Author Topic: Spanish Immersion Elementary School  (Read 973 times)

v8rx7guy

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Spanish Immersion Elementary School
« on: October 08, 2020, 03:37:21 PM »
I am curious as to if anyone here has had experience with putting their child(ren) in a Spanish immersion elementary education program.  One of our local private schools has this opportunity and my wife and I are considering it for our Kindergartner.  We are not on the same page, however.  The concept is interesting to me, and I think that every kid should learn another language (I took Spanish for 2 years in HS and 2 years at University), but I just don't like the idea of complete immersion learning while their peers learn exclusively in English.  The school website has a 2 or 3 page .pdf about what to expect, etc. and it specifically states to expect the child to be behind in reading and writing in English by third grade but back up to average by 5th grade. 

I realize that it is said that early 2nd language immersion has some seriously amazing benefits for brain development and that that it could open up opportunities down the road, but for some reason I cannot wrap my head around it... probably because it is "different" than my experience.  I also have a slight concern that our child would be in class with the same kids from K-5th grade rather than mixing it up every year... again, just different than I am used to, maybe I just need to get over that.  Our child loves learning and I feel like it would be frustrating to suddenly be immersed in a situation where he is starting over at square one learning how to listen and speak in an unfamiliar language.  And this is not to mention a $7,000/yr price tag.  I don't know... maybe I need to ask if I can sit in for a class and get an idea of what it is really like. 

Are my concerns valid?  Should I really be happy with an "average" English reader and writer by 5th grade with the benefit of also theoretically being and average Spanish reader and writer at 5th grade?  Will they really retain what they learned by the time they are looking for jobs or is it a "use it or lose it" proposition between ages 8 and say 21 (when first looking for a post university job)?  Part of me just says to stick with the "free" public school with it's standard high school language program.

Cranky

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Re: Spanish Immersion Elementary School
« Reply #1 on: October 08, 2020, 05:28:37 PM »
If you donít keep up with a language you wonít retain it. (My dads family did not speak English at home until the kids went to school, and my dad ended up with about 3 words of Slovak as an adult.)

Is there some reason you wouldnít be reading with your child at home? I wouldnít worry about reading test scores, personally, because I would supplement literacy instruction myself.

If you are thinking of this as a future job opportunity, Iíd save the 7k/year For college.

Villanelle

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Re: Spanish Immersion Elementary School
« Reply #2 on: October 08, 2020, 05:32:43 PM »
I am curious as to if anyone here has had experience with putting their child(ren) in a Spanish immersion elementary education program.  One of our local private schools has this opportunity and my wife and I are considering it for our Kindergartner.  We are not on the same page, however.  The concept is interesting to me, and I think that every kid should learn another language (I took Spanish for 2 years in HS and 2 years at University), but I just don't like the idea of complete immersion learning while their peers learn exclusively in English.  The school website has a 2 or 3 page .pdf about what to expect, etc. and it specifically states to expect the child to be behind in reading and writing in English by third grade but back up to average by 5th grade. 

I realize that it is said that early 2nd language immersion has some seriously amazing benefits for brain development and that that it could open up opportunities down the road, but for some reason I cannot wrap my head around it... probably because it is "different" than my experience.  I also have a slight concern that our child would be in class with the same kids from K-5th grade rather than mixing it up every year... again, just different than I am used to, maybe I just need to get over that.  Our child loves learning and I feel like it would be frustrating to suddenly be immersed in a situation where he is starting over at square one learning how to listen and speak in an unfamiliar language.  And this is not to mention a $7,000/yr price tag.  I don't know... maybe I need to ask if I can sit in for a class and get an idea of what it is really like. 

Are my concerns valid?  Should I really be happy with an "average" English reader and writer by 5th grade with the benefit of also theoretically being and average Spanish reader and writer at 5th grade?  Will they really retain what they learned by the time they are looking for jobs or is it a "use it or lose it" proposition between ages 8 and say 21 (when first looking for a post university job)?  Part of me just says to stick with the "free" public school with it's standard high school language program.

My friend's son was in a Spanish immersion Kindergarden (public school).  He just moved and just this week finished his reading level test.  He's in 1st grade and tested at a 4th grade reading level.

Clearly, this is just one data point, but it obviously didn't hold him back in the reading department.

(In case it matters, he also attended Japanese per-K.  Not immersion, but living in Japan at a Japanese school.  I believe he did that for two years, then nothing for a year but active parent-educating, and some time with a weekly Japanese lesson though that ended when she stopped teaching.  Then the Spanish immersion K for a year, before moving this summer and starting 1st grade virtually.) 

