How to Choose a Spanish Immersion Program
When selecting a Spanish immersion program, learners should consider specific points. An immersion language program is a program or class that incorporates knowledge of the language in common daily activities without necessarily following a structured curriculum.
Some of these activities could be science, social studies, math, or daily conversation. Learning Spanish as a foreign language in an immersion program usually will not offer grammar.
Whereas a structured class will focus on mechanics and grammar of the language, an immersion program will focus on the cultural awareness and typical traditions of a particular country.
These programs can be viewed as specialized classes for foreign language learners. Students are immersed into the foreign language along with other students of different levels.
Studies have shown that beginners, especially at a young age, actually learn about the native language in a more effective way in an immersion program. Learners that want to begin an immersion program in Spanish should consider the advantages, time of the program, level of education, and overall lesson plans.
The advantages to learning Spanish through an immersion program are numerous. A Spanish immersion program can help you improve business communications, enhance your language learning and speech, and acquire knowledge of other cultures or traditions.
If the language barrier exists that hinders the communications between parties, then some businesses may not occur due to lost of information in translation. By being immersed in the language, business topics can be learned quickly and effectively.
Another advantage is enhancement of language learning and speech. Immersion programs are a great way to refresh the learned Spanish since the information provided in the course should be concise and comprehensive.
The other advantage is learning about other cultures and traditions besides the native customs. Knowing about other cultures, immersion programs enhance the learner’s perspective about differences in cultures and customs. It also provides a different point of view of how cultures are different around the globe.
If the immersion program is available in the public school system, then the program usually lasts up to 52 weeks, the academic school calendar. If the immersion program is at private facilities, accelerated and intensive programs can last up to 6 weeks to 12 months.
Most programs should have a variety of options for all types of budgets. The level of education should be categorized as preschool to elementary, middle, and high school. Preschool to elementary levels should comprise pre-K through grades 6th.
Middle school should consist of grades 7-8th. High school should have grades 9-12th. Many public school systems are now incorporating some type of immersion program lesson plan within the normal curriculum.
The course should be planned out as all immersion program, partial immersion program, or two-way immersion program. In the all immersion program, the course is organized as an all-Spanish teaching class.
The material will be all in Spanish with no translation in the native language. In partial immersion programs, the course is taught in Spanish with some translation in English.
In the two-way immersion program, the course is organized in a bilingual manner. The material is equally taught in English and Spanish.
Determining the course of study in each lesson plan would depend on the level of understanding. The language instructor or educator should assess this.
After a Spanish immersion program is concluded, students should have a better grasp of the language. Not only that, but they also have learned a foreign language that will help them academically and sociably.
About Barbara Mascareno
Barbara is a bilingual teacher in Spanish, math, and science. She also offers her services as an educational consultant. She has science degrees and is working on her secondary education degree.