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Summer Institutes for Immersion Teachers

November 21, 2015

Summer Institutes for Immersion Teachers

CARLA (Center for Advanced Research on Language Acquisition) offers these popular institutes that are designed specifically for immersion educators (K–12) and immersion program leaders:

Character Literacy Development in Mandarin ImmersionNEW!
June 20-24, 2016
Presenters: Tara Fortune, Luyi Lien, Haomin Zhang
Participants in this new institute will learn research-based methods of moving their Mandarin immersion learners towards more fluent character processing and text comprehension.

Immersion 101: An Introduction to Immersion Teaching
July 11-15, 2016
Presenters: Tara Fortune and a team of veteran immersion teachers
This institute provides novice immersion teachers with the tools and information they need to survive and thrive in the immersion classroom. The institute offers two teacher sessions simultaneously and an expanded 3-day session for administrators of immersion education programs.

Meeting the Challenges of Immersion Education: Teacher Collaboration for Integrating Language and Content in Grades 5–12NEW! 

July 18-22, 2016
Presenter: Roy Lyster
At this new institute, pairs of middle and high school immersion teachers who work with the same students will explore ways to collaborate on integrating language and content in their immersion programs.

More information is available on the CARLA website at:

Registration will open on January 8, 2016.
To request a copy of a print brochure you can email the CARLA office at:

The institutes have been developed and are offered with the support, in part, of the U.S. Department of Education’s Title VI Language Resource Center program. The summer institutes are co-sponsored by the University of Minnesota’s College of Education and Human Development and College of Liberal Arts.

If you’re in California, are your teachers going to this conference?

November 17, 2015

The ACTFL conference is one of the big language learning conferences of the year and there are lots of workshops focused on immersion. It’s in San Diego this year, so if your schools is nearby, hopefully someone’s going.


November 20-22, 2015
San Diego, California (Pre-convention workshops, November 19)


The American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) Annual Convention and World Languages Expo provides you with an amazing educational journey. Join your colleagues from around the world for this incredible learning experience. You will have the option to choose from more than 700 educational sessions in a variety of formats covering a wide spectrum of the language profession. Visit with more than 250 exhibiting companies showcasing the latest products and services for you and your students. The ACTFL Convention is an international event bringing together more than 6,000 language educators from all languages, levels and assignments. Thought-provoking speakers will inspire you, innovative formats will keep you engaged, and smart practices will allow you to transform your classroom.

– See more at:



For example, here’s one:

Characterizing Mandarin Immersion Learner Language: A Fine-Grained Analysis

Sunday, November 22
8:00-9:00 AM
San Diego Convention Center, Room 26A

This session examines research findings on the median oral language proficiency levels attained by 277 Mandarin immersion students in three early total programs. Presenters will also share their analysis of three students’ learner language in terms of complexity, accuracy and fluency and discuss implications for program design and implementation.
Session Presenters: Tara Fortune (CARLA, University of Minnesota), Zhongkui Ju (CARLA, University of Minnesota), Molly Wieland (XinXing Academy, Hopkins Public Schools), and Ping Peng (Minnetonka Public Schools)

Have your teachers send in papers

November 17, 2015

Sixth International Conference on Immersion and Dual Language Education:

Connecting Research and Practice Across Contexts

October 20–22, 2016
Hyatt Regency Hotel
Minneapolis, MN

Immersion and dual language education continue to evolve as highly effective program models for launching students on the road to bi- and multilingualism and intercultural competence. School-based immersion, bilingual, and dual language programs involve a minimum of 50% subject-matter schooling through a second, world, heritage, or indigenous language at the preschool and elementary levels (PreK–5/6). Secondary or post-secondary continuation programs for elementary immersion/dual language graduates include a minimum of two subject courses.