TrMama

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Re: Spanish Immersion Elementary School
« Reply #3 on: October 08, 2020, 05:47:03 PM »
How long can she attend immersion school? If it's only till 5th grade and then she switches back to English only, she probably won't retain much. However, if she's able to stay in immersion till 12th grade, she probably won't have to work very hard as an adult to maintain fluency. I did French immersion from grade 6 to 11, then did nothing with it for 10 years. At that point we moved to Quebec and suddenly I was the only French speaking person in the house. I was able to manage just fine.

The big issue with not using Spanish from age 8 to 21 is more that the writing and language skills of an 8 year old aren't going to be advanced enough to allow her to apply for jobs as a 21 year old.

My kids have done Canadian French Immersion for many years, but it's always been with the intent that they'd stick with it as long as possible through high school. My goals is also more that they use the process of becoming bilingual to learn to see the world from more angles than a monolingual. I don't actually care whether they use French as adults. There are other advantages here that are probably only relevant in Canada.

Being "behind" in English wasn't an issue at all until we realized, later than we should have, that one of my kids is dyslexic. Turns out she wasn't behind because of the extra language, but because of the learning disability. That turned out to be much tougher to deal with than simply reading to her more. If you decide to enroll your child in immersion, be extra aware that it's easy for learning disabilities to get missed.

jamesbond007

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Re: Spanish Immersion Elementary School
« Reply #4 on: October 09, 2020, 10:34:08 AM »
I grew up in India. It is quite common for us to learn three languages. At least, from my state. English, Hindi (Official language of the union and about 70% people speak Hindi), local language (Tamil, Kannada, Telugu, Malayalam, etc.). As a kid, I never found it awkward. In fact, I used to find it very invigorating. it depends on the teacher too. Looking back, I am glad it was mandatory for us to do it this way. I developed a deep love for languages. I developed tremendous empathy because I could understand more people, talk to more people, read more books, watch more movies. In my adult life I picked up 2 other languages with relative ease. I speak six languages now. It is an incredibly good feeling. Now I am parent, and we speak our Indian languages at home (2 of them) and DD learns English at school. I am planning to teach her Spanish. It is amazing what kids can do. As far as English skills are concerned, you can always spend time with them at home. You must send time anyway.
« Last Edit: October 09, 2020, 10:36:55 AM by jamesbond007 »

Catbert

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Re: Spanish Immersion Elementary School
« Reply #5 on: October 09, 2020, 10:44:19 AM »
I have friends that sent their kids to a German immersion school.  One week was taught in German, the next in English.  May have even switched between teachers depending on language.  They previously sent their children to a German language pre-school (I have no clue how that worked) so that they were able to get into the very competitive magnet German immersion elementary school as "German speakers".

Has worked out well for them.  At middle school they decided oldest was better served by a GATE program rather than continuing German.  Obviously has hurt his education.  This year they have opted out of Zoom learning and are being homed schooled.  Not sure how the German language skills will survive into adulthood.  At least in my area Spanish would be easy to keep up at a conversational level. 

mozar

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Re: Spanish Immersion Elementary School
« Reply #6 on: October 09, 2020, 12:06:30 PM »
I did Spanish language immersion from 10 to 16 years old. I have received no benefit from it personally or professionally. Sure I can talk to Spanish speaking people in Spanish. I could read a book in Spanish. I don't though. I have been able to give directions in Spanish a couple of times.

For the type of jobs you can get(not comprehensive):
International development in South American countries
Painter (in my area most painters are Hispanic)
Social worker at a non profit that serves recent Hispanic immigrants
Bank teller in an area with a lot of Hispanic immigrants
As far as I have seen if you are serious about getting a job that requires Spanish you need to be fluent, and you will be competing with Hispanic people for those jobs

By the time your 7 year old will be an adult people who need it will have translation software. Already now you can take a picture of something and you can get a translation.

I'm not opposed to language immersion programs but I don't think you can make the case that it will improve their job search 10 to 15 years from now.

Malcat

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Re: Spanish Immersion Elementary School
« Reply #7 on: October 09, 2020, 12:30:54 PM »
I incidentally grew up in a bilingual area where the kids I grew up with attended every possible permutation of language immersion.

