What is Dual Language Immersion (DLI)?
Immersion means a student is completely immersed in the second language. The Mandarin language teacher will speak only Mandarin Chinese. Our immersion program is sponsored by both our district and state. We implement the state’s research-based 50/50 model. 50/50 means the students are taught for 50% of the day in English and 50% of the day in Chinese. Students in grades 1-3 are taught Chinese language arts, math, and science in Chinese, and English language arts, social studies, and math review in English. Students in grades 4-5 are taught Chinese language arts, science and math review in Chinese, and English language arts, social studies and math in English. Students learn the Utah core curriculum as well as learning a second language.
The immersion model has proven to be the most effective model for learning a second language. Studies have shown that students who are in immersion programs score as well as or better than their peers on English standardized tests, develop greater cognitive flexibility, and benefit from understanding and appreciating another culture.
How does the Chinese Language Immersion program work at Draper?
Our Chinese DLI program at Draper is in place in grades 1-5. Families that are interested in applying for the Chinese DLI program apply through our district application process. Each grade has two DLI classes, with up to 56 DLI students total per grade. We strive to maintain fidelity to the DLI model by protecting our Chinese classrooms from English. Beginning in January of 1st grade and October of 2nd grade, we encourage our students to speak ONLY in Chinese while in the Chinese classroom. This expectation continues at the beginning of the year for students in grades 3-5.
While participation in our Chinese program creates a supportive community of second-language learners, we also strive to create a feeling of unity across and within grade level teams by organizing our schedule so that the two dual immersion classes interact with their general education peers during recess, lunch, PE, Music, Library, Art, and Computers.
Draper Mandarin language teachers come from a variety of backgrounds. Some of our teachers are residents of Utah and citizens of the US, who have either learned the language as a child at home or as a second-language as a young-adult. Many of our local teachers have family in China and/or Taiwan, and often make visits to see their families during summer break We also are privileged to have international guest teachers that teach our Mandarin classes at Draper. We have guest teachers from both Taiwan and China, and all of our international teachers are experienced and professional educators in their own countries. They bring a great deal of expertise and authenticity to our language classrooms.
Draper English language teachers are highly qualified educators that are skilled at collaborating in a DLI teaching partnership. Our English teachers have expertise in teaching their grade level curriculum, as well as coordinating efforts and communication between school and families. We are proud of our faculty at Draper Elementary, and our English and Chinese teachers represent the excellence and professional found in every classroom at our school.
Cultural Appreciation is an important aspect of Draper Elementary. We value the fine arts, including visual art and music. In the same way, we value learning about other cultures, languages, and countries. Our Chinese dual immersion program is an integrated curriculum within a school environment that values ALL students, ALL cultures, and we seek creative pursuits that add richness and beauty to the ongoing learning and achievement that takes place at Draper School.