DUAL LANGUAGE EDUCATION FAQ
What is a dual language program?
A dual language program is a model designed to promote bilingualism and biliteracy, cross-cultural competency, and high levels of academic achievement for both native English speakers and English Learners (ELs) who are native speakers of Portuguese and Spanish. Students in dual language programs develop and maintain their home language while adding a second language to their repertoire. They receive the same core curriculum as all students in FPS and instruction is provided through two languages throughout the program. The percentage of time spent learning in each language varies based on the school and grade level.
What is the goal of a dual language program?
The goals of dual language programs are as follows. Students will:
- become bilingual, biliterate, and bicultural
- progress academically according to the same curriculum used in the general education classrooms
- develop positive cross-cultural relationships and positive attitudes toward their own culture and that of others
What are the characteristics of students who are successful in dual language programs?
From personal and professional experiences, parents and educators note some common characteristics of successful DL students. Successful students tend to:
- enjoy learning new things, and also like meeting and interacting with people from different linguistic and cultural backgrounds.
- have parents who strongly support the program. Parents who truly understand and embrace dual language and its goals will transmit their positive attitudes to their children.
- understand and embrace the philosophy of dual language education; they realize that learning in two languages can be challenging at times, but persevere and learn to take risks in speaking and writing the second language.
Research has shown that students from a variety of different backgrounds can be successful in DL programs (Howard, Sugarman, & Christian, 2003). Students from different ethnic, social class, and language backgrounds, and with varying academic strengths and needs, have all benefited from dual language programs.
What advantages are there for my child in a dual language program?
There are three major advantages for students of both language backgrounds. Students:
- develop full oral, reading, and writing proficiency in two languages.
- achieve at levels that are similar to or higher than those of their peers enrolled in other programs on standardized tests of reading and math in English, and in addition they are able to read and write at grade level in another language.
- enrolled in TW programs develop very positive attitudes about students of their own/other language and cultural backgrounds, and positive attitudes toward themselves as learners.
How do students in dual language programs compare academically to students in other programs?
Longitudinal studies have showed that overall both English learners and native English speakers make significant progress in both languages; both groups scored at or well above grade level in both languages by middle school; and both groups performed at comparable or superior levels compared to same-language peers in other educational settings. (Collier and Thomas, 2004).
When do students perform at grade level on std. achievement tests in their 1st & 2nd languages?
Native English speakers tend to perform at grade level in English once they have received formal reading instruction through that language, and their achievement is at grade level in the second language typically by third grade, if not sooner. For English learners, scores are usually in the average range in their first language by second grade, but often achieve proficiency in English by fourth or fifth grade.
What should a dual language program do to promote home-school connections?
Strong home-school connections are essential to the success of our dual language programs. There are many things that we can do collaboratively to help foster these connections. Framingham Public Schools’ Bilingual Department and schools will:
- ensure that all communications with parents are in English, Portuguese, and Spanish.
- hold periodic meetings to educate parents on dual language related topics such as: program design, language acquisition, helping with homework, biliteracy development, and assessment practices.
Where are dual language programs offered in the 2019-2020 school year?
Barbieri K-5; Walsh Middle 6-8; Framingham HS 9-12
Potter Road K-2
How can my child participate?
Enrollment in dual language programs is open to every new kindergarten student. Seats are filled through a lottery process. In order to preserve the integrity of this program, parents are asked to carefully consider both the appropriateness of and their desire for this choice for their child, as well as the long-term commitment that is required. (A Letter of Commitment must be signed in order to be considered for the lottery).
What can I do as a parent to get involved and support my child’s language development?
There are many things that parents can do to strengthen the home-school connection and encourage their child’s language development.
- Volunteer in the classroom.
- Share with students aspects of the home language and culture such as music, dance, literature, and foods.
- Attend parent education workshops on dual language programs.
- Participate in dual language family social gatherings.
- Attend dual language conferences and meetings.
- Share experiences with prospective parents and students.
- Serve as chaperones for program class trips.
- Support your child’s language and literacy development in two languages, as well as their emerging cross-cultural appreciation. Families can do this by exposing their children to books and movies in both languages; attending cultural festivals; and providing opportunities for authentic language exchanges.
- Support your child in your native language. Read WITH them and TO them in your native language EVERY day.
- Ask your child open-ended questions about what they are learning in school.
- Encourage curiosity by teaching them to question the world around them.
- Emphasize the value of acquiring another language. Applaud their efforts in learning in a new language.
There are so many acronyms, can you please explain the programs here?
Dual Language (DL) Program: An umbrella term that refers to additive language programs such as developmental bilingual, two-way immersion, heritage language immersion, and foreign language immersion.
Two-Way (TW): A distinctive form of dual language education in which balanced numbers of native English speakers and native speakers of the partner language are integrated for instruction so that both groups of students serve in the role of language model and language learner at different times.
Native Language (L1): An individual’s native language.
Target Language (L2): A language acquired in addition to the native language.
Balanced Bilingual: An individual who has equal and native-like proficiency in two languages (de Jong, 2011).
Simultaneous Bilingual: Student who has been exposed to two languages since before age 3 (Beeman & Urow, 2013). By definition, simultaneous bilingual students are not clearly dominant in either language.
Sequential Bilingual: Student who has developed one language and is learning a second language (Beeman & Urow, 2013).
English (Language) Learners (ELLs or ELs): Student who speaks a language other than English at home and has been identified as becoming English proficient. (Beeman & Urow, 2013).
Emergent Bilinguals: Student who speaks a language other than English at home and has been identified as becoming English proficient.(Beeman & Urow, 2013).