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What is a Dual Language Program?
The Dual Language Program is a form of bilingual education in which students are taught literacy and academic content in two languages. It offers a unique opportunity for students to excel academically and learn a second language. Dual language programs foster:
- Enhanced awareness of linguistic and cultural diversity
- High levels of academic achievement through instruction in two languages
Goals of the Program
- Develop high levels of proficiency in Spanish and English
- Achieve grade level academic performance in Spanish and English
- Increase the use of foreign language among monolingual groups
- Develop children who will be more competitive in the global economy
- Take advantage of the optimal window of learning a second language during the primary years
- Nurture understanding of the different cultures living side by side
- Give students an upper edge in high school, college, and the workplace
- Develop bilingualism, biliteracy, and biculturalism
- Develop positive cross-cultural attitudes and behavior
What are the benefits of the Dual Language program for students?
- Students develop proficiency in two languages.
- Students perform as well as or better than their peers in non-dual language classrooms.
- All students develop a positive sense of self and multicultural competencies.
- Students are more aware of and generally show more positive attitudes towards other cultures.
- Students are better prepared for the global community and job markets where 21st century skills are an asset
Dual language programs are thriving in over 2,000 schools nationally and are recognized by Illinois State Board of Education and the Office of English Language Acquisition of the United States Department of Education
Multiple benefits exist for acquiring a second language during the primary years. Some of these benefits include:
- Increase listening skills, memory, and a greater understanding of one’s own language.
- Cognitive and linguistic advantages when compared to monolingual students.
- By late elementary school or middle school, Dual Language (DL) students of varied backgrounds achieve at/above non‐DL peers in general education classes.
For more research findings read this article “The Astounding Effectiveness of Dual Language Education for All”
Language Allocation by Grade Level
In our 80:20 Dual Language Program Model design, students learn school subjects through both English and Spanish instruction. Students are able to develop high levels of academic and language proficiency in their first and second languages.
|Grade Level||% in Spanish||% in English|
The amount of Spanish instruction decreases yearly as English increases achieving a 50/50 balance of the languages generally in grades four and five.
District 187 Dual Language Application – This application is for new students registering for Kindergarten, who would like to be considered for entry into the dual language program.
If you have any questions please contact the Department of ELL at (847) 505-7308
Why should I consider enrolling my child in a dual language program?
Dual language programs are the most effective type of foreign language program currently available in U. S. schools. Most students participating in a dual language program will reach higher levels of second language proficiency than students in other school-based language programs (Met, 1998). Becoming bilingual provides cognitive benefits as well as the opportunity to compete for jobs that require a second language. Numerous studies consistently show that immersion students achieve as well as or better than non-immersion peers on standardized measures of verbal and mathematics skills administered in English (Cloud, Genesee, & Hamayan, 2000; Genesee, 1987). In addition, students have the opportunity to develop positive cross cultural attitudes and behavior.
Will my child be confused with two languages?
No, research shows children do not have difficulty learning and keeping languages separate.
How will my child’s instruction align with the district curriculum?
Students in this program will be fully engaged in and assessed on the district approved curriculum at the same rate as monolingual classes. Spanish Literacy Standards will also be incorporated into daily lessons
How will learning everything in a second language affect my child’s English language and literacy development?
Research consistently finds that participation in a dual language program actually enhances English language development (Cloud, Genesee, & Hamayan, 2000). In a 80/20 program, students’ English development may lag temporarily in reading, word knowledge, and spelling while instruction is occurring exclusively in the target (Spanish) language. However, after a year or two of instruction in English language arts, this discrepancy disappears (Genesee, 1987). It is important for parents to understand that this lag is temporary and to be expected.
Will my child become proficient in the second language? How long will that take?
Generally it takes students from 4-10 years to achieve cognitive academic language proficiency in a second language. Students at this stage will be near-native in their ability to perform in content area learning. The time it takes to learn a language is influenced by many factors, including students’ personality and motivation, teacher expectations, parental support, program leadership, and support at both the school and district level. Student success requires the active involvement of all of these stakeholders. Achieving high levels of oral and written proficiency in a second language is a long-term process. A long-term commitment is essential, and parents need to understand that native like proficiency in every skill area is unlikely. Still, dual language students will have a strong second language base upon which to continue moving toward full proficiency and to develop proficiency in additional languages.
What can I do to support my child’s immersion experience if I do not speak the second language?
Parents should be knowledgeable about dual language education, make a commitment to keep their child in the program, and support their children’s use of the target language outside school. One way to support the use of the target language outside of school is by providing reading materials, games, and language enrichment activities at home in the target language. Parents need to provide opportunities to enhance their child’s native language and literacy development. Reading to their child at night in the native language is one example. Research shows that the stronger the development of the native language, the greater the proficiency in the target (Spanish) language. Therefore, children who enter a dual language program with a strong base in their native language will succeed more easily than those whose native language skills are not as strong.