Here's what I've noticed:

-don't expect early language immersion to make the kid permanently bilingual, I was exposed to French all my life and barely speak it now

-on the flip side, early exposure to language permanently alters the brain, making the structure of that language a permanent fixture, meaning that with a bit of practice, they can get the language back easily, compared to someone trying to learn it older

-going in and out of immersion can cause HUGE learning gaps, I've seen many cases of people who fell behind on English writing and ended up with issues, and never continued on with their second language, so that writing skill suffered as well. Most people in my city who send kids to French schools also have tutors for English writing, because English writing is actually remarkably difficult.

-as a pp mentioned, immersion can really mask learning problems. I struggled immensely in my first year of French immersion at a new school, and it took a year to figure out that the problem was that I was fucking blind and in my new school I wasn't always allowed to sit in the front row like I always had.

-the learning benefits of multi language exposure are less about the language itself and more about the long-term affects on the brain, which are poorly understood beyond a very hand-wavy understanding that they're just plain good...so there's that, but it's hard to quantify in terms of value. I get why it's hard for you to wrap your mind around. I studied linguistics and language acquisition for 6 years and I can't really explain it very well either.


« Last Edit: October 09, 2020, 12:33:42 PM by Malcat »

Fuzz

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Re: Spanish Immersion Elementary School
« Reply #8 on: October 09, 2020, 01:02:19 PM »
We have a dual immersion public school. One of the local teachers told me that other teachers rarely put their kiddos in the dual immersion school. The reason is that it is hard to hire bilingual teachers, so there is a ton of turnover among the staff. Because of the turnover, the teachers have less experience. Because they have less experience, they are worse at classroom management and dealing with behavior issues. However, because dual immersion is hard on a six year old, there are actually more behavioral issues for the lesser experienced teachers to manage.

That's an interesting dynamic that I hadn't considered. No idea if it applies to this private school, but worth looking at.

Sibley

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Re: Spanish Immersion Elementary School
« Reply #9 on: October 09, 2020, 01:23:10 PM »
Do you speak Spanish? If not, you may struggle with helping with homework, etc. If every document sent home is in Spanish and you don't read Spanish....

No idea if that's a factor, but something to ask about.

v8rx7guy

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Re: Spanish Immersion Elementary School
« Reply #10 on: October 09, 2020, 02:27:03 PM »
How long can she attend immersion school? If it's only till 5th grade and then she switches back to English only, she probably won't retain much. However, if she's able to stay in immersion till 12th grade, she probably won't have to work very hard as an adult to maintain fluency. I did French immersion from grade 6 to 11, then did nothing with it for 10 years. At that point we moved to Quebec and suddenly I was the only French speaking person in the house. I was able to manage just fine.

The big issue with not using Spanish from age 8 to 21 is more that the writing and language skills of an 8 year old aren't going to be advanced enough to allow her to apply for jobs as a 21 year old.

My kids have done Canadian French Immersion for many years, but it's always been with the intent that they'd stick with it as long as possible through high school. My goals is also more that they use the process of becoming bilingual to learn to see the world from more angles than a monolingual. I don't actually care whether they use French as adults. There are other advantages here that are probably only relevant in Canada.

Being "behind" in English wasn't an issue at all until we realized, later than we should have, that one of my kids is dyslexic. Turns out she wasn't behind because of the extra language, but because of the learning disability. That turned out to be much tougher to deal with than simply reading to her more. If you decide to enroll your child in immersion, be extra aware that it's easy for learning disabilities to get missed.

I dug a little deeper.  The full immersion lasts through 5th Grade.  But then in Middle School when the students begin changing classes, it becomes only one Spanish class per day through high school.  Thank you for the heads up on dyslexia.  We will watch closely if we decide to go this route.

v8rx7guy

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Re: Spanish Immersion Elementary School
« Reply #11 on: October 09, 2020, 02:28:42 PM »
I did Spanish language immersion from 10 to 16 years old. I have received no benefit from it personally or professionally. Sure I can talk to Spanish speaking people in Spanish. I could read a book in Spanish. I don't though. I have been able to give directions in Spanish a couple of times.

For the type of jobs you can get(not comprehensive):
International development in South American countries
Painter (in my area most painters are Hispanic)
Social worker at a non profit that serves recent Hispanic immigrants
Bank teller in an area with a lot of Hispanic immigrants
As far as I have seen if you are serious about getting a job that requires Spanish you need to be fluent, and you will be competing with Hispanic people for those jobs

By the time your 7 year old will be an adult people who need it will have translation software. Already now you can take a picture of something and you can get a translation.

