Language Immersion

Phil Ting's picture

San Francisco Unified has one huge advantage over private schools - language immersion.  Most private schools are smaller, so they can only offer one foreign language to their students.  Language immersion programs may be the savior for SF public schools.  Currently, SFUSD offers Spanish, Korean, Japanese, Cantonese and Mandarin immersion programs.  They are all very popular and have been successful.  So why doesn't every school have an immersion program?  Most other countries have foreign language curriculum starting in elementary school - we should as well.  If we want our children to be able to compete in a 21st Century economy then they need to learn another foreign language to be able to participate in the world economy.

Zaquex's picture

Spreading Faster

It's not just West Portal anymore, it's all of SF. Not only that SF's immersion programs have set the standard more many other cities.

http://articles.sfgate.com/2009-09-26/news/17205091_1_chinese-immersion-immersion-programs-maryland-foreign-language-center

Phil Ting's picture

SF is leading the way but we need to do more

We can expand our program to include other languages such as Vietnamese, Russian, Tagalog and French to name a few.  These are the most spoken languages at home after the initial list of languages.  Every graduate of SFUSD should speak two languages minimum.  In order to be part of the global economy, we are all going to have to learn languages and cultures.

bobbyh's picture

Language=cultural understanding

I 100% agree.  Learning a language involves much more than just learning the words and grammar of another people's way of communication, it entails learning who they are as a people, what their traditions are and a general understanding of the entire culture.  In a city that leads the way in terms of tolerance and diversity, it only seems natural that SF also become a model for language immersion programs and keep pushing to do more.

In fact, why not require language requirements throughout our public school systems, including our state school system and the UC's?  I can think of few better ways to prepare students for a globalized world than by opening their eyes to another language/culture.  Odds are they will not only learn and appreciate that particular culture more, but they will also be more open to other cultures in general throughout their lives. 

mattgould's picture

I'd like to see Hindi in

I'd like to see Hindi in classrooms (India is expected to become the most populace country in the world by 2025-30).

Another idea: with Internet access and programs like Skype, we could pair students in San Francisco with students in other countries who are learning English. Like a pen pal, but they converse in English for a period of time, then switch to whatever language it is that the SF student is studying. This connects students from around the world, compliments learning (language and culture) and makes learning a foreign language a social experience.

gcotter's picture

First learn English, then learn another language.

Immersion language education does work and is valid for the 21st century, but first students need to learn English.  Students should not be placed in any language immersion classes other than English until they can demonstrate a proficiency in English.

Paid for by Phil Ting for Assembly 2012. FPPC ID# 1343137