools Popular Despite Economy

The gloomy economy is not stopping parents living abroad from investing in International Schools, the New York Times reports. In China alone, the numbers are remarkable:

In China, international school enrollments rose to 104,717 students in May from 91,807 a year earlier and just 7,268 nine years ago.

Read the full article here.

Meanwhile, in the U.S., Chinese language schools are popping up all over the place. When I was growing up in Western Massachusetts, we barely had a Chinese restaurant in town, much less a Chinese immersion school, like the town of Hadley now does. M and MX found a local news video about the school:

 

Summer Days

With school almost out for the year, here, belatedly, is a list of Mandarin summer camps and language programs around the country, from Child Book. The Mandarin Immersion Parents Council has also published a list of camps in the San Francisco Bay Area. Happy Summer!

 

Full immersion

Looking for something else entirely online today, I came across this blog, written by a mother in Shanghai who is sending her four-year-old to a local Chinese school. It gives an interesting and entertaining perspective on a very different Chinese immersion experience. From her introduction:

The handful of foreigners, like me, who choose to put their kids in local schools are – like the first generation immigrants in the West- being guided by our kids into a deep cultural immersion that we ourselves will never achieve. We follow our children – who are our probes and translators – trying to keep up as best we can.

We are also at the cutting edge of an increasingly heated debate over global education. What is the right balance between rote learning and creativity? How much homework and discipline is too much? How much not enough? How much free time should children be allowed? Is pressure and high expectations good or bad for kids? Which system – Eastern or Western – will best prepare our children for the highly competitive future that they must face?

This blog is dedicated to tracking this cultural immersion and to our own — highly personal — engagements with these debates.

She writes frequently with sometimes hilarious anecdotes about her son’s experiences (such as, being the only blond-haired child in a class happily singing, ‘I have black hair, I have black eyes, I am a Chinese baby.’) that give unique insight into Chinese society and language learning.

For more on Chinese education, Howard Gardner’s Learning Chinese Style is a classic. The Chinese Lessons blog posts it in its entirety.

Also, on the same topic, our Robin’s Nest columnist wrote an article about her visit to a pre-school in Tianjin in 1999. These photos are from her visit.
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Robin’s Nest: What is the teacher’s role in a language immersion classroom?

Editor’s Note: I have asked Robin, a long-time bilingual educator, to write an occasional column for Hao Mama to provide another perspective for parents considering immersion education or just looking for advice on how to create a bilingual environment at home. Here’s her second installment (The first installment can be read here):

==
ROBIN’S NEST
“A bird does not sing because it has an answer.
It sings because it has a song.”
- Chinese Proverb

Notes From Inside One Early Childhood Language Immersion Classroom

What is the teacher’s role in a language immersion classroom?

It is ironic that all the non-verbal teaching techniques are the ones that most successfully promote excellent language acquisition in a language immersion program. It will be most helpful to give you some examples of what this means.
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Mandarin Immersion Parents Council blog

I just discovered that the Mandarin Immersion Parents Council of the San Francisco public school system keeps a blog, which has a lot of good information and resources for families in immersion programs. Most of the site focuses on the immersion program in San Francisco, which is offered at two public schools. But one post, Mandarin Immersion Frequently Asked Questions, I found useful for anyone with questions about bilingual education and how to best teach your children Chinese. Another post explores the benefits of teaching kids to read Chinese fluently before teaching them characters. They have also posted a list of Mandarin immersion programs in schools throughout the U.S. Immersion programs are getting to be more and more popular: A new Chinese immersion charter school is getting ready to open in Washington DC as well.

 

Robin’s Nest: Notes From Inside One Early Childhood Language Immersion Classroom

I have asked Robin, a long-time bilingual educator, to write an occasional column for Hao Mama to provide another perspective for parents considering immersion education or just looking for advice on how to create a bilingual environment at home. Here’s her first installment:

==
ROBIN’S NEST
“A bird does not sing because it has an answer.
It sings because it has a song.”
- Chinese Proverb

Notes From Inside One Early Childhood Language Immersion Classroom

What is an immersion classroom like?

Imagine yourself to be four-years-old. Get down on your knees and enter the classroom. What does it look like to you? Can you navigate yourself around and reach everything and wash your hands or find a book, find the bathroom or take a puzzle out and know where to put it away? Do you see your name? Do you see where you can put your lunch box?Are you attracted to look or touch or discover something in this room? Do you feel safe and happy? Every year as I prepared my classroom for the school year this is what I did. It is the best way to know immediately what the children will sense when they enter.
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