Dual Language

Discussion in 'General Education' started by KinderCowgirl, Dec 3, 2014.

  1. KinderCowgirl

    KinderCowgirl Phenom

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    Dec 3, 2014

    Has anyone worked at a school that became a dual language campus? I'm wondering about pros and cons. It's becoming popular in our district right now and the goal is to have everyone follow this model within the next 5 years. I don't think our population is the right fit for it because we will be teaching Spanish and many of the kids in the regular classes already know Spanish, so they will have a definite advantage. Plus I'm concerned about losing their instructional time in reading for the language they will be tested in, which is English.

    I'm curious to hear the experiences of others.
     
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  3. comaba

    comaba Cohort

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    I don't have any direct experience with the program, but my local school district began a dual language program in Spanish nearly 20 years ago. This is not a district that holds onto unsuccessful programs. However, it is a district that will provide whatever support is needed to succeed. Since then, they've added 2 additional language programs.

    It's a large district and it's pretty diverse, but it's much more middle class than Title I. Only a few of the schools have a dual language program and it's also not a campus-wide program at any of the schools. Parents have to opt-in, but the program is generally full.

    They also begin with one kindergarten class the first year of implementation, then add a grade each consecutive year. To do it any other way would be foolish, in my opinion.

    Since it's opt-in, the parents are generally very involved in their child's education. I think that's an important factor.

    So, no real experience with it, but I know it's been successful in my local district, in large part because of the way they've implemented it.
     
  4. vickilyn

    vickilyn Multitudinous

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    Just have to ask, is this the same as bilingual? Here, you must have certified teachers in the content who are also certified to teach bilingual. Those programs do very well where the second language reflects the native language of the majority of the ELLs. The English speaking students learn a second language, and the ELLs get true academic instruction in the content area while becoming proficient in English. Trust me when I say that these are invested, well funded programs here, since you mostly have double the staff. It is much better than ESL teachers who try to translate for their students.
     
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  5. KinderCowgirl

    KinderCowgirl Phenom

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    thank you comaba-that is very helpful! We do plan to start in Kinder next year-which is my class, so I will be one of the only teachers initially directly affected.

    lynett-no, it's not the same. There are several different ways to do it-the way we will do it is that the bilingual classes will still exist-the Kinder bilingual class will come to me for 1/2 their reading instruction in English and do the other half in Spanish. My "regular" students will do the same thing. It increases the number of students who will grow up fluent in 2 languages.
     
  6. daisycakes

    daisycakes Companion

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    Dec 3, 2014

    I have....it helps kids who speak little English to stay engaged in math early on. They do end up knowing and understanding less English, though.
     
  7. waterfall

    waterfall Maven

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    I used to work in a district that had both dual language and bilingual program schools. My school only had the bilingual program, where native Spanish speakers could receive a lot of their daily instruction in Spanish. The dual language programs taught exactly 50% of the day in English and 50% in Spanish, for all students in all classrooms. I'm sure this was wonderful for proficient and advanced students. However, it made things SO hard for struggling students. Imagine already struggling with school and then trying to keep up in two languages as well. We had pretty high mobility in that district, and when I'd get new IEP students from the dual language schools, their progress would go up like crazy as soon as they'd been instructed in English only for a couple of months. I once had a girl that the dual language school was considering more restrictive programming for because she was in 3rd grade and reading under 10 words a minute at a Kindergarten level even after a year in sped. No exaggeration, after 3 months at my school she was reading 100 words per minute at a 3rd grade level. I saw the same thing with pretty much every kid I got from a dual language school.
     
  8. want2

    want2 Guest

    Dec 30, 2015

    Hi Waterfall, I was just wondering if it's common that English students struggle in Spanish math. I'm contemplating putting my son in a dual language program. He's about a year advanced in reading/writing and on grade level for math. I'm wondering if he might struggle in math in a dual language program since it's taught all in Spanish, whereas he might make excel if taught in English. What are your thoughts? I know this thread is old but you have great insight and I would appreciate your point of view. Thank you!
     
