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Across the country, the interest in and need for early second language learning has grown tremendously. The two major program types that provide foreign language instruction in the elementary school are FLES programs and immersion programs.
Regular FLES (Foreign Language in the Elementary School) programs concentrate primarily on the development of listening and speaking skills and on cultural awareness. Grammar is not ignored but is learned indirectly rather than through direct instruction (Reeves, 1989). FLES programs involve instruction three to five times a week for an average of 75 minutes a week. Classes meet throughout the entire school year. The goal of FLES programs is functional proficiency in a foreign language (Curtain & Pesola, 1994).
A variant of regular FLES is the content-enriched FLES program. Content-enriched FLES programs use a foreign language to teach subject content from the regular school curriculum. The focus is not on language instruction alone (Reeves, 1989).
Immersion programs use a foreign language to teach the entire curriculum. The foreign language is the vehicle for content instruction; it is not the subject of instruction (Met, 1993). The goals of immersion programs include functional proficiency in the second language, mastery of subject content material, cross-cultural understanding, and grade-level competence in English language arts (Curtain & Pesola, 1994).
Another type of program that is related to foreign language learning is FLEX (Foreign Language Experience). FLEX programs are designed to introduce students to one or more foreign languages and cultures and to motivate them to pursue further language study. FLEX programs are set apart from other foreign language programs because language proficiency is not a goal (Curtain & Pesola, 1994).
Curtain, H., & Pesola, C. A. B. (1994). Languages and children: Making the match. Foreign language instruction for an early start, grades K–8 (2nd ed.). White Plains: Longman.
Met, M. (1993). Foreign language immersion programs (ERIC Digest). Washington, DC: ERIC Clearinghouse on Languages and Linguistics.
Reeves, J. (1989). Elementary school foreign language programs (ERIC Digest). Washington, DC: ERIC Clearinghouse on Languages and Linguistics.
ERIC/CLL is grateful to Nancy Rhodes of the Center for Applied Linguistics for her valuable assistance in compiling this Resource Guide Online.
a District-Wide Foreign Language Program
Integrating Foreign Language and Content Instruction in Grades K–8
Model Early Foreign Language Programs: Key Elements
Planning for Success: Common Pitfalls in the Planning of Early Foreign Language Programs
Thematic, Communicative Language Teaching in the K–8 Classroom
Two or More Languages in Early Childhood
Foreign Language Education. The ERIC Review. Volume 6, Issue
1. Fall 1998.
of Foreign Language Immersion Programs in U.S. Schools
This searchable directory lists elementary schools, and a few secondary schools, that teach all or part of their curriculum through a second language.
of Resources for Foreign Language Programs
This directory of resources for improving elementary foreign language programs provides information about and links to national associations, professional organizations, state foreign language offices, funders, publishers of language learning materials, centers, clearinghouses, instructional materials, Web sites, online publications, databases, regional conferences, and listservs.
Directory of Early Foreign Language Programs
This is a searchable database of public and private elementary and middle schools in the United States that begin foreign language instruction before Grade 7. It does not include immersion programs, which are listed in a separate directory (see above).
of K–12 Foreign Language Assessment Instruments and Resources
Detailed descriptions of more than 200 foreign language assessment instruments used in Grades K–12 are available by searching this directory. Annotated bibliographies of the latest assessment publications and Internet resources are also included.
Curtain, H. and Dahlberg, C. A. (2004) Languages and children Making the match. New languages for young learners, K–8. (3rd Edition ) Boston: Allyn and Bacon.
Curtain, H., & Pesola, C. A. B. (1994). Languages and children: Making the match. Foreign language instruction for an early start, grades K–8 (2nd ed.). White Plains: Longman.
Gilzow, D. F., & Branaman, L. E. (2000). Lessons learned: Model early foreign language programs. McHenry, IL, and Washington, DC: Delta Systems and Center for Applied Linguistics.
Lipton, G. (1992). Practical handbook to elementary foreign language programs, including FLES, FLEX, and immersion programs (2nd ed.). Chicago, IL: National Textbook.
Lipton, G. (1995). Focus on FLES*. Planning and implementing FLES* programs (foreign language in elementary schools). Baltimore, MD: National FLES* Institute.
Met, M. (Ed.). (1998). Critical issues in early second language learning: Building for our children's future. Glenview, IL: Addison-Wesley.
