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Dual language immersion is best of both worlds

November 8, 2013

HOWARD STEPHENSON: Dual language immersion is best of both worlds

Utah’s dual language immersion program gives elementary students the chance to become fluent in traditional languages as well as critical languages such as Mandarin Chinese. The first schools to begin dual immersion now have fifth-graders in the program.By: Howard Stephenson, Grand Forks Herald

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DRAPER, Utah — For an additional annual cost of just $33 per student, tens of thousands of Utah students are becoming truly bilingual.

Throughout the United States, public schools traditionally have focused on teaching foreign languages to middle and high school students. As a result, second language fluency has been, at best, modest.

Brain researchers have learned that acquiring a second language as an adolescent or adult is significantly more challenging than learning the language as a child because the child’s brain has more language plasticity. Consequently, children pick up a second language more quickly, do not have an English accent in the second language and do not have to mentally translate between English and the second language.

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