Alhambra, NE of Los Angeles, adds Mandarin immersion
Dual Immersion Program at Alhambra Unified School District
January 26th, 2016 by Monrovia Weekly
By May S. Ruiz
There has been a sea change in the employment landscape in the past decade as evidenced by shifts in what is available to people looking for work. Some positions that today’s youth would one day fill might not even exist yet, or may be located in foreign countries.
The Alhambra Unified School District (AUSD) has been actively finding opportunities for its student population to be ready for 21st century job requirements. This fall, AUSD is rolling out its Dual Immersion Program to add to its slate of initiatives to make their students competitive in the global community.
Leading this charge is Jim Schofield, program director. He says, “Dual immersion is critical because future jobs could be in other parts of the globe. More and more, we do business with other countries, and knowledge of the local language is essential. An employee who can speak, read, and write in the dialect is much more valuable to the company.”
Schofield cites research to advance the case for dual immersion, “Although the majority of the world is bilingual, statistics show that only 17 percent of Americans speak another language; 56 percent of Europeans and 36 percent of Brits do. Being bilingual puts one on a higher tier in the American job market.
“Health-wise,” continues Schofield, “it protects one against diseases like dementia and Alzheimer’s. A 2012 study conducted by the University of California, San Diego, revealed that of the 44 elderly participants who could speak both Spanish and English, those with higher proficiency in both languages were less likely to have early onset of either disease. While it doesn’t necessarily mean that being bilingual is the magic cure-for-all, it may help keep diseases at bay longer. Besides, it makes for a more enriching cultural experience; and being able to communicate is the best feeling in the world.”
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