Redmond, M. L., & Lorenz, E. (Eds.). (1999). Teacher to teacher: Model lessons for K–8 foreign language. Chicago, IL: National Textbook.
Thompson, L. (1995). Foreign language assessment in grades K–8: An annotated bibliography of assessment instruments. McHenry, IL, and Washington, DC: Delta Systems and Center for Applied Linguistics.
Learning Languages: The Journal of the National Network for Early Language Learning is the official publication of NNELL.
Foreign Language Annals is the official journal of the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages.
American Council on the
Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL)
The American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages Web site provides information about ACTFL's annual conference, publications, programs, resources, membership, and the national foreign language standards.
This site is a directory of resources for teachers and researchers interested in using computer technologies in elementary school foreign language programs.
Ñandutí provides resources on foreign language learning in Grades K–8. Major topics include foreign language standards, resources for early language learning, model programs, and teacher development.
National Foreign Language
Fourteen federally funded National Foreign Language Resource centers have been established at universities around the country to improve and enrich the nation's capacity to teach and learn foreign languages.
K–12 Foreign Language Resource Center
The mission of the National K–12 Foreign Language Resource Center is the improvement of student learning of foreign languages at the elementary and secondary school levels. The center seeks to strengthen foreign language learning through collaborative efforts to promote extended-sequence foreign language programs and improved teacher preparation.
National Network for Early
Language Learning (NNELL)
NNELL is dedicated to promoting foreign language instruction for all students, kindergarten through 8th grade, and to supporting educators who teach those students.
Visions in Action
New Visions in Action seeks to identify and implement the actions necessary to revamp the language education system so that it can more effectively achieve the important goal of language proficiency for all students. New Visions in Action advocates that all students have the opportunity for and access to quality language instruction regardless of race, ethnicity, socioeconomic class, or gender.
Ñandu participants discuss timely issues related to foreign language learning in Grades K–8, provide resources to one another, and share experiences with early-start, long-sequence programs. To join Ñandu, send the message
SUBSCRIBE YOURFIRSTNAME YOURLASTNAME
FLTEACH is the major listserv for foreign language teachers. For subscription information, see http://www.cortland.edu/flteach/
Information on obtaining the documents listed below can be found at the end of this section. These documents were identified by searching the ERIC database using the following ERIC descriptor:
Establishing High-Quality Foreign Language Programs in Elementary Schools. Perspectives on Policy and Practice.
Gilzow, Douglas F.; Rhodes, Nancy C.
Publication date: 2000
ABSTRACT: Using information from seven model programs that provide foreign language instruction to elementary and middle school students, this publication addresses common questions from administrators, educators, and parents who are considering establishing early foreign language programs in their communities. Questions examine the following issues: reasons to teach foreign language in the elementary school; whether foreign language should be part of the core curriculum; whether foreign language programs are suitable for poorly-funded districts; whether students with disabilities should study foreign language; how schools or districts determine which language to teach; how a program can be sustained over time; characteristics of successful programs; which program model is best; how foreign language study can be included in the curriculum without adding time to the school day; whether there is a need to hire a separate foreign language teacher; how new students are added to language classes without hindering the progress of students already in the program; what happens to elementary students who want to continue their language study at a middle school where most students in their grade are just beginning; and whether distance or video instruction is a good way of teaching language. A list of resources, including Web-based resources, is included. (SM)
A Celebration of FLES: Sequential FLES, FLEX, and Immersion.
Lipton, Gladys C., Ed.
