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Curtain and Dahlberg (2010) in the 4th edition of "Languages and Children: Making the Match" have contributed a redefinition of foreign language elementary school (FLES) teaching and learning. They have coined the term language-focused (i.e., language-driven) models, whose goals are three:

1 to become functionally proficient in the target language (TL)
2 to acquire an understanding and appreciation for the target culture (TC)
3 to demonstrate mastery of the subject content taught in the TL

Curtain and Dahlberg's redefinition of FLES suggests the exclusion of exploratory models because they do not lead to TL proficiency, understanding and appreciation of the TC, and mastery of content taught in the TL.

FLES has historically been loosely used to refer to all primary school FL program models, though differences among those models have long been recognized: i.e., dual-language immersion, immersion, partial immersion, FLES, and exploratory. By in large, time and intensity of focus devoted to FL study is what sets the different models apart. Curtain and Dahlberg provide a continuum of intensity and focus of early language programs which lead to proficiency. Language-focused programs on the low end of the continuum usually provide between 90 and 120 minutes of weekly instruction, whereas full day immersion models deliver all curricular content in the TL. In the case of the former, the main emphasis is language proficiency. With respect to the latter, emphasis is placed on learning content through the target language. That is, developing language proficiency is assisted by means of learning curricular content in the TL. As students' proficiency improves, their ability to manipulate content in the TL increases in complexity and depth.


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