Thursday, January 11, 2007

NNELL Winter 07 E-Notes

National Network
for early Language Learning E-Notes Winter 2007

On the National Front
Parent and School Support Makes Outstanding FLES Program Possible in Fairfax County, VA Schools across the country are looking for ways to introduce foreign language instruction to students at younger ages. One county whose world language offerings really stand out from the crowd is Fairfax County, Virginia. Eleven languages are offered: American Sign Language, Arabic, Japanese, Chinese, Korean, French, Latin, German, Russian, Italian, and Spanish. Fairfax has had immersion schools since 1989 and has 13 immersion programs currently. FLES (Foreign Language in Elementary Schools) programs were started in the late 90s. Paula Patrick, Foreign Language Coordinator, tells us that the county has proposed introduction of foreign language in 137 elementary schools. A task force advised starting with 24 schools to be phased in gradually, utilizing 12 part-time teachers. These teachers will move up from 1st grade to 2nd grade in the next year, and so on. The county will need approximately 189 teachers for the program when all is done. Fairfax County is fortunate to be near the nation’s capital, where there are many potential language teachers available. A program is being developed with local universities to support better preparation for teachers of elementary foreign language. Virginia gives a Pre-K through 12 teaching license based on course work completed in the language, or the candidate can take the Oral Proficiency Interview to demonstrate ability in the language to get an endorsement. Also, visit the National Capital Language Resource center website newsletter main page that contains additional resources for teachers at: at: Note: NNELL is pleased to announce that Paula Patrick will be serving on the NNELL Executive board as Vice President 2006-2008!
Foreign language classes for the toddler set The younger children are when they learn a foreign language, the better their chances of proficiency say a New York University professor. In affluent suburbs nationwide, parents are sending preschool-aged children to immersion programs and bilingual play groups to give them a head start on learning Chinese, Spanish and other languages The New York Times (free registration) (9/30)

Tips for a Better Parent-School Relationship
Here are 10 recommendations for better relations from educators and school-savvy parents.
The Importance of “Plurilingualism”
The following link will take you to a recent report of the British National Centre for Languages, which speaks to the importance of developing abilities in many languages in their society.
Vilnius launches 'language buses' A plan to teach people foreign languages while they travel is starting in the Lithuanian capital, Vilnius. The so-called "language buses" will play useful phrases in Lithuanian, Polish and English in an attempt to encourage people to learn new skills. The project is being funded by the European Commission. It will also be coming to buses, trams and trains all over the European Union by the end of 2006. In Hamburg, Turkish as well as English will be played on the underground; trains in Milan will play Spanish to commuters; and bus passengers in Malta and Romania can learn Italian while they are on the road. On Vilnius' trolleybuses they say one year is enough time for them to teach people how to introduce themselves, ask for directions, and - eventually - to ask if they can get off the bus. BBC News.
Foreign languages online in the UKTeens at 50 U.K. schools can choose from among 30 foreign languages and prepare for the corresponding General Certificate of Secondary Education exams on their own time, thanks to a pilot program that uses online instruction packages created by U.S. company Rosetta Stone. The initiative hopes to reverse a recent decline in the number of students studying foreign languages. The Independent (London)
British report likely to urge primaries to teach languages A British government report is expected to press for foreign language training in all primary schools and a curriculum that makes such study more engaging for secondary students. The report likely will not recommend the reversal of a controversial 2004 decision that made foreign languages optional for students beginning at age 14. The Times (London) 12/14/06


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