Monday, August 29, 2011

Early Foreign Language Education: Research

Goal = To create a simulation of immersion and facilitate early foreign language education.
Virtual Language Learning

• Improvised Learning
• Community involvement
• Real-world sharing and experience
• Offline merging online

Physical Boundaries
Time difference
Accessed through public education in the classroom
Occurs online and in the classroom
Occurs across countries with appropriate technology
Specific countries (US, Middle East, China, Europe)
Attention Span
Practicing regularly
A certain level of understanding the first language, and making sure the other understands their language as well. Like spelling or vocabulary
With younger children they have a short attention span. 2-3 minutes. Also taking into consideration boys verses girls.
Verbal/ and most likely writing as well
Children knowing how to work the computer/ application

What/Who is Involved
Elementary school children across countries and cultures
Teachers across countries and cultures
Superintendents/ principles

Equipment Needed
Internet Connection
Wacom tablet?

Class—those that can afford this technology
Public School Education System
Gender: Male + Female
Approximate Age: 3-12 years old, Preschool through Elementary
According to the National Center for Educational Statistics, more than one in 5 school-aged children (21%) speak a language other than English at home.

Individual + Community
(define wants, needs, tools, symbols, markets, icons, etc)
Cross-culture communication (Ex/Nurses, doctors, police officers, journalists, politicians, etc)
bi/multilingual communities
Better understanding of own language
Better business
Connecting with other cultures/learning about and from others
Social skills and structure


Social connection with peers
Varying and engaging activity
Positive role models

Define Audience:
Elementary Schools Preschool-8th Grade, Ages 3-14 years old

Begin teaching your child as early as possible. Children's unique ability for internalizing language decreases over time. Although some parents worry that introducing multiple languages to a young child can create confusion, studies have shown that children can identify and compartmentalize separate languages by the age of 3.

What’s Already Out There?

[identify] the nation’s language needs across the range
of communities and cultural groups that it contains;
it surveys and examines the resources available; it
identifies the role of language in general and individual
languages in particular in the life of the nation; it establishes
strategies for managing and developing language resources as
it relates all of these to the best interests of the nation
through the operation of some suitable planning agency

200 million Chinese school children are studying English, which is a mandatory subject for all primary school students, only 24,000 of 54 million US primary elementary and primary school pupils are studying Chinese

National Security Language Initiative
established by the Bush Administration in 2006, are focusing government resources on increasing foreign language education starting at the kindergarten level. NSLI focuses on previously less-popular languages, which the government considers “critical-need languages,” such as Arabic, Farsi and Russian, all of which are becoming increasingly important to America’s future participation in global politics.

Most popular Languages currently being taught:
1. French, Spanish
2. Chinese, Arabic
3. Need for: Arabic, Farsi, Russian

Possible Interview Questions
American Child, 8 years old
-What is your favorite subject in school and why is it your favorite?
-Why do you enjoy learning about that subject?
-What do you like to read?
-When did you start using the computer and what do you use it for (games, school work)?
-What kind of computer games do you play?
-What do you enjoy doing after school?
-Do you have siblings?
-Do you help your siblings or classmates with schoolwork?

American Elementary School Teacher, 28 years old
-Why do you feel like foreign language education is important?
-What is the biggest challenge in teaching foreign language in Elementary schools?
-In general, what is the biggest challenge you face as a teacher in your classroom?
-What other subjects could facilitate foreign language learning?
-In your opinion, what are a few of the gaps found in public education, specifically regarding foreign language?
-In your opinion, at what age should foreign language education begin and why?
-What are a few barriers of students that know a second language versus those that speak one? What are the social effects of this in the classroom?

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