A Tale of Two Schools Developing Sustainable Early Foreign Language Programs Author: Richard Donato, G. Richard Tucker

Paperback - 192 pages
Related Formats:
16 Sep 2010
New Perspectives on Language and Education
Multilingual Matters
210 x 148

Key features

- Longitudinal comparative study of foreign language programs in two schools

- A unique assessment system using various data points to provide a comprehensive picture of the life of the program and cumulative achievements

- Analysis of programs from the perspective of sustainable environmental development


This volume documents a sixteen-year longitudinal study of two elementary schools in which Spanish and Japanese foreign language programs were implemented and evaluated. Evaluation of the programs involved documenting children’s language development, assessing the attitudes of various constituents, and examining critical issues related to the introduction and successful operation of a well articulated sequential foreign language program in schools. The volume concludes with a discussion of possible reasons why over time certain sequential foreign language programs flourish and grow while other programs are reduced or eliminated from the school’s curriculum. Parallels with the theory and practice of environmental sustainable development are used as a framework for this analysis.


This book will be invaluable to educators and parents needing practical and accessible research-based advice on developing, implementing and evaluating foreign language learning programs in elementary and middle schools.

- Merrill Swain, University of Toronto, Canada

Using the contrastive stories of two early foreign language programs, the authors provide longitudinal research-based evidence of program practices and outcomes that focus attention on the critical questions of students’ ability to achieve language competence and cultural understanding and on program sustainability. The authors provide implications for future research and invaluable recommendations for enhancing the sustainability of both new and on-going early foreign language programs.

- Marcia Rosenbusch, Iowa State University, USA

The longitudinal study of these two early foreign language programs broadly provides fascinating insights into language learning and teaching in general...Most importantly, this volume makes a signifi cant contribution to the fi eld of language education by illuminating the ways in which internal and external factors impact the implementation processes.

- Studies in Second Language Acquisition / Volume 34 / Issue 03 / September 2012, pp 520 521 - Sachiko Y. Horii, University of Minnesota

Author Biography:

Richard Donato is an Associate Professor of Foreign and Second Language Education and chair of the Department of Instruction and Learning at the University of Pittsburgh. His publications include studies of early foreign language learning, sociocultural theory and foreign and second language learning, and classroom interaction. In addition to his work in North America, he has worked in Mali and in Thailand.

G. Richard Tucker is Paul Mellon University Professor of Applied Linguistics at Carnegie Mellon University. He has published widely concerning diverse aspects of second language learning and teaching and language policy and planning. In addition to his work in North America, he has lived and worked as a Language Education advisor for the Ford Foundation in Southeast Asia and in the Middle East and North Africa.

Readership Level:

Postgraduate, Research / Professional, Undergraduate

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