Dual-language program hailed by parents, community

One of the content books for the dual language program at John Murdy elementary school of Garden Grove Unified School District. (Photo: Titi Mary Tran)

Titi Mary Tran/Nguoi-Viet English

Don Luong’s son won’t enter kindergarten until the fall of 2019, but he’s already starting to think about his education.

He was one of a number of community members, educators and linguist professionals who attended a curriculum showcase recently at John Murdy Elementary School to learn about and offer feedback about the pilot Vietnamese-English dual-language program launched this fall at the school.

A foreign language program for elementary students once were found only in private schools. Now, both the Garden Grove and Westminster school districts have introduced Vietnamese-language programs for even the youngest students.

And Luong, for one, said he was impressed by what he saw.

“This is something I’ve been dreaming about, and actually seeing it is very exciting,” he said. “I have already been interested in enrolling my kid, and tonight might have been cemented it.”

Parents and community members examine program content and curriculum presented at showcase. (Photo: Titi Mary Tran)

Among the parents who attended the event were Loan Huynh and Linh Nguyen who have children in the program at Murdy. They brought their children to the program, and when asked to sing a Vietnamese alphabet song, they did so with confidence.

“I have a 5-year-old kid, and he didn’t want to speak Vietnamese,” Nguyen said. “But after being in the program, he now talks in Vietnamese. He seems to be happier and only reads what the teacher taught him.”

Reading books in Vietnamese and English. (Photo: Titi Mary Tran)

Murdy was chosen to pilot the Vietnamese-English immersion program because 72 percent of the school’s pupils are Vietnamese. The school also is located in the heart of Little Saigon. Because the program was initiated by the community in collaboration with the school board, the most important aspect of learning – language and content – can be tailored to the area’s cultural dynamics.

“I think it’s important throughout this process to get community input, attend to the community values, their concerns, and to be able to understand what those concerns are and what the community is looking for,” said Natalie Tran, director of the National Resources Center for Asian Languages. “Regardless of what you teach, to be an effective teacher you have to be understand the students, whether through languages or culture. Without the understanding, it is extremely difficult.”

“In my opinion, students should be your number one priority,” Tran continued.

One of the showcases of dual language content and curriculum. (Photo: Titi Mary Tran)

What’s being taught in school and what instructions are given in the classroom concern Vietnamese parents. While being aware of the social, cultural and political dynamics of their service area, educators and program administrators also have to adhere to state standards when writing the curriculum for the Vietnamese dual-language program.

Luisa Rogers, the director of English learner program in the Garden Grove Unified School District, said, the program was formed through the work of a focus group of teachers, instructional coaches and Vietnamese administrators who helped us put together a resource and what was available in the community. Then a plan of action was put in place with the help of the National Resources Center for Asian Languages and aligned with state standards, she said.

The program also utilizes other teaching materials that are available in the community. (Photo: Titi Mary Tran)

“So when we know we have big themes such as friendships, family, food, farm animals, nature, friends, and neighborhoods, we start to see what books we have to help us fill that gap,” she said. A team also visited Seattle to research another Vietnamese program and view its materials.

Bringing the Vietnamese language to the public school system was a passion for former GGUSD school board member Bao Nguyen. Now, it is a sense of pride.

“I’m so passionate about this is because when I grew up I didn’t have this,” he said. “This is one way to make sure our language is in the mainstream so the kids are not ashamed of Vietnamese when they learn it.”

Báo Người Việt hoan nghênh quý vị độc giả đóng góp và trao đổi ý kiến. Chúng tôi xin quý vị theo một số quy tắc sau đây:

Tôn trọng sự thật.
Tôn trọng các quan điểm bất đồng.
Dùng ngôn ngữ lễ độ, tương kính.
Không cổ võ độc tài phản dân chủ.
Không cổ động bạo lực và óc kỳ thị.
Không vi phạm đời tư, không mạ lỵ cá nhân cũng như tập thể.

Tòa soạn sẽ từ chối đăng tải các ý kiến không theo những quy tắc trên.

Xin quý vị dùng chữ Việt có đánh dấu đầy đủ. Những thư viết không dấu có thể bị từ chối vì dễ gây hiểu lầm cho người đọc. Tòa soạn có thể hiệu đính lời văn nhưng không thay đổi ý kiến của độc giả, và sẽ không đăng các bức thư chỉ lập lại ý kiến đã nhiều người viết. Việc đăng tải các bức thư không có nghĩa báo Người Việt đồng ý với tác giả.

‘Crazy Rich Asians’ an important step in English-speaking countries

If you grew up in Asia and watched a lot of movies that have Asian stars, it isn’t a big deal to see “Crazy Rich Asians” on the big screen.

World Cup brings back the old world for elderly Vietnamese-Americans

Hundreds of soccer fans fill the newspaper’s community room and yell out any missed opportunities on near-goals.

Dispelling the stereotype: Vietnamese American high school students rely on self-resilience to achieve graduation

Titi Mary Tran/ Nguoi Viet English Alvin Nguyen, Donny Pham, Cathy Duong and Long Ho are four of thousands of high school seniors in California who are graduating this month. At first glance, this group of Vietnamese American high school...

The Bun Bo Hue chay, healthy and homey Vietnamese vegetarian dish with stylish taste

Vietnamese spicy beef noodle soup, or Bun Bo Hue chay, gets me every time.

Viet Stories exhibit to close

Titi Mary Tran YORBA LINDA, Calif. — Viet Stories, an exhibit that highlights the accomplishments, hardships and experiences of Vietnamese Americans, will end May 28 and faces an uncertain future. The exhibit, which began Feb. 17, is at the Richard Nixon...

The Quiet Vietnamese Mothers: an untold story

Mothers rarely receive the recognition they deserve. The same for my mother, who grew up with and survived the war in Vietnam.

The path to the perfect wedding dress is filled with sparkles, ‘con artists’ and A-Lines

Titi Mary Tran/ Nguoi Viet English The time for the wedding dress has come. After the reception and ceremony, the wedding dress probably is one of the most difficult items to find and one of the most expensive wedding costs the...

Wedding planning journal first page: Budget and Location

Wedding planning can be very stressful and overwhelming. A journal to planning a wedding in Orange County, California.

Traditional meals for Tet

Titi Mary Tran/ Nguoi Viet English Tet, the Vietnamese celebration of the Lunar New Year, is this weekend - Friday through Sunday.  Relatives from overseas and out of states are arriving to visit loved ones and gather around their "anchored"...

Little Saigon prepares flower market for Tet 2018

Titi Mary Tran/ Nguoi Viet English WESTMINSTER, Calif. (NV) - When the sun sets on Thursday, owners of flower shops and Tet's games and trucks start pouring in Asian Garden Mall, preparing for the opening of Tet's flower market Friday,...