Education News

Evidence Supports Dual Language Programs

Bilingual programs have been around for decades, but dual language immersion is catching on and making a difference for some communities.

Schools in Los Altos, California, have incorporated dual language immersion programs in their elementary schools, and parents couldn’t be happier. Learners spend half the day learning content in Spanish and the other half of the day learning in English. The program is showing significant impact in the way students develop oral and cognitive language proficiency.

While some bilingual education programs seek to transition Spanish speakers into English-language classrooms as quickly as possible, experts believe that children should fully develop in their primary language first.

“So (they are) really never allowing children to fully develop their primary language,” said Cristina Alfaro, a dual language literacy professor at San Diego State University. “And then they are pretty much just put into English and it’s back to sink or swim.”

And test scores show that such students do “sink.”   On the other hand, students who participate in dual language immersion programs “thrive” in comparison to their peers.

Like Los Altos, several San Antonio school districts have also embraced dual language immersion programs, including Northside, Alamo Heights and Edgewood ISD to name a few.

Is dual language immersion right for your child?

Read more about this story at KPBS Public Broadcasting.
Learn about dual language immersion research and best practices.

Photo Courtesy: KPBS Public Broadcasting