Sunday, June 1, 2008

Dual Immersion

Hi there everyone,
Today I did quite a bit of reading out of Baker (2006) on different types of bilingual programs. I have to say that the number of different programs really amazed me, but what was even more interesting was the aims or goals behind each of them.
I kinda think that if we hold on to the idea of static maintenance, we are doing the students a great dis-service. We need to actively promote the development of linguistic diversity and cultural pluralism, if we want our students to take full advantage of all that they can be, linguistically, and socially. That is why I tend to favor 'dual immersion', in that languages are allowed to flourish along side each other and with various enrichment programs that help to support the child's experiences in language.
I did a quick search on Youtube under 'immersion education' and discovered a promotional video for a dual immersion school.
You can find it in a search on Youtube under 'Flowery Dual Immersion (part 1 & 2) I think the link is as follows...
It's kinda a promotional video for the school, but it covers many of the ideas that I read in Baker(2006), to do with immersion programs. Actually, it was great to see how a program actually works, as I am not involved in Bilingual education as such, here in Japan (more EFL SL learning).
I was particularly interested in the breakdown of percentages over the years of primary education. They start with 90/10 (Spanish/English) in kindergarten, but end with 50/50 in year 6. They introduce English literacy in the third grade (as with many of the articles I've read), and support with enrichment programs.
I am guessing that Spanish and English are languages that support each other (ie; more similar), but I wonder how a Japanese-English program might work, where the languages are very different in form.
Not only that, but Japanese seems to come from a very high~context culture (people tend to pick up clues from their surroundings and less is explained through words) and English low-context (tend to speak more). Would this provide added challenges?
In addition, the learning of Kanji (Chinese characters) may make the above percentages change, as the Japanese writing system is quite time intensive compared to English, at least initially.
Please watch the Youtube video, and tell me what you think...
Steven Mondy

Baker(2006), Foundations in Bilingual education and Bilingualism
Wikipedia, High context Culture,