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Elementary School Foreign Language Programs: Keys to Success

A presentation given at the Magnet Schools of America Conference 2010. The theme of the conference was "Treasure It" and the strand of this presentation was "Mapping the Globe."

Jessica Haxhi

on 29 August 2010

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Transcript of Elementary School Foreign Language Programs: Keys to Success

Curriculum "What the Research Shows" about elementary language learning:
http://www.actfl.org/i4a/pages/index.cfm?pageid=3653 "What the research shows" about the benefits of language learning in general:
http://www.actfl.org/i4a/pages/index.cfm?pageid=4524 Why teach languages? gather community support units with meaning and purpose content culture comparisons real
communication communities fun! Why start early? The Effect of Second Language Learning on Test Scores, Intelligence and
Achievement: An Annotated Bibliography
http://www.uwyo.edu/fled/documents/FLAnnotatedBibliography.pdf Choose a language:
community wants
community needs
ability to articulate
teacher availability Choose a program:
Two-way immersion
Partial Immersion
FLES: content-related
FLES: content-based
FLEX The nine languages with the
estimated largest numbers of
native speakers in the world,
according to SIL Ethnologue,
2005, www.ethnologue.com
Downloaded from
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Native_speakers_in_the_World.jpg Schedule sensibly for students and teachers:
at least every other day
at least 20 minutes per lesson
same grade levels kept together
preparation time for teachers
travel time for teachers
extra time in the first year Find a Teacher Standards for
Foreign Language
Learning Backwards Design
"start with the
end in mind" a strong ship Where to
have classes? Adjusting the Sails Staying on Course Staying Afloat (for the long term) Assessment Instruction Advocacy Program Design linked to
national and
state standards defined by standardized may contain
options regular
to students progress
to parents State World Language
Standards Technology
for students
and teachers make it fun Lots
of culture Lots of
content stay in the
language Information Parents Students Colleagues Administrators Community Teacher Professional
Development ACTFL Conference
NECTFL Conference, SWCOLT, etc.
State Language Conferences
Magnet School Conferences Participation in
Listservs: FLteach,
language-specific participation
in PLC's in school regular
with local
teachers observing
teachers strong teacher = strong program accurate, interesting, efficient Special Events maintain the excitement Lunch with
the Senseis cultural
festivals international
festivals international
conferences Parent
Week Discover
Events opportunities
to travel and
practice language Trips to the
Country(ies) ACTFL Proficiency Scale (7th -adult)
ACTFL Performance Guidelines (K-12)
SOPA Scale (PreK-6)
Check for state scales/guidelines
Common European Framework of Reference for Languages Linguafolio
Linguafolio, Jr. performance scales decide: report card or progress report? What grade to begin? secure funding federal grant
programs private
grants community
grants Budget
teacher salary
teacher benefits
consumable materials
other materials
technology Foreign Languages
Assistance Program
"FLAP" with a purpose math science social studies language arts music art physical education Create units with
connections can guide brainstorming
for instruction http://maloneyjapanese.wikispaces.com/World+Language+Teachers "can do"
statements STARTALK
Grant Program Arabic, Chinese, Urdu, Hindi, and Persian Elementary School
Foreign Language
Programs Keys to a
Voyage Jessica Haxhi
Maloney Interdistrict Magnet School
Waterbury, Connecticut Build a Strong Ship

Stay the Course

Adjust the Sails

Stay Afloat Program Design

High Quality Instruction


Advocacy All of the links referred to in this presentation are available at…
http://ctworldlanguagesk8.wikispaces.com/ProgramAdvocacy strong
skills creative self-starter outgoing current but don't
stop at that... life-long learner flexible This person must understand the continuum that is language learning as well as the continuum of child development. This person will create materials, write curriculum, develop assessments, interact with parents, make websites, collaborate with colleagues, plan large events, and probably talk to the media. This person must be able to
speak, read, and write in the
language, as well as sing, play
games, over-act, be silly, laugh,
guide students through the culure,
teach other subject area content, and
that language and culture

Language learning correlates with higher academic achievement on standardized test measures.

