If you are considering enrolling your child in a program that teaches a second language, we can probably guess the first question on your mind: How long will it take? Unfortunately, our answer isn’t so direct: it depends.
It depends on age, time commitment, if there is full or partial immersion in the target language, and how you define fluency.
Conversational fluency is much more quickly attained than fluency in reading and writing, and is incremental based on grade level.
However, as bilingual professionals, we can provide you with our best estimates based current Jump! Immersion School current students, and scores met with SOPA (Student Oral Proficiency Assessment).
For full-time children under twelve years old learning Spanish: At Jump!, we predict roughly 9 months to one year to become conversationally fluent.
For part-time children under twelve years old learning Spanish: At Jump!, we predict roughly one year to eighteen months to become conversationally fluent.
For full-time children under twelve years old learning Mandarin: At Jump! we predict roughly one year to 18 months to become conversationally fluent.
For part-time children under twelve years old learning Mandarin: At Jump! we predict roughly 18 months to 2½ years to become conversationally fluent.
Age is an incredibly important factor when answering the question “how long will it take to become fluent?” Generally, younger students (five and under) have the capacity to learn a language much more quickly than students older than five years old. Older students, eight or nine and older, may learn slightly slower than toddlers or younger children.
Time commitment is essential when becoming fluent in another language. We recommend at least one hour daily of speaking the target language aside from lessons or programs your child is already in.
There is a difference in the time it takes to become fluent across languages. Generally, it takes students less time to become conversationally fluent in Spanish than it takes students to become conversationally fluent in Mandarin.
For full immersion, the length to learn any new language shrinks exponentially. This is why when learning a new language, language professionals highly recommend some form of immersion to hone conversational skills. At Jump!, our method in teaching language fluency is grounded in immersion, and maintain that this is the best way to achieve full conversational fluency.
If you have any more questions on language fluency, feel free to call one of Jump’s centers for more in-depth responses from our education and language professionals.