Publication date: 1998
A collection of essays on FLES (foreign languages in the elementary school) includes: "Public Education in America and the Implications of Foreign Language and Second Language Acquisition" (Peter Negroni); "The People Factor in the Glastonbury Public Schools" (Christine Brown); "Public Relations: Inside and Outside" (Kathleen Riordan); "The Georgia PTA Foreign Language Resolution" (Lynne B. Bryan); "Guidelines for FLES Programs" (Gladys C. Lipton); "ICAL: Variation on a FLEX Theme" (Dora F. Kennedy, Pat Barr-Harrison); "Allegro Sostenuto: A Baker's Dozen of Challenges for the Immersion Administrator" (Paul A. Garcia); "A Teacher's View of Advocacy" (Harriet Saxon); "A Salad of Language Learners" (Elizabeth Miller); "The Northern Kentucky University FLES Troupe: Reaching Foreign Language Learners of Today and Tomorrow" (Katherine C. Kurk); "Differing Abilities in the Sequential FLES Class" (Virginia L. Gramer); "We Can Teach All Students: FLES Students Rarely Fail!" (Lipton); "Mon Parcours: Letting Them Tell Their Story" (Lena L. Lucietto); "Reaching Them All via Multiple Intelligences: Floor Mapping" (Patricia R. Duggar); "Reading in Second Language Acquisition" (Gramer); "Bridging the Gap in FLES: Suggestions for the Transition to the Written Word" (Juliette Eastwick, Elizabeth Tomlinson); "A Kaleidoscope of Discovery: The Sequential FLES Program in Rutherford, New Jersey" (Harriet Saxon); "Reading the World: FLES and Global Education" (Kurk, Hilary W. Landwehr); "Is There Life After'simon Dit'?: Expanding Your FLES Classroom Through the Use of Learning Centers" (Astrid M. DeBuhr); "Let the Theme Draw Them In" (Suzanne Cane); "Linking Language and Context: An Example of an Interdisciplinary Approach" (Lucietto); "A 'French-ship' with the Community" (Saxon); "Of Tapestries, Tortillas, and Mulberry Bushes" (Lucietto); "From Sukiyaki to Croissants: Global Education at Work in the Elementary School" (DeBuhr); "The Jewel in Our Crown" (Alan S. Wax, Lydia Hurst, Kathleen Durkin, Diane Merenda); "Summer Immersion Language Day Camps" (Evelyne Cella Armstrong); "All The Word's a Stage (You and Your Students the Actors)" (Miller); "Using Class Quizzes To Promote the Linguistic Accuracy of Younger Learners" (Rebecca M. Valette); "Portfolio Assessment of Second Languages in the Elementary Classroom" (Philip Korfe); "Assessment, Evaluation, and Accountability: Why Bother Evaluating FLES Programs?" (Lipton); "Making the Grade: Continuous Evaluation in the FLES Classroom" (Maureen Regan-Baker); "He or She That Tooteth Not His or Her Own Horn..That Horn Goeth Untooteth" (Miller); and "Celebrating the Successes of FLES Through Evaluation" (Deborah Wilburn-Robinson). (MSE)
Developing Second Language in the Elementary Grades.
Publication date: 1995
The manual provides information to assist elementary school level program and curriculum designers in the creation and administration of second language programs. It is not a how-to manual, but includes descriptive data about program types in existence and criteria for evaluating language proficiency. It contains: a list of terms used and their definitions; a chart detailing enrollments in 14 languages at each grade (kindergarten through sixth) and the percentage of total students they represent; a list of early foreign language program goals; descriptions of the characteristics of program models (total immersion, two-way immersion, partial immersion, content-based language instruction, Foreign Language in Elementary Schools/FLES, and Foreign Language Exploratory Programs/FLEX); American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) guidelines for assessing second language proficiency at four levels; and a second language scoring guide for communication of messages, interviews, narration, and skit performance. Appended materials include a list of commonly-asked questions about elementary school language instruction, lists of characteristics and principles of effective second language teaching, legislative materials, lists of references and additional information sources, professional contacts, and lists of Oregon elementary school foreign language program sites, by program type. (MSE)
Activities as a Vehicle for Linguistic and Sociocultural Knowledge at the Elementary Level.
Language Teaching Research, v7 n1 p3-33 Jan 2003
Reports on a content-based elementary Chinese as a foreign language program. Focuses on classroom language activities that are designed and implemented to serve the dual goals of language development and cultural learning. Investigated how classroom activities are organized to integrate culture/content and language learning for young beginners. (Author/VWL)
Foreign Language Instruction: What Principals Should Know.
Lipton, Gladys C.
Principal, v82 n3 p40-42 Jan-Feb 2003
Employs a question-answer format to discuss how and why principals should introduce foreign language in the early grades. Includes such questions as what foreign-language programs are suitable for K–8 schools? Describes four models for foreign-language instruction in elementary schools: Sequential FLES, Sequential FLEX, Exploratory, and Immersion. (PKP)
The Impact of National and State Policy on Elementary School Foreign Language Programs: The Iowa Case Study.
