At Alpine Elementary in Utah, two first grade classes are participating in a new Chinese immersion program. The classes are taught for part of the day in Chinese, and then the other half of the day in English. The classes are flip flopped between two teachers to handle the two-part schedule. The classes can be taken through junior high and high school as well, giving children the opportunity to minor in Chinese at several different Utah universities. Professional translation may not be on these student’s minds right now, but once they reach high school, many different career options will be available to them because of their acquired language skills.
Immersion Classes Seem to Be Working Well
The classes are co-taught between the usual first grade teacher and a Chinese teacher along with a Chinese Speaking aide. The classes seem to be going well, and the children are following along in both classes. In as little as two months, the children are expected to be able to carry on a simple conversation, which is quite a feat for six and seven year olds. Chinese translation help is sent home so that parents will be able to help their children through their Chinese homework more easily, and the Chinese reader the students use is also available online for the parents as well.