There are many terms used in this blog that relate to language-learning which might not be familiar to parents of students, or adults who are thinking about taking up learning Chinese. In alphabetical order, below is a glossary of definitions that might be helpful:

bilingual education= Classes in which content is taught in two languages. Bilingual education is generally designed for English language learners.

comprehensible input= Language that can be understood by the listener, although the listener may not be 100% familiar with all vocabulary and structures used in it.

dual-language= This term is used most often by public schools to describe programs in which content and literacy is taught in two languages. In the US, this means English and a target language such as Spanish, Chinese, or French. Students usually start with receiving 90% of instruction in the target language. This percentage is lowered as students progress through the grade levels.

FLES (foreign language in elementary schools)= An umbrella terms for programs for children who are in elementary school. There is a great deal of variation in FLES programs, some may have class for only an hour a week.

immersion= Immersion is often used synonymously with dual-language. The goal of an immersion program is proficiency in a target language, such as Chinese, Spanish or French.

legacy methods= These include using verb charts, teaching lists of vocabulary, doing fill-in-the-blank activities, etc. Legacy methods tend to teach students about a language (i.e. describing the grammar) at the expense of helping them become proficient in the target language.

output= Output is the language that the students produce.

proficiency= This is a high degree of ability in a language. Proficiency can be tested, while we tend to think of fluency as something more subjective.

SLA (second-language acquisition)= The process by which learners acquire a second language. Remember that humans have been acquiring second (and more) languages since before we had schools.

tasks= Tasks are more than just activities to do during class. Tasks have a purpose and always include an outcome that is not language. Tasks may include: filling in a chart, creating a list of interview questions, drawing something, making an oral report, creating a survey, etc.

two-way immersion= Two-way immersion is a for of dual-language education. In a TWI class in the US, there are roughly equal numbers of native English speakers and native speakers of another language such as Spanish.


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