Sunday, September 2, 2007

Spanish Immersion gets noticed

Contribution by Cesar A. Muedas
Pages 65-67 of the latest issue of Nashville Parent showcase an informative overview of the practice of Spanish Immersion in different learning environments in middle Tennessee (check also the story online and included in the sister publications Rutherford Parent and Williamson Parent, too).
This story hits home personally for this contributor because my two children attend Glendale Elementary, the only public school in middle Tennessee that offers a Spanish immersion curriculum. Mrs. Sue Clark, principal of Glendale is quoted as saying:

"We feel that learning a second language increases your chances of becoming a global citizen and a life-long learner. We have people moving into our zone so they can be guaranteed a spot at our school. When our children come in kindergarten they know no Spanish. [Four years later, when they move on to middle school] the students are developing Spanish speakers. The grammar study doesn’t come until the fifth and sixth grades. Ours is more conversational Spanish. We study the culture and the history. We try to put a Latin flavor on things. [Vanderbilt University’s Spanish and Iberian Studies department] works closely with our teachers. When they bring in speakers, dancers, authors and painters, they always share those people with our school."

There is also reference to the role of Ms. Becky Gibson, coordinator of foreign languages for Metro Nashville Public Schools, who indicates that “last year, Glendale Spanish Immersion Elementary School had one of the highest TCAP scores in the city, so it’s proven it works.”

The Parent magazine article by Ashley Driggs, managing editor and mother of three children under 7, is best at providing broad coverage of opinions, approaches, issues and resources most relevant to the learning of Spanish as a second language. We invite you to read the full story.

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