International Opinion

Utah: Pioneers in Language Immersion

By Anthony Jackson — December 01, 2011 1 min read
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I want to continue with the theme of world languages, specifically focusing on Utah’s dual immersion programs, which are among the best in the country.

Support for language learning has been strong for many years. As stated by Gregg Roberts, World Languages Specialist for the Utah State Office of Education, “Utah is a small state, so for us, economic development and participation in the global community are vital. With this in mind, we realized that developing global citizens is a requirement for Utah students. For its future economic success in the twenty-first century, Utah needs a global workforce that is multilingual.”

In 2007, the Utah legislature funded the Critical Languages Program to support the growth of Chinese dual immersion programs across the state. Support has also been provided for K-12 dual immersion programs focusing on Spanish, Chinese, or French. In 2010, over fifty of these programs existed in the state with a goal to have over 100 dual immersion programs by 2015. One example, Eagle Bay Elementary school in Farmington, Utah, is a K-6 school catering to almost 1,000 students in a Spanish dual immersion environment. Consistently scoring above the district average, the school serves as a model to other programs in the state, receiving visits from more than thirty schools per year.

As you can see in the state’s new video showcasing the immersion programs, parents, teachers, members of the state school board and legislature, as well as the Governor are excited and supportive of the program. They realize the opportunities it will bring to the state to keep it economically competitive—not just with neighboring states, but with countries around the world.

On another note, the annual ACTFL convention just finished in Denver a couple of weeks ago. ACTFL released their vision for Alignment of the National Standards for Learning Languages with the Common Core State Standards. View this document and give feedback on their website.

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