Rosenbusch, Marcia Harmon
Foreign Language Annals, v35 n5 p507-17 Sep-Oct 2002
Reviews selected national policy recommendations and examines their impact on state policy making in Iowa, specifically in terms of the number and quality of Iowa elementary school foreign language programs and teacher qualifications from the mid-1980s through the 1990s. (Author/VWL)
Japanese Immersion: A Successful Program in Portland, Oregon.
Gilzow, Douglas F.
Learning Languages, v7 n3 p5-9 Spr 2002
Describes a successful early start, long sequence Japanese foreign language in the elementary school (FLES) program that was identified as one of seven model programs in a national project funded by the U.S. Department of Education. Highlights literacy instruction in Japanese, student assessment, language camps, visits to Japan, parent involvement, and distance learning. (Author/VWL)
Japanese at Mimosa Elementary School.
Learning Languages, v7 n1 p4-9 Fall 2001
Describes the Japanese program at Mimosa Elementary School in Roswell, Georgia. The success of the program has been aided by collaborative team teaching, a spiraled curriculum, creative teaching methods, Teacher-made materials, and communication among teachers, parents, and administrators. The challenges are also discussed. (Author/VWL)
Exploring New Frontiers: What Do Computers Contribute to Teaching Foreign Languages in Elementary School?
Nutta, Joyce W.; Feyton, Carine M.; Norwood, Annette L.; Meros, John; Yoshii, Makoto; Ducher, Jeannie
Foreign Language Annals, v35 n3 p293-306 May-Jun 2002
Compares the use of a print and multimedia program to teach Spanish to second through fifth graders from quantitative and qualitative perspectives. Showed that achievement and proficiency of students using print or multimedia materials did not differ at posttest. A small but statistically significant difference in achievement emerged at the delayed test point in favor of the students who used the multimedia materials. (Author/VWL)
Journal Reflections of a First-Year Teacher.
Learning Languages, v7 n2 p8-10 Win 2002
An elementary school foreign language teacher reflects on her first year and a half of being a Spanish foreign language in the elementary school (FLES) teacher. Highlights challenges, frustrations, and positive aspects of the job.
Converging Evidence: Attitudes, Achievements, and Instruction in the Later Years of FLES.
Donato, Richard; Tucker, G. Richard; Wudthayagorn, Jirada; Igarashi, Kanae
Foreign Language Annals, v33 n4 p377-93 Jul-Aug 2000
Examined the sixth year of a Japanese foreign language in the elementary school (FLES) program. Provides results from attitude surveys of children, teachers, and administrators; data on parental support for their children's learning of Japanese; proficiency ratings on an end-of-year prochievement interview; comparison of ratings of the cohort of students over a 6-year period; and student self assessment.(Author/VWL)
Changing Practice: Impact of a National Institute on Foreign Language Teacher Preparation for the K-6 Level of Instruction.
Rosenbusch, Marcia Harmon; Kemis, Mari; Moran, Kelli Jo Kerry
Foreign Language Annals, v33 n3 p305-19 May-Jun 2000
Investigates the impact of a national institute on effecting change in the number of colleges and universities that prepare elementary school foreign language teachers. Results of survey instruments and telephone interviews with teacher educators indicate that the number of sites that prepare teachers for early levels of instruction increased and that the institute resulted in
additional positive benefits. (Author/VWL)
Encouraging Second Language Literacy in the Early Grades.
Hayes, Nancy; Schrier, Leslie
Hispania, v83 n2 p286-96 May 2000
Emphasizes the importance of developing literacy skills in the elementary school if communicative competence is the goal of a fully articulated K–12 curriculum for Spanish. The vehicle necessary for developing these skills lies in curricular objectives that emphasize literacy and in teacher education programs that foster the growth of this instructional skill in elementary school foreign language program (FLES) teachers. (Author/VWL)
The full text of most materials in the ERIC database with an "ED" followed by six digits is available through the ERIC Document Reproduction Service (EDRS) in microfiche, by email, or in paper copy. Approximately 80% of ERIC documents from 1993 to the present are available for online ordering and electronic delivery through the EDRS Web site. You can read ERIC documents on microfiche for free at many libraries with monthly subscriptions or specialized collections. To find an ERIC center near you, contact our User Services staff.
The full text of journal articles may be available from one or more of the following sources:
To obtain journals that do not permit reprints and are not available from your library, write directly to the publisher. Addresses of publishers can now be accessed online through the CIJE Source Journal Index.
If you would like additional information about this or any topic related to language education or linguistics, contact our User Services Staff.
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