What is Dual Language Immersion?
Dual language immersion is a method of teaching a second language in which the learners' second language is used to teach subjects in the classroom. The goal is to develop bilingualism, biliteracy, academic achievement, and cross-cultural competencies for students who participate.
What are the Proven Benefits of Dual Language Immersion?
There is much research surrounding the benefits of dual immersion programs and the benefits of learning a second language at a young age.
- Second Language Skills - Early dual language immersion takes advantage of the children's capacity to learn language more quickly.
- Enhanced Cognitive Skills - Students in bilingual programs have been found to have better mental flexibility, better conceptualization, better executive functioning skills and more diversified mental abilities.
- Enhanced Test Scores - Dual language students perform as well as or better than non-immersion students on standardized test scores given in English.
- Increased Cultural Sensitivity - Dual language immersion students are more aware of and show more positive attitudes toward others cultures and are more appreciative of other people.
- Long Term Benefits - Dual language immersion students are better prepared for working in a global community and are more desirable in the job market.
What Occurs in a Dual Language Immersion Program?
Dual language immersion offers a rich bilingual experience for young language learners when their minds are developmentally best able to acquire a second language.
Typically, students have one Spanish-speaking teacher and one English-speaking teacher throughout their day. During the English-speaking part of the day, the teacher will teach English Language Arts (reading, writing, and spelling), math, science, and social studies to ensure understanding. During the Spanish-speaking part of the day, the teacher will teach Spanish literacy and will reteach the math, science, and social studies concepts again in Spanish.
During the Spanish-speaking part of the day, the teacher will only speak in Spanish and will only answer students in Spanish as well. The teacher will communicate through pictures, songs, games, body language, and expressions to help students comprehend what is being said. Children at this age are very adaptable and can pick up on the meaning in language when these strategies are used. Students will also be asked to speak only in Spanish during the Spanish-speaking part of the day after a brief period at the beginning of the year to encourage them to begin using the language to communicate as well.
How Can My Child Participate in the Dual Language Immersion Program?
Parents interested in having their student participate in the Dual Immersion classroom can complete an application in the O.J. Neighbours office. Applications are open to all students entering PreK.