What is Dual Language Immersion?
Dual immersion (or two-way bilingual immersion/TWBI) refers to a program where minority students (or language learners) and majority students (or English speakers) learn together in order to develop both their bilingualism and biliteracy. The minority language (or TARGET language) is not only Spanish, but could also be Japanese, Korean, Cantonese, Chinese, and/or Armenian.
Are all Dual Language Immersion Programs created equal?
Not at all. There are two most commonly used dual immersion programs/models.
*90/10: This is the type of program where 90% of the time/day is taught in the non-English language (starting in kindergarten). The ratio usually decreases 10% per year up to when the ratio is an equal 50/50. In other words, kindergarteners will learn at a ratio of 90/10, first graders will learn 80/20, second graders 70/30, fourth graders 60/40, and fifth grade and up 50/50.
*50/50: This is the type of program where the non-English language is used 50% of the time and English is used the other 50% of the time.
It is important to mention that in either program, whether 90/10 or 50/50, instruction is delivered in both languages – ONE language at a time.
How can I find out which schools in my area have a Dual Language Program?
One of the easiest and most reliable sources of information comes directly from the Department of Education. In California, I would contact the California Department of Education and search the site for key words such as ‘dual language’ or ‘two way immersion.’ In Texas, I would search for the Texas Education Agency, and so on.
Again, this is a very small introduction to Dual Language Programs. As always, I will keep searching and keep looking for information that I believe could help us all.
Heard/worked at a Dual Language School? I would love to hear from you.