The nature of today’s global economy demands that students demonstrate high levels of proficiency in foreign languages. To meet global demand, most countries around the world are including comprehensive world language instruction in their educational systems beginning at an early age. The increasingly multi-lingual nature of culture within and beyond the Unites States. is escalating the importance of immersing students in world languages as early as possible to ensure a high level of written and oral foreign language skill proficiency by the time students graduate from high school. However, most American students do not have the opportunity to study a world language before middle school and often not until they are in high school. Thus, most students graduating from public schools in the Unites States lack the same level of foreign language proficiency found in similar countries such as Canada to the north. A key controversial issue in the field of world language education in the United States is related to appropriate timing and intensity of students’ exposure to learning a foreign language. The approach to world language instruction currently provided in the public middle schools in the United States is not enough to become proficient in two basic foreign language skills; speaking and understanding. Supplemental immersion experiences have been found to enhance proficiency levels, however there is little student-centered research that describes students’ perspective on the value of camp activities. Therefore, I conducted a qualitative participatory observer action research study focused on a four-weekend Spanish immersion camp involving a group of middle school students in their second year of world language instruction to elicit and describe how, if at all, campers perceive that camp experiences contributed to the retention and development of their Spanish language skills. This study found that the immersion experience significantly improved students’ language. Students appreciated the practical nature of the camp that required the use and development of conversational Spanish skills as a vehicle to increase their world language communicative skills. Each activity provided throughout the Weekend Spanish Immersion Camp was planned to entertain students while directly supporting language usage. The practical nature of the camp’s structure reinforced the importance of what they were learning because they saw for themselves how their new found knowledge could be used both within and outside the classroom setting.
|Advisor:||Thao, Yer J.|
|Commitee:||Cooper, Joanna E., Davies, Alex Xander, de Anda, Roberto|
|School:||Portland State University|
|School Location:||United States -- Oregon|
|Source:||DAI-A 82/1(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Foreign language education, Middle School education|
|Keywords:||Camp, Immersion, Instruction, Situated learning, Spanish, World language|
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