11 Replies Latest reply on Aug 17, 2011 7:47 PM by glen_w

    Should Science be Taught in Spanish?

      Austin ISD will have six elementary schools implementing a two-way dual language program.

      From my understanding, math and language arts will be taught in English and science and social studies will be taught in Spanish.

       

      My questions are: should the district have as a goal expanding the dual language program to all schools and

      will teaching science in Spanish make it more difficult for students to learn science vocabulary in English?

      What do you think?

        • Re: Should Science be Taught in Spanish?
          julesfischy

          Eric - as I read this my immediate thought was why not, and am I missing something.  Personally I think that if you have a good teacher and more importantly a good science teacher then it shouldn't make a difference.  I did find a blog from last year on NSTA's site that talks and has comments from others on this same question. 

           

          I also want to add and find out if we have any community members that are involved in a dual language program.  I would love to hear from them on this topic.

          1 of 1 people found this helpful
            • Re: Should Science be Taught in Spanish?

              I checked out the NSTA link and the comments were positive.

              The reason I started this discussion is because if Austin ISD is planning to expand the dual language program, I wondered what I would do if I were asked to teach science in Spanish. I speak Spanish fairly well and would be able to do this, but what about other teachers? Also, would students write and research in Spanish?

               

              I think being bilingual is a tremendous asset, but wonder if Spanish could be taught throughout the day with non-specialized language.

                • Re: Should Science be Taught in Spanish?
                  glen_w

                  Utah has supported an immersion Spanish program for several years. The Spanish Immersion brochure helps parents understand the program before their child signs up for it. I would be at a disadvantage teahing science in Spanish as I do not have the language skills for it. Utah's program, however, includes both an English and Spanish language teacher for content. Perhaps this helps support the teaching.

                   

                  Utah now also offers Chinese Immersion with the same classroom support.

                   

                  I'm interested in knowing how many states support dual language immersion at the level I see here in Utah. Considering how low Utah funds education, why should this kind of a program see such interest and funding?

                    • Re: Should Science be Taught in Spanish?

                      Several years ago, Austin ISD piloted year round schools. They added a few campuses for each of a couple of years and then did a complete turnaround by ending the year-round program altogether. Given funding issues here as well (and the need for hiring a lot more bilingual teachers) I wonder how far this program will go.

                • Re: Should Science be Taught in Spanish?

                  I spoke with a friend of mine who teaches in Dallas. She is interviewing for a second grade job at a dual language school with this format:

                  One teacher teaches all subjects in Spanish to a group for two days. Then that group goes to the other teacher, who continues for the next two days in English. So, while one teacher teaches a group in Spanish, the other teacher is teaching the same material to a different group, but in English. Then they swap. This means that the students would be learning the general and technical vocab in English and Spanish, but the two teachers have to be completely in sync.

                   

                  What do you think about this set-up?

                  • Re: Should Science be Taught in Spanish?

                    The dual language program in Austin is expanding this year. It will be several years before we can assess it's level of success. I plan to check in with my friend from Dallas who may be teaching the English portion of a dual language program to 2nd graders. Again, the system in Dallas is different from Austin (Dallas = 2 days in English, 2 days in Spanish, 2 days in English, etc.; Austin = half day in English - language arts/math and half day in Spanish - social studies/science).

                      • Re: Should Science be Taught in Spanish?
                        glen_w

                        Both programs sound like they could be effective. I like having two teachers - even those splitting time - to do this language instruction. I was worred that one teacher would need to do English and Spanish instruction at the same time while trying to teach content. In my opinion, this could become a huge challenge for the teacher. I look forward to hearing how things go in both districts.