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Utah Mandarin immersion starts to reach junior high school

May 22, 2019

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The state of Utah has the nation’s most comprehensive Mandarin immersion program, which is statewide and coordinated through the state Office of Education.  Here’s a story about one of it’s more than 28 junior high schools.

From: The Daily Universe


Utah junior high schools integrate language immersion students

Alana Holzer didn’t understand a word her teachers said on the first day of kindergarten. She stared in confusion as her teachers refused to answer her or any other students in her class using any language but Chinese. Now, eight years later and in seventh grade, Alana and her fellow Chinese immersion students are capable of discussing more complicated topics in their second language.

According to a case study by Yuan Cao of the Dominican University of California, the total immersion model was first implemented in 1965 in Canada. The study shows one of the most popular ways to approach immersion programs is what’s known as the 50-50 structure: students receive 50 percent of their daily instruction in their native language and 50 percent in their designated immersion language.

It is this 50-50 structure Alana and students across Utah have experienced since entering the immersion program in elementary school, an immersion model they cannot continue once reaching junior high.

Mueller Park Junior High principal Deanne Kapetanov said immersion students are given the option of taking two electives to continue their Chinese language education: an intense language course and a culture and media course. She said the attrition rate rises once the students reach junior high school, but the majority of the students continue with their immersion education and adjust well.

Please read more here.

And here’s a story about the history of Utah’s ten year experiment in immersion.

One Comment leave one →
  1. anonymous permalink
    February 13, 2020 2:43 pm

    Many facts in this article were made up. In the lower grades the Chinese teachers were very helpful in teaching the basics of the language. They would help students learn the vocabulary, and were not very strict about speaking English (opposite to what this article makes it seem like).

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