Utah Valley University hosts dual language-immersion fairs for elementary school students
University Marketing & Communications: Layton Shumway | 801-863-6863 | LShumway@uvu.edu
Written by: Barbara Christiansen | 801-863-8208 | BarbaraC@uvu.edu
One of Utah Valley University’s core themes is inclusivity, which is reflected in its students and faculty from around the world. Recently, however, there have been languages other than English heard on campus, but they have been coming from fourth, fifth and sixth grade students who have been attending dual language immersion fairs.
A French immersion fair hosted 250 students; a Chinese fair had 160 attending. Friday, a fair for Spanish immersion students is slated to host nearly 500 from seven schools.
The students come from schools across Utah, where they spend most of their time in the classroom focusing on their new language. When they come to the UVU fair, they have activities and competitions related to the language.
Those competitions include impromptu talks on topics previously identified. The students have 60 seconds to prepare for 60-second talks. There are two- to three-minute skits and original oratories of one to two minutes, which the students prepare ahead of time. Another competition involves visual interpretation, in which the students see a picture projected and present a short impromptu talk related to it.
“The kids absolutely love the competitions,” said Emily Tooy, associate director of Global Academic Programming at UVU. “We have first, second and third place winners, which are presented in an award ceremony later in the day. We also give trophies for the overall winning schools.”
In both the activities and the competitions, UVU students from the language department serve as volunteers, either helping conduct the activities or serving as judges for the competitions.
Faculty members who are involved with teaching the students and know their personalities recruit the volunteers from their classes to help with the fairs. Some have volunteered to serve a second year. This is the third year for the language immersion fairs. Next year, there will be another fair focusing on Portuguese.