Why It Takes a Leap of Faith To Support Dual Language Programs

While dual-language immersion programs are showing to be the best way to teach children in two languages, the program is still young and treated with deference by most public education systems.
Kindergarteners in dual-language immersion programs are focusing on learning languages instead of standards for English-only schools. Teachers have to make parents understand once their kids have transferred over to full English in the 4th grade their standardized test scores will improve greatly, according to a recent SpanglishBaby.com article.
Standard tests were not created with early language-learning programs in mind, according to the article. The majority of schools with the programs have lower-than-average-ratings or have been deemed “underperforming” schools.
The benefits of bilingualism later in life should not be missed because the education system is trying to catch up with the realities of the growing Latino population in the U.S., according to the article. Once students get their feet firmly planted in English, they will quickly catch up to their mono-lingual peers.
 

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One thought on “Why It Takes a Leap of Faith To Support Dual Language Programs

  1. As a Bilingual Educator I am always interested in the trends that impact the field. Under the umbrella of Bilingual Education there is Dual Language Immersion, Transitional Bilingual and Maintenance Bilingual. Connecticut has had an ambivalent relationship with our programming for assorted reasons. The State, ascribing to a three year limit in Transitional Bilingual Education, for example, has short changed many students in spite of the fact that some of the more effective teaching has been taking place in that program (Bilingual Certified teachers actually being bilingual/bicultural; SIOP trained, for instance). Language proficiency takes 5-7 years (and proficiency is different from mastery). Yet, Bilingual Students are expected to partake in CT’s CMT’s (a standardized exam based in Academic English) in the third grade! As I had stated to Rep. Williams, we cut the students at the knees by exiting them before they’re ready and demanding that they perform as well as their monolingual English speaking counterparts. REALLY?!
    This is a set up. Instead of viewing the students with resources the State views them as deficient because of their English language status.Then the response is to dismantle the program instead of setting a more realistic timeline and fortifying the program to provide Gifted and Talented opportunity to these students. PLEASE, this game is soo old.

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