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- IU Bloomington
Emerging bilingualism in elementary-level exposure track Spanish is a collaborative partnership between IUB and Monroe County (MCCSC) and Huntingburg (DuBois) administrators, teachers, and parents. This project will: (1) identify linguistic and non-linguistic goals for the K-6 L2 exposure-track Spanish; (2) design L2 Spanish task cycles motivated by these goals; and (3) build in measures to see how students progress in their goals.
Being bilingual at any level has immediate and life-long benefits, including increased attentional control, empathy, inclusive and global mindset, reduced risk of Alzheimer’s and dementia, as well as an increased chance of language recovery following stroke.
Despite this knowledge, and research that has repeatedly demonstrated how pre-pubescent children are able to learn additional languages (L2s) better than at any age, the United States lags behind other countries in providing early exposure to L2s.
MCCSC and DuBois are interesting representatives of the range of elementary-level exposure-track Spanish. For example, as of 2021 all students in MCCSC elementary schools will have Spanish instruction. However, the amount and quality of that Spanish access varies greatly between classrooms. DuBois, on the other hand, is in its first year of a dual-immersion Spanish program and has interest in creating an exposure-track Spanish program to serve a rapidly growing Latinx population. Given the aforementioned benefits of bilingualism, unequal access to elementary-level L2 education has lifelong repercussions.
By collaborating with local administrators, teachers, and parents, this project supports MCCSC and DuBois school districts by creating research-grounded task-based lessons that are customized for the unique needs of each community. With built-in measures of learning we will have data to demonstrate the power of access to L2 learning at elementary levels and the positive impact that results from collaborations between IUB and community partners.