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Speaking in Tongues (2009)

 |  Documentary  |  April 2009 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.7/10 from 18 users  
Reviews: 4 user | 2 critic

Four students become fluent in second languages while attending public school, with challenging and delightful results.

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While having a diverse ethnic mix of peoples within its borders, institutions in the United States in general strive for a mono-linguistic culture, namely English. However, what is increasingly being offered is language immersion programs in public schools, where everything is conducted in that language, except for the separate English class taught in English. These programs are not only populated by students of that ethnic background, but of other ethnicities as well. Durrell, a black child, is starting in Mandarin immersion. Ethnic Anglo Julian has been in Chinese (both Cantonese and Mandarin) immersion for nine years. Hispanic Jason, whose parents don't speak English, is in Spanish immersion. And Chinese Kelly, whose parents don't speak Cantonese, is in Cantonese immersion. Parents are choosing to send their children to language immersion programs so that they may be provided greater opportunities in their future. Some parents, however, fear that English will be compromised in the ... Written by Huggo

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four kids, four languages, one city, one world





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April 2009 (USA)  »

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Surprisingly engaging documentary
11 January 2010 | by (South Korea) – See all my reviews

The "Speaking in tongues" team does an amazing job at clarifying and focusing on a topic that, initially, would prompt more tedium that fervor. Bi-lingual education might be a hot topic in the educational sphere but is not a natural shoe-in for exciting fare on the big screen. I was floored however, by the artful weaving of elements I witnessed when watching this movie at the San Francisco Independent Film Festival last year. It was only just that the piece went on to win the Audience Award for best Documentary Feature as the unassuming topic steadily and competently gains greater currency as it winds its way along the path of its 4 or 5 main characters, children and young people in school in San Francisco and abroad. By the end of the movie, the audience was left thoroughly gripped by the stories told and inspired by the amazing progress portrayed. Concurrently, without wonkishness, Jarmal and Schneider manage to layout the current state of affairs on this often muddled and misunderstood approach to truly furthering a young person's outlook and skills. A must see for people in this field and a great watch for all.

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