Teaching Chinese in rural Utah

“Our faculty just weren’t ready for it,” said a Utah kindergarten teacher about Utah’s Chinese immersion program in a recent NPR story.

“A lot of them weren’t dual immersion teachers, so a lot of them had — not bitter feelings, but they didn’t want to have any part of any type of a language program at all,” explains Jackie Fonnesbeck, a teacher at Arrowhead Elementary in the Southern Utah town of Santa Clara.

Fonnesbeck was a doubter, too. She told NPR: “I was very worried about the math, because that’s where they’re learning the basics, and I felt like they needed to have a good, strong base in English before they learn it in Chinese.”

But “three years into the program, Arrowhead’s immersion skeptics have become its greatest fans,” NPR reports. “Test scores for immersion students at the school are slightly higher than they are for non-immersion kids. There’s a waiting list to get into the program. And the school’s teachers – even the English language ones — are now big supporters.”

Click here to read more (you’ll be glad you did).

 

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