Monday, May 17, 2004

Model Early Foreign Language Programs: Key Elements

Model Early Foreign Language Programs: Key Elements. What makes for a good elementary foreign language program? This essay has some ideas.

From the site:

Schools and school districts across the United States are establishing and expanding foreign language programs. Although most programs are found at the secondary school level, an increasing number are being established in elementary schools. A survey by the Center for Applied Linguistics indicates that 31% of U.S. elementary schools are offering foreign language instruction, up from 22% a decade ago (Rhodes & Branaman, 1999).

In the late 1990s, the U.S. Department of Education funded an effort to identify early foreign language programs that could serve as models for schools or districts interested in establishing or enhancing early-start, long-sequence foreign language programs. Seven model programs were identified through a nomination and selection process informed by the national standards for foreign language education and by research on effective language instruction for elementary and middle school students (Curtain & Pesola, 1994; National Standards in Foreign Language Education Project, 1999). The programs selected met specified criteria in the areas of curriculum, outcomes, ongoing evaluation, coordination with content areas, articulation from elementary to secondary school, accessibility, student diversity, professional development opportunities, and community support. Although the seven programs represent a range of program models and instructional strategies, they had a number of critical elements in common. This digest describes these elements, which are deemed key to the long-term success of early foreign language programs.

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