English-language Immersion in Mexican Schools

The following account of the English-language immersion programs found in top Mexican schools was e-mailed to our OneNation.org web site.

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Having spent eleven years as the Director (Superintendent of Schools) at the Colegio Americano de Monterrey, Mexico (American School of Monterrey), I am familar with the advantages of teaching in English to students who come to the school with little or no English and the disadvantages of trying to deal with a bilingual/English as a second language program.

The Colegio Americano de Monterrey, Mexico was a co-educational, pre-school through high school institution. Ninety-five percent of the students were Mexican youngsters who came to the school with little or no English. The other five percent were U.S. or third-country youth. The enrollment topped 1,400 students all grades. English was the academic language. All courses were taught in English except for one hour a day of Spanish. The social language was Spanish. The texbooks were U.S. texbooks in English except for the Spanish books used in the Spanish classes. The teaching faculty was composed of one-half U.S. certified teachers and nearly one-half Mexican teachers who had met teaching requirements in the various U.S. states. A few of the teachers were third-country.

Upon completing the high school American and Mexican) the students were admitted to schools in United States, Mexico, Latin America, and Europe. The students could take the SAT in either English or Spanish. Many took both and recorded the higher score. Former students have attended major U.S. universities including Stanford, Ivy League, and U.S. military.

The students came from the Monterrey communities. Most of the parents did not speak English. I think one of the main reasons, if not the main reason the parents were very anxious to get their children in the Colegio Americano de Monterrey was so that they could learn and function in English. Many prominent Mexicans including the Governor of Nuevo Leon and the state director of education had their children in the school.

I know this type of education works, and I know that “English as a Second Language” (ESL) programs and the current bilingual education all too often results with poor, limited English and or a bad mixture of the two languages.

George E Winslow, Ed.D.
E-Mail: nabud@cruzio.com

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