Program models include:

  • One-Way Second/Foreign Language Immersion
  • Co-Official/Regional Language Immersion
  • Two-Way Bilingual Immersion
  • One-Way Developmental Bilingual Education
  • Indigenous Language Immersion

While each model targets distinct sociocultural contexts and educational needs, all embrace language, literacy, and culture development through subject-matter learning with a high degree of language intensity. Under the leadership of the Center for Advanced Research on Language Acquisition (CARLA), University of Minnesota, the  Sixth International Conference on Immersion and Dual Language Education will bring these models together to engage in research-informed dialogue and professional exchange across languages, levels, learner audiences, and contexts.


Conference Speakers

  • Ellen BialystokYork University, Toronto, Canada
  • Patricia C. GándaraUniversity of California – Los Angeles, USA
  • Tina M. HickeyUniversity College Dublin, Ireland
  • Patsy LightbownConcordia University, Montreal, Canada
  • Teresa L. McCarty, University of California – Los Angeles, USA

Call for Proposals is now open!

Submit your proposal for the Immersion 2016 Conference. Full details are available on the Call for Proposals webpage.
The deadline is Feb 1, 2016. 

More Information


Conference Planning Committee

Conference Planning Committee Co-Chairs
Diane J. Tedick, University of Minnesota
Roy Lyster, McGill University

Conference Planning Committee Members 
Siv Björklund, University of Vaasa
Teresa Carranza, Madison Metropolitan School District
Lisa Dorner, University of Missouri-Columbia
Helga Fasciano, NC Department of Public Instruction
Tara Fortune, University of Minnesota
Liz Hathaway Castelán, Saint Paul Public Schools
Xiao Liu, Delaware Department of Education
Brian McInnes, University of Minnesota-Duluth
Mandy Menke, University of Minnesota
Deborah Palmer, University of Texas-Austin
Ping Peng, Minnetonka Public Schools
Isabelle Punchard, Edina Public Schools
Nadja Trez, NC Department of Public Instruction
Ofelia Wade, Utah State Office of Education

Conference Administrative Team
Marlene Johnshoy, Technology Coordinator
Liz Hellebuyck, Program Associate
Karin Larson, CARLA Coordinator
Erin Szabo, Graduate Assistant

Conference Sponsors
The conference is sponsored by the Center for Advanced Research on Language Acquisition (CARLA) at the University of Minnesota with partial funding from the U.S. Department of Education’s Title VI Language Resource Center program.

Bilinguals Have Better College Outcomes, Job Advantages: New Study

November 15, 2015

Children of immigrants who can speak, read and write in both English and the language spoken at home have an advantage in the labor market, a new report released Tuesday finds.

The report by the Civil Rights Project at UCLA and the Educational Testing Service, a nonprofit testing organization, shows that individuals with immigrant backgrounds who only speak English and don’t retain the language spoken at home lose between $2,000 and $5,000 annually.

In contrast, those with immigrant backgrounds who know both English and the language spoken at home—also known as “balanced bilinguals”—are more likely to earn more money than those who only speak English. They are also more likely to graduate from high school, go on to college, enter higher status occupations and have more social networks.

“Being able to speak another language and being able to communicate with folks across cultural borders turns out to be very important in our modern world,” Patricia Gándara, the report’s author, said during a webinar Tuesday.

Please see more here.

In San Francisco? Got a Kindergartner or First Grader and want Mandarin immersion?

November 14, 2015

Starr KingOpenings in SFUSD’s Mandarin Immersion Program

San Francisco Unified School District’s Mandarin Immersion program is a unique opportunity for students to not only learn Mandarin, but learn in Mandarin.  SFUSD’s Mandarin Immersion program launched in 2006 with two kindergarten classes at Starr King Elementary School, and a year later, a third kindergarten class was added at Jose Ortega Elementary School.  Today, almost a decade later, the Mandarin Immersion program has been extended to include middle school at Aptos and high school at Lincoln.
Families interested in the Mandarin Immersion program are encouraged to apply for potential openings at Starr King and Jose Ortega during both Spring and Fall transfer periods.  No previous Mandarin exposure or background is necessary for students transferring in January or August, in either kindergarten or first grade.

