Next year, California State University, Fullerton will offer a program leading to a BA in Vietnamese language and culture, and certification for teachers of Vietnamese as a foreign language.
Cal State Fullerton education professor Natalie Tran explained the rationale. “Typically, what they (teachers of Vietnamese) do is they have a credential in another content area, like a science or math,” she said. This program is a first of its kind for California teachers.
Garden Grove School District now offers Vietnamese at five of its seven high schools, and Superintendent Gabriela Mafi says demand is growing. “We also are launching at intermediate schools — our intermediate schools are grades 7 and 8 — next year a Vietnamese language class that will be the foundational Vietnamese class so they can enter into high school at level two.”
About 200,000 Americans of Vietnamese origin live in California’s Orange County, many around Garden Grove. The population was established nearly 40 years ago by refugees escaping the Vietnam War and its aftermath.
There is also a movement among parents to convince Garden Grove Unified to start a Vietnamese dual-language immersion program. It would be the first in California.