Printer Friendly

A TALE OF TEACHING TWO LANGUAGES ENGLISH-SPANISH IMMERSION PROGRAM COULD SPAWN ARMENIAN VERSION.

Byline: Alex Dobuzinskis Staff Writer

GLENDALE - As she teaches Edison Elementary School kindergartners about the five senses, Susana Arevalo speaks Spanish.

She describes corn dogs as something you can taste, when a kindergartner blurts out in English that he doesn't want a corn dog. Another one says in English, ``Corn dogs have hair on them.''

As always, Arevalo sticks with Spanish in her response, assuring the kids corn dogs aren't hairy.

The students aren't supposed to know she speaks English. Otherwise, the English-speakers would expect her to translate lessons into their language, and they wouldn't learn Spanish.

The educational approach is part of a 3-year-old program at Edison called dual immersion. It has 60 students in kindergarten through second grade, and as the older students progress, administrators want to continue it at least to sixth grade.

``It's open to anyone who says, `I want my child to have mastery in more than just English. I want my child to be fluent in Spanish and English,''' said Alice Petrossian, assistant superintendent of elementary education at the Glendale Unified School District.

The dual immersion program mixes English and Spanish-speaking students so they learn language skills both on the playground and from the teacher. It is popular enough that officials want to start a similar program in Armenian and English at Jefferson Elementary in September.

Students in the program get at least 80 percent of their instruction in Spanish. But the Armenian-language program would be more geared toward English because, unlike for Spanish, there are not enough Armenian textbooks that meet the California curriculum requirements, Petrossian said.

Jefferson Elementary's Armenian ``magnet academy'' would start with a kindergarten class.

``I just have this wonderful feeling that we're going to fill all that up and get a waiting list,'' Petrossian said.

Officials believe the Armenian program will make students more aware of world cultures. And with enrollment down districtwide, they see it as a way to bring in more students by capitalizing on demand in the Armenian community.

Petrossian recently saw a school board presentation featuring several of the dual immersion students, including a couple kids who spoke Russian or Tagalog, on top of English and Spanish.

``These children were so bright, and this knowledge that they have gained is so valuable,'' she said.

The success of the district's dual immersion class comes eight years after California voters approved Proposition 227, the English Language in Public Schools Initiative.

The GUSD once had bilingual programs at nine schools. Unlike dual immersion, which the district only has at Edison, the bilingual programs overwhelmingly served Spanish-speaking students instead of a mix from different backgrounds.

There are only a small fraction of dual immersion programs across the state, compared to how many bilingual programs existed before Proposition 227, said Ron Unz, one of the leaders of the ballot measure.

``My guess is there's probably general distaste for those programs in the general population, but it's certainly not as strong as in the case of the massive bilingual programs,'' Unz said.

But parents with children in Edison's totally voluntary dual immersion program said they like it.

``Right now, I don't think (my daughter) is learning a lot of English,'' parent Isabel Perez, 41, said in Spanish. ``But what I want is for her to learn the two languages at the same level.''

Alex Dobuzinskis, (818) 546-3304

alex.dobuzinskis(at)dailynews.com

CAPTION(S):

2 photos

Photo:

(1) Susana Arevalo teaches kindergarten in Spanish at Edison Elementary School in Glendale on Tuesday as part of an immersion program.

(2) Susana Arevalo sits with her kindergarten students Tuesday at Edison Elementary School in Glendale.

David Sprague/Staff Photographer
COPYRIGHT 2006 Daily News
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2006, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

 
Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Feb 12, 2006
Words:606
Previous Article:WITH RIOTS, BACA WOES INTENSIFY CRITICS QUESTION SHERIFF'S MANAGEMENT.
Next Article:WEDDINGS AT A LOW COST ARE PRICELESS.


Related Articles
Teachers in Post-Proposition-227 Southern California: Implications for Teacher Education.
LANGUAGE CLASSES TO BLEND DUAL IMMERSION PLANNED.
IMMERSION PUPILS PROGRESSING; PROGRAMS GET PASSING GRADE.
IN PLAIN ENGLISH; ON 1ST DAY BACK, TEACHERS, PUPILS GET LESSON IN PROP. 227.
LEARNING LANGUAGE OF COMPLIANCE; SCHOOLS GRAPPLE WITH PROP. 227 CHANGES.
PUBLIC FORUM : READERS SUBMIT GRADES ON BILINGUAL EDUCATION.
The near end of bilingual: Prop 227 was supposed to eliminate bilingual education from California's schools. For the most part, it succeeded--and...
LANGUAGE LESSONS ENGLISH-ONLY FORMAT GETS MIXED GRADES.
Dual language pedagogy: asymmetry compensation.
ARMENIAN LANGUAGE MAY BE TAUGHT BETTER.

Terms of use | Privacy policy | Copyright © 2018 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters