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So how does immersion work, anyway?

January 22, 2017

The folks at CARLA, the Center for Advanced Research on Language Acquisition in Minnesota have made a great video to show how it works and why it’s important.

Utah’s high school plans for immersion

January 21, 2017
For anyone with kids in Mandarin immersion, here’s a look at what a well-planned K-12 program can look like.

What happens with immersion in high school (in Utah)?

Some people have expressed confusion about what happens to dual language immersion students when they get to high school. There have been some very exciting developments over the past year and the purpose of this post is to explain the Utah State plan. We’ll discuss AP tests, college language courses taken in high school (for dual credit), and how this will impact Regents Scholarships (spoiler: it’s really good news!).

Please read more here.

The inventor of pinyin dies at 111

January 14, 2017

Zhou Youguang, Who Made Writing Chinese as Simple as ABC, Dies at 111

New York Times

Zhou Youguang, known as the father of Pinyin for creating the system of Romanized Chinese writing that has become the international standard since its introduction some 60 years ago, died on Saturday in Beijing, Chinese state media reported. He was 111.

In recent decades, with the comparative invincibility that he felt great age bestowed on him, Mr. Zhou was also an outspoken critic of the Chinese government.

“What are they going to do,” he asked bluntly in an interview with the BBC in 2012. “Come and take me away?”

Please read more here.

Eugene, Oregon votes for Mandarin immersion

January 12, 2017

The Eugene School ­District will offer a fifth language immersion program to its students beginning in the 2017-18 school year.

At its meeting Wednesday, the Eugene School Board unanimously voted to approve the district’s proposal to implement a K-12 Mandarin Chinese program.

But concerns about a split school location and equitable practices ­dominated the conversation about the future program.

The plan is to implement a Mandarin Chinese program in the Churchill High School region of the district, beginning at the Family School at Crest Elementary School. The school has four classrooms available, the district said.

Please read more here.

High school summer program in Shenzhen, China

January 10, 2017
International Partnerships in Education (IPIE.US) in cooperation with Hanbridge Mandarin are pleased to announce the 2017 International Language & Culture Camp in Shenzhen, China. The program is open to American and Chinese high school students.
The summer camp program consists of a 15-day on-campus immersion environment where the American and Chinese high school students will share equally in the camp experience. Students will live, learn, play, and participate in the cross-cultural activities together. An optional 3-day cultural tour of Beijing is available upon conclusion of the summer camp.
Each camp day will include foreign language instruction in the target language, educational cross-cultural lessons, and recreational activities designed to foster teamwork and trust. Instruction is provided by a dynamic international management team of certified and fully licensed American and Chinese educators. All camp activities are supported with the assistance of Chinese university students.

Could Seattle’s Mandarin immersion program be lost to budget cuts?

January 5, 2017

Seattle Public Schools are facing a $74 million shortfall next year. 

In a community forum on January 4, District Superintendent Larry Nyland said that certain programs may have to be cut.

None of the local papers seem to be writing about it, but the Seattle Schools Community Forum thankfully had someone there who posted this:

“He said beyond staff that things that are thought of as regular-type items in the district like “dual language and Options schools” might be on the chopping block.  I am baffled at this, both from a logistics point of view and given that the district has never really explained the extra expense from either type of program.”

You can read the full posting here.

Language immersion programs have been very popular in Seattle and have helped keep families in the district who otherwise might have left – a net gain in terms of funding.

They’re also not more expensive. In the comments period, one mom wrote:

The district can’t point to extra expenses for International schools because there aren’t any that they can find – they don’t have the data to back it up. I serve on the Immersion task force, that has been a question from day one, does Immersion cost more than regular neighborhood schools? If so how much and why? The district staff could not provide any data either way. It is a myth that SPS is providing all these extra things for Immersion schools.

Eugene Register-Guard in favor of Mandarin immersion

December 28, 2016

Interesting that Eugene had the first Japanese immersion program in the nation.  And surprising that they haven’t added one in a generation.  – Beth

Good time to add Chinese

Eugene School District plans Mandarin program

Dec. 28, 2016

The Eugene School District was a pioneer in providing language-immersion programs to public school students, but hasn’t added to its current set of offerings — French, Japanese and Spanish — in a generation. That will change if the Eugene School Board approves a proposal to launch a Mandarin Chinese program next year. The board should move ahead. A fourth language immersion program would correct an imbalance in the district, and there has never been a better time to add instruction in Mandarin.

A decade ago, the number of Mandarin language immersion programs in public school districts could be counted on one hand, according to Matthew Bacon, assistant director for the Department of Dual Languages in the Portland School District. One of these districts is in Portland, which started its first Mandarin school in 1998 and is preparing to open a third.

Today, Bacon says, more than 200 Mandarin immersion programs have opened in public schools nationwide — a “virtual tidal wave” that has brought with it an increase in the quantity and quality of teaching materials. At the same time, teacher training programs in Oregon and elsewhere have geared up to meet the demand for teachers who are proficient in Mandarin. The Eugene district was a trailblazer with its existing language immersion programs, and the Japanese program was the nation’s first — but with Mandarin, Eugene can benefit from others’ experience.

Please read more here.