|Definition of Dual language Programs
language programs foster bilingualism, biliteracy, enhanced awareness of
linguistic and cultural diversity, and high levels of academic achievement
through instruction in two languages. Dual language is a form of bilingual education
in which students are taught literacy and content in two languages.
There are four main types of dual language programs, which mainly differ in the population:
- Developmental, or maintenance, bilingual programs. These enroll
primarily students who are native speakers of the partner language.
(bilingual) immersion programs. These enroll a balance of native
English speakers and native speakers of the partner language.
- Foreign language immersion, language immersion or one-way immersion. These enroll primarily native English speakers.
language programs. These mainly enroll students who are dominant in
English but whose parents, grandparents, or other ancestors spoke the
There are two basic models:
- Full Immersion (90/10): In two-way
and developmental bilingual programs, the partner language is used most or all
of the day in the primary grades (80-90%). Foreign language (one-way) immersion
programs that implement the full immersion program use the partner language for
100% of subject matter instruction, and in some cases, also offer specialist
classes in the partner language. In all cases, the partner language and English
are used equally in the later grades.
- Partial Immersion (50/50): The
partner language and English are used equally throughout the program.
Current Research Supports Dual Language Programs
Thomas and Collier conducted research throughout the North Carolina school district (2011).
document that Dual language classes increase the Reading and Math achievement of all students regardless of subgroup, and appear to be a substantially effective means of addressing North Carolina’s large achievement gaps for current limited-English-proficient students, non-language minority native-English speaking African-American students, students of low-socioeconomic status and possibly special education students. Based on their research findings, Thomas and Collier recommended to the North Carolina Board of Education that dual language education should be encouraged, developed further, studied longitudinally, and supported in North Carolina school districts that are interested in using this innovation to reform their instruction for all students.