Education Week - July 8, 2015 - (Page 8)

National Spanish Spelling Bee-File Three finalists compete in the 2014 National Spanish Spelling Bee. Judith Villa, center right, and Stephanie Lara Arevalo, listen while Andres Arreola, the eventual winner, spells a word. Ivan Pierre Aguirre for Education Week Spelling-en Español- Catches On, With Bees In Multiple States Spanish-language contests grow By Jacob Bell The nation's best spellers-en Espa ñol-will go head-to-head next week in Albuquerque, N.M., to battle for the national championship title in the Concurso Nacional de Deletreo en Español, or the National Spanish Spelling Bee. Following on the heels of the wildly popular, espn -broadcast Scripps National Spelling Bee- which had co-champions for the second year-the fifth annual National Spanish Spelling Bee this year will feature a mix of young spellers, including some native Spanish-speakers and several who are not. Though the number of participants overall remains small, the number of spellers in the national competition has steadily grown to nearly 30 this year, from 11 in the bee's inaugural year in 2011. Nationwide, local and regional Spanishlanguage spelling bees are happening in at least 10 states. This past spring, the first annual Northeast Regional Spanish Spelling Bee took place in Foxborough, Mass. The state of Oregon has hosted a Spanishlanguage bee for the past five years, while New Mexico's contest has been around for more than 20 years. The Spanish-language bees' morerecent popularity, according to David Briseño, the coordinator for the National Spanish Spelling Bee, stems from a burgeoning recognition of the benefits of bilingualism for students' academic and professional careers. Interest in the Spanish spelling competitions is also another clear signal that the stigma of bilingual education is wearing off as demand grows in school districts across the country for dual-language education, both for students who come from non-Englishspeaking homes and those who are native English-speakers. "People are more comfortable with the idea of globalization and a globalized economy, the idea that bilingualism is going to help their kids get a foothold in college or the job market," said Phillip Carter, an assistant professor of English and linguistics at Florida International University. Highly Marketable That newfound comfort, according to Mr. Carter, is based largely on recent research. A meta-analysis published in 2010 in the journal Review of Educational Research, for example, looked at 63 studies on the cognitive outcomes of bilingualism and found that it correlated with increased creative and divergent thinking, problem-solving, working memory, and ability to pay attention. Proficiency in more than one language has also become a highly marketable skill. In the United States alone, interpreters and translators are the fifthfastest-growing occupation and have a projected growth of 49 percent, or nearly 30,000 jobs, between 2012 and 2022, according to a 2013 report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. For the 4th through 8th grade students who participate in the Spanish-language bees, though, it's more about the thrill of competition. In next week's national bee, competitors from Massachusetts to Oregon must demonstrate their mastery of a list of 2,300 Spanish words, including all the accent marks. Unlike 8 | EDUCATION WEEK | July 8, 2015 | the Scripps spelling bee, there will be no preliminary elimination rounds, Mr. Briseño said.► In years past, most spellers were fully bilingual and the majority have been native Spanish-speakers, Mr. Briseño said. Though non-native Spanish-speakers have never won the national championship, they have done well at other levels of competition. The Northeast Regional Spelling Bee is one such level, according to its founder and director, Annie Azarloza, who is the world-languages instructional leader at the Foxborough Regional Charter School in Massachusetts. At that competition, just five of more than 130 spellers were native Spanish-speakers, she said And in New Mexico, non-native Spanish-speakers have won at district and state-level competitions, according to José Reyes, a bilingual instructional specialist for the Gadsden school district in Sunland Park, N.M., and the planner of its districtwide spelling bee. "I work with 15 elementary schools, three middle schools, and each of those schools prepares children who are either in a bilingual program or a nonbilingual program," said Mr. Reyes. "There are [non-native Spanish-speaking] children who are champions, and it's beautiful." While participation in Spanish spelling bees may be rooted in a mounting movement from parents- especially, as researchers note, those of native English-speaking children- for more dual-language education, students and organizers agree that the competitions' appeal often comes from principles of camaraderie and of honoring language. "There were a couple native speakers in my round, and I enjoyed talking to them from being a nonnative speaker," said Isabel Rowan, a 9th grade student at the Foxborough Regional Charter School and the runner-up of the Northeast Regional Spelling Bee. "I definitely made a couple new friends for the day." Ms. Rowan got her first taste of Spanish spelling bees in 4th grade. Now a student in Advanced Placement Spanish, she said the new people she gets to meet and the fun she has practicing with her teacher are what keeps her coming back to competitions. 'Celebration of Language' Spanish spelling bees, according to Mr. Reyes, tend to be different from contests such as the ncaa basketball tournament, in which many schools are invited but almost all leave as "losers." "We try to avoid that idea," he said. "We try to say 'this is a celebration of language.' " Those celebrations of language, however, are likely to evolve in the wake of increased exposure and participation in the Spanish-language spelling bees. The New Mexico statewide Spanish spelling bee-which has been Silvia Rios reads from a list of Spanish words to help her son, Andres Arreola, prepare for the National Spanish Spelling Bee. Andres, last year's winner, will return to Albuquerque, N.M., later this month to defend his title in the 2015 National Spanish Spelling Bee. around since the mid-1990s-has already developed standardized rules to make it more equitable, said Mr. Reyes, and the Northeast Regional competition is looking to have a larger assemblage of students from different states at next year's event, according to Ms. Azarloza. The national competition is also poised for a change, one that some have been asking for since its early years. Back in 2009, when the National Spanish Spelling Bee was still was more of an idea than a reality, it caught the attention of espn. The sports-broadcasting titan sought a partnership, but backed out shortly after making a promotional video of the competition's 2011 debut. Its reasoning, according to Mr. Briseño, was that the competition wasn't growing fast enough. For its sixth installment next year, the national competition is slated for expansion, with a likely move from its Albuquerque home to San Antonio. The move would put it in the seventh-largest Hispanic television market in the United States, according to consumer-research group Nielsen, and be a step toward branching into other major Hispanic markets-a prerequisite espn had in order to move forward with televising the competition, according to Mr. Briseño. The LEARNING THE LANGUAGE blog tracks news and trends on this issue.

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Education Week - July 8, 2015

Education Week - July 8, 2015
Nev. Moves to Split Clark Co. District
Crazy Quilt of State Responses To Cries of Overtesting
Common Core Trickles Into All States
Advocates Scrutinize Head Start Proposals
Supreme Court To Decide Case On Union Fees
News in Brief
Report Roundup
Ed. School Critic Levine, MIT Partner to Launch Teacher-Prep ‘Lab’
Ariz.’s 20-Year-Old ELL Case May End, But Debate Rages On
Spelling—en Español—Catches On, With Bees in Multiple States
Blogs of the Week
ISTE Conference Examines How Tech Is Reshaping Education
Budgets, Testing Issues Took Legislative Stage
States Struggle With How to Ensure Good Teachers in All Schools
K-12 Issues Fall Within Suite of Recent High Court Rulings
In States, Plenty of Talk But Incremental Action on Early Ed.
Lengthy Floor Debate Looms for U.S. Senate Over ESEA Rewrite
Fresh Entrants in GOP’s Quest For White House
House, Senate Appropriations Bills Would Cut Back Ed. Dept. Funding
What We’ve Learned From a Longer School Day and Year
The Illusion of Closing The Achievement Gap
The ‘Power’ of Adversity
TopSchoolJobs Recruitment Marketplace
Education Scholars: Challenging Racial Injustice Begins With Us

Education Week - July 8, 2015