Because families move during the school year and over the summer, its typical for openings to pop up at various times.  So even if the Mandarin Immersion classes start out full at the beginning of the year, and even if your child did not get into either Starr King or Jose Ortega at the beginning of the school year, you are still encouraged to submit a Spring or Fall transfer request.

The deadline to apply for Spring (January) transfer is November 18, 2015.  To apply for Spring (January) transfer, submit an application, in person, to the Educational Placement Center at 555 Franklin Street, Room 100.  The Spring transfer application can be found here:  More information about the Spring transfer process can be found here:

The deadline to apply for Fall (August) transfer is January 15, 2016.  To apply, submit an application, in person, to the Educational Placement Center at 555 Franklin Street, Room 100  The application can be found here:  More information about new-school-year transfers can be found here:

IMPORTANT – If you miss these formal deadlines, but are still interested in Mandarin Immersion, you are still encouraged to submit an application to the Educational Placement Center, at any time.  Again, families move out of the district at various times during the year, so it does not hurt to let EPC know of your family’s interest in Mandarin Immersion.



對沈浸式雙語教學方式有意之家長們,歡迎向學校Starr King及Jose Ortega於春季或秋季二學期期間提出轉學申請。

轉學申請截止日期:春季班入學: 2015年11月18日。

秋季班入學: 2016年1月15日。




对沈浸式双语教学方式有意之家长们,欢迎向学校Starr KingJose Ortega于春季或秋季二学期期间提出转学申请。

转学申请截止日期:春季班入学: 20151118日。

秋季班入学: 2016115

Traditional versus simplified characters?

November 13, 2015

A nice essay by a Mandarin-speaking parent (with a great blog!) on the issues around choosing between Traditional and Simplified characters.

For most people it’s a moot point because you basically go with whatever your local Mandarin immersion school teaches and that’s the end of it, At this point, about 75% teach simplified, the rest Traditional.

But useful for the non-Chinese speakers among us to have a sense of the broader issues, because it’s sure to come up at a PTA meeting at some point. Someone will raise their hand and say, “I just wondered if we could revisit how our school came to teach (insert Traditional or Simplified here) characters and whether we’d like to appoint a committee to further discuss the matter.”

At that point, you should run screaming from the room…


Screen Shot 2015-11-13 at 2.12.58 PM

For those of you who do not know, there is a raging debate within the Chinese community about whether Traditional or Simplified characters are better and why. Some of it is due to political ideology, some based on preference, and some based on practicality. If you are really curious, may I suggest to you this link.

It will be no surprise to many of you that I preferred Traditional Characters – and staunchly. However, as much as I personally prefer Traditional characters, that doesn’t necessarily follow that I think your child should learn Traditional. (Of course, it would benefit me if more folks chose Traditional because then there would be more materials easily available in the US, but that is an entirely different topic and not altogether germane to this particular discussion.)

In true fact, my opinion on what people should choose has changed greatly. I find that the further along I am on this journey of teaching my kids to be literate in Chinese, the more nuanced and pragmatic my opinion becomes.

Please read more here.

Portland study: Kids in immersion about a year ahead of non-immersion students

November 12, 2015

Study: Portland Immersion Students Become Better Readers, English Speakers

Students in Portland’s language immersion programs become better readers than their counterparts in other schools, according to a new study called “Study of Dual-Language Immersion in the Portland Public Schools.”The RAND Corporation and the American Councils for International Education compared language immersion students with other Portland students from 2004 through 2014.

Key Finding No. 1:  Students randomly assigned to immersion outperformed their peers in English reading by about seven months in fifth grade and nine months in eighth grade.

Ten percent of students in Portland Public Schools are in language immersion programs. The programs are in a quarter of district schools, with potentially more on the way.

Michael Bacon, assistant director of Portland’s dual-language programs, said the data show a statistically significant advantage in reading by fifth grade for students in language immersion programs.

“Conservatively, it’s almost nine months – like a full school year of increased outcomes for kids,” Bacon said. “It’s across the board, whether if you’re an English-only kid, or a Spanish speaker, or a speaker of the partner language.”

Please click here to read, and listen, to the story.


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