Two-way immersion programs might come closest to providing for the needs of both English language learners and English speakers learning a second language. Here are some of the benefits of this type of bilingual program.
-English dominant students and English language learners are mixed together in one class and have the opportunity to learn language skills from each other and form cross-cultural bonds.
-English dominant students are able to become bilingual by being immersed in the second language from 90% of the day in the lower grades to 50% of the day by third or fourth grade. They have the added advantatge of being around peers who speak that language.
-Native speakers of another language have the opportunity to maintain their home language while learning English among other English speaking peers.
-Both groups of students are learning a second language and the language of each is given equal respect and attention.
As more parents of English dominant students learn about the cognitive and social advantages of a bilingual education, we will likely see a growth in these types of programs. It is important that bilingual education be viewed as an important option for both English language learners and English dominant students and not just a method of teaching English to English Language learners.
For more information on Two-Way Immersion programs please see:
Two-Way Immersion Education