I'm not opposed to language immersion programs but I don't think you can make the case that it will improve their job search 10 to 15 years from now.

This is definitely a concern of mine.  Yes, it's a resume builder to be bi-lingual, but what sorts of jobs ACTUALLY value that.

v8rx7guy

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Re: Spanish Immersion Elementary School
« Reply #12 on: October 09, 2020, 02:31:18 PM »
Do you speak Spanish? If not, you may struggle with helping with homework, etc. If every document sent home is in Spanish and you don't read Spanish....

No idea if that's a factor, but something to ask about.

I basically remember vocabulary from my 2 years in high school, some common phrases, etc.  The informational packet says that all documents sent home are in English, but all homework will be in Spanish.  That would certainly be frustrating to me as a parent trying to help... Google translate would definitely come in handy haha!

Thank you everyone for the excellent insight so far.  I think we are beginning to lean away from it at this point?

ysette9

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Re: Spanish Immersion Elementary School
« Reply #13 on: October 09, 2020, 02:42:49 PM »
My personal opinion is language immersion school is great and many people should do it. I learned French as a teenager and my husband learned English when he came to the US at 10 so we ate both living the benefits of being bi (my case)/multi- (his case) lingual. We also want our kids to learn younger and more easily than we did so they have been in mandarin or French daycare/preschool
/school all along.

I donít have much knowledge outside my personal experience. I know their minds are plastic and wired for language at young ages so it is a gift you can give them that has an expiration date.

Anecdotally, I learned to write in English (obviously) in honors classes in HS. I then went to France as an exchange student and did a year of littťraire in lycťe. Meaning, lots of essay writing. After achieving some passable minimum level of French I realized that analyzing a text and writing essays in French was the same damn thing as in English, which gave me a leg up over my classmates.

Another random thought: a majority of people in the world speak at least two languages and the US is something of an outlier in that respect. Many people speak one language (or dialect) at home and then do school and civic life in another (India,
China, many countries in Africa). Or live in countries that have more than one official language. I donít see nearly as much of it now as in the past, but I sometimes feel the angst over learning and speaking more than one language is overblown and something many people on the globe wouldnít understand.

ysette9

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Re: Spanish Immersion Elementary School
« Reply #14 on: October 09, 2020, 02:45:50 PM »
Do you speak Spanish? If not, you may struggle with helping with homework, etc. If every document sent home is in Spanish and you don't read Spanish....

No idea if that's a factor, but something to ask about.

I basically remember vocabulary from my 2 years in high school, some common phrases, etc.  The informational packet says that all documents sent home are in English, but all homework will be in Spanish.  That would certainly be frustrating to me as a parent trying to help... Google translate would definitely come in handy haha!

Thank you everyone for the excellent insight so far.  I think we are beginning to lean away from it at this point?
I hope you lean towards it. I think it would be a wonderful gift for your kid.

Lots of immersion programs have lots of parents who donít speak whatever the immersion language is, so they have tools to help. After school programs, office hours, online resources, google translate (which has gotten quite good), buddying up with other kids and parents who do speak it.

A parent at our preschool (French immersion) has their kids in that daycare and then a Spanish dual immersion program at regular school during the school day. They speak neither French or Spanish but value giving that advantage to their kids. With covid it is more challenging but they are making it work.

ysette9

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Re: Spanish Immersion Elementary School
« Reply #15 on: October 09, 2020, 02:52:37 PM »
Sorry to spam, but one last thought.

Speaking another language opens you up to experiencing culture and the world in a way that is closed to monolingual people. I personally have benefited from this by being able go see aspects of France and French culture that you donít experience not speaking the language. I can see that life can be lived differently than how I grew up, for example, I can appreciate how valuing different things results in societies operating differently. I can see that some of the challenges in the US that seem insurmountable are in fact solvable because other countries have found solutions by approaching it differently. I have made friendships with people from a variety of countries based solely, initially at least, by us having a common language of French. It has added richness to my life far beyond any monetary gain.

katsiki

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Re: Spanish Immersion Elementary School
« Reply #16 on: October 09, 2020, 03:19:06 PM »
No experience with immersion, but I agree with some of the others that learning a second language helps in many ways.  Personally, I found studying Latin and Spanish in school clarified English grammar for me.  I was terrible at English grammar before those classes (in high school).

I think it also expands your mind, vocabulary, and worldview.

Good luck figuring this out!

