The question comes up from time to time, “Should children in Mandarin Immersion programs only speak Mandarin in the classroom?” In a word, “yes!” The exception of course could be for kindergarten or first semester first grade students. But by January of first grade, the Chinese Immersion classroom should be a “Chinese only zone.”
This can be a real challenge for teachers, and we are grateful to the teachers who work diligently to enforce the “No English” policy. This is the way to really help our children develop fluency. The Utah immersion policy is that students and teachers only speak the target language in class after the first semester of first grade. If you see something different happening, you should take the opportunity to talk to your principal so that maximum learning can take place.
And for all of the great mothers out there, here is a song you might want to teach your children. It’s called “Ting Mama de Hua” (“Listen to what your mother says.”)