FLES (Foreign Language in the Elementary School)Why FLES?Some of the reasons for having a FLES program:
USC's Elementary Spanish ProgramWe have planned our Spanish curriculum following the insights and hypothesis of many foreign language teachers and researchers who have preceded us. Two such researchers, Krashen and Terrell, believe that language acquisition occurs in three stages called the Natural Approach. These stages are comprehension, early speech production, and speech emergence.In the first stage, students begin to comprehend the new language that is being used. This language is used to describe things that are important to the students, various aspects of their surroundings, and different topics that are relevant to the students' lives.In the second stage, students begin to answer simple questions with single or two word answers and they begin to participate in simple dialogue.Finally, in the third stage, speech becomes more spontaneous and students begin to participate in games and recreational activities while using their foreign language.What is important to note, is that in the initial phase of language learning, there is little, if any, emphasis on reading and writing. The Natural Approach follows the same pattern for learning the second language as it does for a first language. We will be focusing on comprehension and language production so that when the students begin to read and write in Spanish, their language base will be strong enough so that they will feel comfortable expressing themselves through reading and writing.
- promotes appreciation and understanding of other cultures
- pronunciation is learned more easily in the early years
- improves students' command of English through crossover derivations and contrasts
- serves as an intellectual challenge for children
- is consistent with education trends of the times
Learning a second language is quite a natural process for children. Research shows that students who begin second language learning before the age of ten can develop near native accents and, over time, the language proficiency of a native speaker.