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Re: Spanish Immersion Elementary School
« Reply #17 on: October 09, 2020, 03:45:00 PM »
Our nearest elementary is dual immersion, meaning they try to get as close as they can to 50% native English speakers and 50% native Spanish. They do half a day with each language. Our oldest is currently in Montessori preschool, but we are planning to send them to the dual immersion school beginning in either Kindergarten or 1st grade. Posting to follow.

Imma

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Re: Spanish Immersion Elementary School
« Reply #18 on: October 09, 2020, 04:58:53 PM »
I have no experience with immersion education, but this is my personal experience regarding picking up languages:

I'm in Europe and understanding several foreign languages is the norm here. On top of my native language (Dutch) and the local dialect I understand English (8 years of formal education) French (5 years of formal education) and German (4 years) as well as a basic understanding of two other languages due to living in that place for a while.

When I was a kid immersion education was not a thing but my parent worked in an international situation and knew it was important to learn foreign languages, especially English. So, as a kid they made me watch the BBC (still only know the Postman Pat theme in English and not in my native language!) gave me English books to read, exposed me to English by instructing English speaking friends to speak English to me.

By the time I started to learn English at school I was several years ahead of the class. Even though I wasn't able to hold more than an extremely basic conversation in English at the time (I started formal education in English at the age of 10) the words and structure just sounded very familiar to me. I can't explain why, but my understanding of English is much deeper than of German and French, even though I spent a LOT more time and effort learning those languages. I am convinced it has to do with the early age of exposure to English. That's why I would always try to expose children to other languages as young as possible. And by being able to compare several languages in your head, you develop a wider perspective.

Early immersion doesn't mean my English is perfect - far from actually, because I was so far ahead of my peers I never learned any grammar rules and I've just been playing by ear for the last 25 years.
A formal early immersion program would make sure the language was learned properly.

Curiously, all my carers only spoke a dialect and that dialect is also my parents' first language. My parents decided to only let me speak the "proper" Dutch language. 75% of the language that was spoken to me in childhood was the dialect, I understand every word of it, I can do the accent and repeat stories told by others but I just can't really speak It. It feels weird to not being able to hold a conversation in your mother tongue.

RetiredAt63

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Re: Spanish Immersion Elementary School
« Reply #19 on: October 12, 2020, 10:27:39 AM »
From personal experience. . .

DD did French immersion in elementary school.  Many of my students did French immersion and then went to English high schools, and they told me they lost a lot of their French.  So DD went to a French HS, and is completely bilingual.  I do see side effects when she makes mistakes in English grammar that are the same mistakes all my Francophone students made.

Two further thoughts.

1. Watching TV in the new language is really helpful for the student.
2. If your children do HS in the second language, their literary references won't match yours.  DD does not get my Shakespeare references, because she studied Moliere.

TrMama

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Re: Spanish Immersion Elementary School
« Reply #20 on: October 13, 2020, 11:06:53 AM »
Sorry to spam, but one last thought.

Speaking another language opens you up to experiencing culture and the world in a way that is closed to monolingual people. I personally have benefited from this by being able go see aspects of France and French culture that you donít experience not speaking the language. I can see that life can be lived differently than how I grew up, for example, I can appreciate how valuing different things results in societies operating differently. I can see that some of the challenges in the US that seem insurmountable are in fact solvable because other countries have found solutions by approaching it differently. I have made friendships with people from a variety of countries based solely, initially at least, by us having a common language of French. It has added richness to my life far beyond any monetary gain.

So much this. This is the main reason we're sticking with French Immersion and it actually has nothing to do with the language.

Over the past 2 years my job has evolved to include change management and problem solving across multiple locations in the US and Canada. So I spend a lot of time trying to figure out new ways of doing things with my US colleagues. It drives me up the fucking wall that every time we come across a new problem, the US people can't seem to look any further than their own navels wrt to solving it. Every. Single. Time. it's like reinventing the wheel. It never occurs to them to simply look outside their own borders to see if someone else has maybe come up with a solution that may have merit. I know there are many reasons for this way of thinking but part of me thinks that if more of them were bi or multilingual there'd be more plasticity in their problem solving abilities.

I did Spanish language immersion from 10 to 16 years old. I have received no benefit from it personally or professionally. Sure I can talk to Spanish speaking people in Spanish. I could read a book in Spanish. I don't though. I have been able to give directions in Spanish a couple of times.