  9. Obadiah

    Obadiah Groupie

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    Dec 30, 2015

    I worked for awhile in a magnet school for French/English. My chief concern was that students were admitted and prohibited from participation based on race or family income, (somehow this was done legally by some twist in the laws). My thoughts are that education should be available to everyone. Where I am now, a nearby school has an immersion program in Chinese.

    Students who are capable of dual language learning, especially beginning in Kindergarten or earlier, increase brain functioning in language and in math. Future language learning becomes easier. Several of my Deaf friends have commented on how glad they are that their children grew up bilingual in ASL and English.

    I wish all schools offered dual programs. My current thoughts are to aim for several languages, starting with just two in Kindergarten, but adding on throughout elementary/middle school, perhaps learning ASL, Spanish (because of America's dual language population), Chinese (which will become an important business language in the future), and perhaps Arabic, or even ancient Greek and Hebrew in Bible-based schools. I question the traditional procedure of waiting until the brain's language acquisition properties are pretty well diminished in 9th-12th grade and college.

    My story--when I was elementary age, I was FASCINATED by anything Spanish or Mexican! I had a 45 RPM recording of a few Spanish words that I played over and over again and a favorite coloring book about Mexico. When I finally reached Jr. High school, where one of the most popular teachers taught Spanish, I was tracked with the group that didn't take Spanish. My best friend was tracked into the Spanish class, (boy did I wish I was him)! Finally, in 9th-10th grade, I was able to take Spanish. I did quite well and I chose Spanish III when I moved to another school area, but because I was the only Spanish III student, the class was canceled. Instead, I was placed in an extra physical education class as a "helper", which I HATED! And afterwards, that was the end of my Spanish development.
     
  10. FourSquare

    FourSquare Fanatic

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    If done right, Dual Language can be highly beneficial. The goal is biliteracy, not just bilingualism. The proper structure of the program is to have cohorts of monolingual students beginning in K. Half of the kids would be dominant in English, and half of the kids dominant in the target language, like Spanish. Research shows that these kids read, write, and speak both languages well by middle/high school and actually out-test their monolingual peers. They help each other.

    Unfortunately, that's difficult to implement in real life. Where I live, asking for this basically means you'd want a school with 50% white kids and 50% hispanic kids. Or 50% black kids and 50% asian kids, etc. We would have to give up good old-fashioned class and race segregation. Our neighborhoods just don't match this kind of population.

    As a result, our dual language programs are mostly Spanish focused and cater to an already Spanish speaking population. This population also tends to be lower performing for various reasons, so the test scores aren't that great. However, there is an incredible focus on native language and preservation of culture. The families seem much more engaged than in other programs. Spanish is not "beat out of kids" like in a traditional bilingual program. Also, everything in my studies says dominance in Language 1 will help Language 2 (English) become more accessible...so I think it makes sense for Kindergarten to have native language instruction. The alternative is forcing English when they're not ready and kids end up with huge gains in primary, but they suck in BOTH languages by the time they get to middle/high school. (The foundation in English is not at an academic level, nor have they pursued Spanish at an academic level.)

    In short, if asked to support a dual language program, I would have to say "It depends."
     
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  11. waterfall

    waterfall Maven

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    Dec 31, 2015

    The reading/writing skills should help him with learning Spanish, even if the content is math. Obviously the numbers and equations are the same in both languages, so that will help him out. Yes, learning math in Spanish will be significantly more difficult than learning it in English. Is he excited about learning Spanish? Due to the extra difficulty, you do need the students to be more motivated. However, if he can stay in the program and truly become bilingual, think of the benefits! People that are fluent in Spanish and English can easily get a good job right out of high school. We are constantly in need of interpreters for our IEP meetings these people can make up to $150-200 an hour. Even assuming he chooses another career path, being bilingual means he'll always have a job to fall back on if needed or something he can do just a few hours a week to earn extra money. I desperately wish that I had started learning Spanish when I was younger. It's much easier for younger kids to really pick it up. I started in HS, took four years, and minored in it in college, and I'm nowhere near fluent.
     

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