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How can dual immersion education help raise test scores? Do bilingual children learn better?

March 26, 2013

Screen Shot 2013-03-26 at 4.01.16 PMProposition 227 all but eliminated bilingual education in California schools in 1998. The law mandated that English be used as the primary language to teach non-English-speaking kids in schools. In recent years, a different form of secondary language acquisition has been gaining traction in Los Angeles public school system. They are called “dual language immersion” programs: classes are taught almost entirely in Spanish, Mandarin or another language, and they are designed to benefit both children who are learning English as a second language as well as those who are native English speakers.

KPCC’s Early Childhood Development Correspondent Deepa Fernandes has a piece today looking at one such program at Foster Elementary School in Baldwin Park. School officials there, mirroring what many researchers have found, say that kids in their dual language programs outperform those who are taught in just English-only classes.

If dual language immersion programs are so successful, why aren’t more California schools adopting them? What are some of the challenges and drawbacks? What are the benefits?

Karen Cadiero-Kaplan, Director of the  English Learner Support Division at the California Department of Education

Roger Lowenstein, founder and executive director of Los Angeles Leadership Academy, a public charter school in Lincoln Heights that practices dual language immersion

Karen Nemeth, co-founder of Language Castle. She is a dual language immersion consultant who works with school districts across the the country

Please read and listen here.

One Comment leave one →
  1. jjuju permalink
    April 21, 2013 5:32 pm

    Bi lingual works the very best when one person – parent, grandparent, nanny, etc. speaks to the child in CONSISTENTLY in ONE language. and the other parent(s), etc. speak to the child in ONE language COnssitently. In other words…one parent, gradmparent – the designated adult speaks to the child in Mandarin – NOTHING else…ALWAYS and another adult speaks to the child ALWAYS in English – NOTHING else…ALWAYS. whatever the 2 languages you are trying to teach you child(ren), the child learns best when that child is spoken to consistently in the target language – no mixing up mandarin with english or swedish etc. Learning difficulties will be caused if you mix up the languages. Be consistent and only speak chose what language you will speak to the child, always, consistently, diligently.

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