Date of Award

Spring 1-1-2015

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Speech, Language & Hearing Sciences

First Advisor

Christine Yoshinaga-­‐Itano

Second Advisor

Susan Moore, J.D

Third Advisor

Pui Fong Kan

Fourth Advisor

Karin Beorger

Abstract

Currently, there is a national dialogue regarding the increase in children who speak Spanish as their primary language (L1). The US Department of Education reported that in 2008-2009, 77.2% of English Language Learners (ELLs) in grades pre-kindergarten to 12 spoke Spanish as their primary language. In addition, there is a shortage of adequately trained bilingual service providers in the field of speech-language pathology to meet the needs of these ELLs. This paper will examine if 32 hours of immersive Spanish instruction during a two-week educational excursion to La Paz, Mexico is sufficient in improving SLP graduate students' level of fluency in conversational Spanish language skills and confidence in skills required to provide bilingual therapies of graduate level students. Findings suggest that in order to achieve fluency and confidence in skills required to provide bilingual therapies during this two-week immersive trip, Spanish language abilities must already be at an advanced level. If skills are not already at this advanced level, 32 hours of immersive Spanish instruction will improve linguistic abilities and increase confidence, but not achieve the level necessary to be effective bilingual service providers for all participants. Not surprisingly, the level of Spanish proficiency pre 32 hours of immersion is an important variable.

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