Language learning is beneficial to both monolingual English and English language learners in bilingual and two-way immersion programs.

Language learning is beneficial in the development of students’ reading abilities.

There is evidence that language learners transfer skills from one language to another.

There is a correlation between second language learning and increased linguistic awareness.

There is a correlation between language learning and students’ ability to hypothesize in science.

Language learning can benefit all students.

There is a correlation between young children’s second language development and the development of print awareness.

Heritage learners who use their language skills to interpret and translate for family members experience higher academic performance and greater self-efficacy.

There is a correlation between language study and higher scores on the SAT and ACT Tests.

There is a correlation between high school foreign language study and higher academic performance at the college level.

How does language learning provide cognitive benefits to students?

There is evidence that early language learning improves cognitive abilities.

There is evidence bilingualism correlates with increased cognitive development and abilities.

There is a correlation between bilingualism and the offset of age-related cognitive losses.

There is a correlation between bilingualism and attentional control on cognitive tasks.

There is a correlation between bilingualism and intelligence.

There is a correlation between bilingualism and metalinguistic skills.

There is a correlation between bilingualism and memory skills.

There is a correlation between bilingualism and problem solving ability.

There is a correlation between bilingualism and improved verbal and spatial abilities.

Find out more about the benefits of language learning by investigating these resources.

Find out more about the benefits of bilingualism by investigating these reviews of the literature.

How does language learning affect attitudes and beliefs about language learning and about other cultures?

Click on the statement to review the specific studies that support this claim

Research suggests that language learners develop a more positive attitude toward the target language and/or the speakers of that language.

Helpful Resources on the topic of attitudes and foreign language learning.


Thanks to Amanda Kibler and Sandy Philipose, Graduate Research Assistants of Guadalupe Valdés at Stanford University, for assisting in the compilation of these studies.

This information is not designed to provide a comprehensive review of the research studies available but instead has been compiled to provide support for the benefits of language learning. Some examples from the ACTFL website:

Andrade, C. et al. (1989). Two languages for all children: Expanding to low achievers and the handicapped. In K. E. Muller (Ed.), "Languages in elementary schools" (pp. 177-203). New York: The American Forum.

Describes student performance in the Cincinnati Foreign Language Magnet Program. These children score well above anticipated national norms in both reading and mathematics and higher than the average of all magnet school participants, despite the fact that they represent a broad cross-section of the Cincinnati community.

Johnson, C.E., Flores, J.S., & Ellison, F.P. (1963). The effect of foreign language instruction on basic learning in elementary schools. "Modern Language Journal, 47," 8-11.

Performance on Iowa Test of Basic Skills was compared for fourth-graders receiving 20 minutes per day of audio-lingual Spanish instruction and similar students receiving no Spanish instruction. No significant loss in achievement in other subjects was found; the experimental group showed greater achievement in reading, vocabulary, and comprehension.

Nespor, H.M. (1971). "The effect of foreign language learning on expressive productivity in native oral language." (p. 682). DA, 31 (02-A) University of California, Berkeley.

Foreign language learning in Grade 3 is shown to increase expressive oral productivity in pupils' native languages. An example from the above document, prepared by Elizabeth L. Webb

Saunders, C. M. (1998). The Effect of the Study of a Foreign Language in the
Elementary School on Scores on the Iowa Test Of Basic Skills and an Analysis of
Student-participant Attitudes and Abilities. Unpublished dissertation, University of

Saunders specifically examined the performance of third grade students enrolled in the
Georgia Elementary School Foreign Language Model Program. She compared students
who had not received any foreign language instruction with students one year younger
who had received four years of instruction, five days each week, for thirty minutes per
day. She found those students in the ESFL program scored significantly higher on the
Math portion of the ITBS than the older students had scored. They also performed better
on the Reading portion, but the difference was not statistically significant. HIGHLY
QUALIFIED standards-based
curriculum 16 years and counting! View the presentation online at
http://prezi.com/rgnwc5rutrwo/ SURVEYS COMMITTEES FUND-
RAISING If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head.
If you talk to a man in his language, that goes to his heart.

Nelson Mandela - Former President of South Africa
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