• "Something that not everybody has": parents' reasons for enrolling in Spanish immersion program

      Schimmack, Danya; Siekmann, Sabine; Marlow, Patrick; Martelle, Wendy (2018-08)
      Immersion programs are a form of bilingual education where content classes are taught in a second language. Immersion programs are generally optional choices which means that parents must make the conscious decision to enroll their children in the specific program. Thus, my research question: why do parents decide to enroll their children in the Spanish Immersion Program of Chugiak, Alaska? This research question and site were selected based on my own experience as a learner in the program and my personal curiosity towards my own parents' enrollment decisions. This study involved semi-structured interviews with twelve parents, including my own parents, focusing on their reasons for enrolling their children in the Spanish Immersion Program in Chugiak. Findings reflected the general benefits of bilingualism including: academic, cognitive, and social. Participants also noted that the program helped expose their children to other cultures and to have a better understanding of diversity. Several parents also stated that the immersion program would provide their children with a unique and valuable experience that would lead to future opportunities. These findings can help inform other parents that are in the process of deciding where to enroll their children. The findings can also inform schools about what prospective parents value when they are considering different school options.