- Monolingualism is the Illiteracy of the Twenty-First Century
cultural competence/competencia cultural/competência cultural, dual language/dos lenguas/duas línguas, multilingual skills/destrezas multilingües/habilidades multilíngues, university coursework in high school/cursos universitarios durante escuela secundaria/cursos universitários no ensino médio
Response 2 to "Language Proficiency: Envisioning the Win in the High School Spanish Classroom"
Monolingualism is the illiteracy of the twenty-first century. On today's world stage, multilingual skills and cultural competence have taken lead roles in building a future global workforce. In response, the state of Utah is implementing an ambitious and unprecedented initiative to ameliorate language skills that address the state's business, government, and education needs. In 2008, under the visionary leadership of former Governor Jon Huntsman and State Senator Howard Stephenson, the Utah Legislature passed Senate Bill 41 (2008), providing funding for Dual Language Immersion (DLI) and charging the Utah State Office of Education (USOE) with creating a world-class DLI program. Utah's quest is to provide all students with the opportunity to become linguistically proficient and culturally competent in multiple languages. This means mainstreaming DLI for students of diverse abilities across all socioeconomic, ethnic, rural, urban, large and small school communities throughout the state (Leite and Cook 2015). Legislators and business leaders believe this to be a critical long-term investment in the viability and vitality of Utah's future economic competitiveness.
In addition, Utah is committed to being responsive to the priorities of the native-speaking and heritage populations thriving in its communities (Eaton 2016). Utah is favored with the significant presence of a large Hispanic community and a fast growing Brazilian community, for whom the priority of preserving and passing on to future generations the rich tapestry of their language and culture parallels the state's goal of eradicating monolingualism. Therefore, both the Spanish and Portuguese DLI programs have intentionally grounded their respective literacy programs in the principles of responsive curriculum and instruction by 1) adopting authentic programs developed by and designed for native speakers, rich with cultural references; 2) embracing pedagogy that is highly student centered; 3) creating channels to facilitate meaningful interpersonal connections for the students through school partnerships with Brazil and Spanish speaking countries; 4) purposely hiring highly qualified international teachers from Brazil, Mexico, Peru, and Spain, who bring their native language and culture live to the classroom, validating the cultural and linguistic identity of our native-speaking and heritage students! [End Page 116]
DLI in Utah enjoys broad-based, cross-sectional support from our state community. Currently, there are 87 Spanish (30 two-way, 29 one-way, 28 secondary) and 6 Portuguese DLI schools in the state. With a rich diversity of languages, Utah also has 47 Chinese (33 one-way, 14 secondary), 20 French (13 one-way, 7 secondary), and 2 German DLI schools, with plans to add Russian and Arabic in the future. Utah DLI will serve over 32,000 students for the 2016–17 school year across 22 school districts and four charters from every corner of Utah. Despite the rapid increase in the number of schools, the state still falls short of meeting the current demand, as seen by the long wait lists that are common throughout the state.
Utah educational leaders thoughtfully and intentionally selected a model that is not only rooted in research-based principles and practices of second language teaching, but is also responsive to the political landscape of the state and best meets its students' needs. Utah's DLI schools implement a fifty-fifty, two-teacher model for grades K–6, in which students spend half of their school day in the target language and the other half-day in English (Watzinger-Tharp, Swenson, and Mayne 2016). In grades seven and eight, the program offers a world language honors course and a culture, history and media course. In grade nine, participating students are expected to enroll in Advanced Placement (AP) language coursework and complete the AP exam or its language specific equivalent.
Recently, Utah's K–12 program became a K–16 reality with the passage of Senate Bill 152 (2016), sponsored by...