For the type of jobs you can get(not comprehensive):
International development in South American countries
Painter (in my area most painters are Hispanic)
Social worker at a non profit that serves recent Hispanic immigrants
Bank teller in an area with a lot of Hispanic immigrants
As far as I have seen if you are serious about getting a job that requires Spanish you need to be fluent, and you will be competing with Hispanic people for those jobs

By the time your 7 year old will be an adult people who need it will have translation software. Already now you can take a picture of something and you can get a translation.

I'm not opposed to language immersion programs but I don't think you can make the case that it will improve their job search 10 to 15 years from now.

This is definitely a concern of mine.  Yes, it's a resume builder to be bi-lingual, but what sorts of jobs ACTUALLY value that.

I've never gotten a job that required my second language. However, it's been very helpful a few times in making me a more valuable employee. For example in my current job I'm a tech writer for an IT company. One of our goals is to make the software application we sell multi-lingual. So I've taken on a bunch of duties wrt to content localization for our GUI and user documentation.

Interestingly, French isn't actually one of the languages we need but the process of translating our content into French has been an excellent exercise in working out a bunch of bugs that makes things go more smoothly, and more cheaply, for the other target languages. I've also rewritten parts of the user documentation so it translates faster and more accurately. Being bilingual has helped me save the company a bunch of money. Something I make sure to point out at review time.

ysette9

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Re: Spanish Immersion Elementary School
« Reply #21 on: October 16, 2020, 08:18:53 AM »
The first part of my career was spent in US aerospace which is very US-centric. Hell, they still engineer using Imperial units if you can wrap your mind around that.

Then I went to Big Tech Company. One of the things that I found fascinating was their deliberate emphasis on the importance of all viewpoints in their product making. I expected this to be somewhat the usual corporate bullshit, but they were deadly serious. They make products that are intended to be used by billions of people around the globe and the only way they can grab and maintain market share is if the products are language/region/cultural-specific.

What this means is that it is really important for designers to be cognizant that the product must be adaptable to other world perspectives in order to be successful. Having been exposed to other languages and cultures helps open the brain to the type of thinking required to be successful

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Re: Spanish Immersion Elementary School
« Reply #22 on: October 17, 2020, 06:06:40 AM »
My company is opening a plant in a city with many spanish speakers in the SW US.

Many of the employees will be native spanish speakers. When hiring pretty much any position you'll have an edge of you speak Spanish and for some it's required. HR, training, engineering, supply chain, etc.

I can't say what it's going to be like in 20 years but if this pandemic has shown me anything it's that I want actual human connection, not zoom meetings and google translate.

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Re: Spanish Immersion Elementary School
« Reply #23 on: October 17, 2020, 03:05:36 PM »
I have several friends who are attorneys in New York who are bilingual (Spanish and Korean). Anyway, they now work for smaller firms and being fluent in those languages has really helped them bringing in clients.  I think that there are many careers like this.  For example, if you are a doctor or nurse in the US and you speak Spanish, I bet it would help you a lot with patients who don't speak English.

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Re: Spanish Immersion Elementary School
« Reply #24 on: October 18, 2020, 08:24:04 AM »
I did Spanish language immersion from 10 to 16 years old. I have received no benefit from it personally or professionally. Sure I can talk to Spanish speaking people in Spanish. I could read a book in Spanish. I don't though. I have been able to give directions in Spanish a couple of times.

For the type of jobs you can get(not comprehensive):
International development in South American countries
Painter (in my area most painters are Hispanic)
Social worker at a non profit that serves recent Hispanic immigrants
Bank teller in an area with a lot of Hispanic immigrants
As far as I have seen if you are serious about getting a job that requires Spanish you need to be fluent, and you will be competing with Hispanic people for those jobs

By the time your 7 year old will be an adult people who need it will have translation software. Already now you can take a picture of something and you can get a translation.

I'm not opposed to language immersion programs but I don't think you can make the case that it will improve their job search 10 to 15 years from now.

This is definitely a concern of mine.  Yes, it's a resume builder to be bi-lingual, but what sorts of jobs ACTUALLY value that.

US companies with branches in Central/South America? My cousin dual-majored in business and Spanish and made his way up the ranks at an auto supplier because he could easily monitor/run their facility in Mexico. He retired early from that job and now heads a Latino entrepreneur-focused non-profit.

A friend of mine similarly majored in business and Spanish. Her previous employer was a tech company with a branch in Mexico, so she handled a lot of the communications with that office. I donít know how much she uses Spanish in her current job, but it certainly hasnít hurt her.