ERIC Identifier: ED321589
Publication Date: 1990-09-00
Source: ERIC Clearinghouse on Languages and Linguistics Washington
Two-Way Language Development Programs. ERIC Digests.
This Digest is based on an information packet prepared by the National
Clearinghouse for Bilingual Education (NCBE), entitled "Two-Way Language
Development Programs" (January, 1990). For more information on two-way
programs, contact NCBE (see Resources).
WHAT ARE TWO-WAY LANGUAGE DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMS?
Two-way language development programs, also referred to as bilingual
immersion, dual language, and developmental bilingual education, are full-time
programs that use two languages, one of which is English, for the purpose
of instruction. Ideally, these programs are composed of elementary or secondary
students, half of whom are native speakers of English, the other half of
whom are native speakers of the other language of instruction. Subject
matter is learned through the native language as well as through the second
language, enabling students to become proficient in a second language,
and to continue developing skills and proficiency in their native language.
Two-way language development programs seek to promote the following:
(1) bilingual education as an enrichment program for all students rather
than as a compensatory education mode for limited-English-proficient (LEP)
students; (2) better understanding between two linguistic communities in
a given district as they work towards a common goal; (3) access to equal
education by all students; and (4) educational excellence.
WHAT ARE THE PERFORMANCE OBJECTIVES OF TWO-WAY PROGRAMS?
Specific objectives of two-way language development programs include
--Language minority students will become literate in their native language
as well as in English.
--Language majority students will develop high levels of proficiency
in a second language while making normal progress in first language development.
--Both language groups will perform academically at their grade level,
develop positive attitudes toward the two languages being learned and toward
the communities they represent, and develop a positive self-image.
HOW DO TWO-WAY PROGRAMS DIFFER FROM TRANSITION AND IMMERSION PROGRAMS?
Transitional bilingual classes involve homogeneous native language classes
in which minority language students begin their studies in their native
language until they have learned enough English to be transferred to a
mainstream classroom. In transitional classes, LEP students study English
as a second language (ESL), but do not benefit from language reinforcement
through interaction with native-English-speaking peers in the classroom.
In contrast, a two-way program targets both language minority and language
majority students. This provides LEP students with the opportunity to learn
English without lagging behind academically, and native-English-speaking
students with the chance to learn a second language and to develop an understanding
of another culture.
Immersion programs share with two-way programs the basic assumption
that a second language is best learned not as the object of instruction,
but rather as the medium of instruction, through a content-based curriculum.
Immersion programs have traditionally been designed as language enrichment
programs for language majority students. Two-way programs, on the other
hand, are designed to serve the needs of both language majority and LEP
populations. In a two-way program, native English speakers are not separated
from LEP students during instruction; the two groups are in the same class.
Arlington County and Fairfax County in Virginia have two-way Spanish immersion
programs that include Spanish speakers learning English. Fairfax County
also has elementary French and Japanese immersion programs that are not
two-way because they have no native French or Japanese speakers learning
WHAT SHOULD BE CONSIDERED IN DESIGNING A TWO-WAY PROGRAM?
"Classroom Composition." The optimal ratio of language minority to language
majority students is 50/50. Although this ratio may vary, the division
between language groups should not exceed a 67/33 or 33/67 ratio (Lindholm,
1987). The proportion of English and non-English speaking students should
allow the representation of a sufficient number of models for each language
group, facilitating adequate cross-language interaction among students.
"Length of Program." To reach the goal of proficiency in a second language,
two-way language development programs should last a minimum of four to
six years (Lindholm, 1987). This figure is based on research findings that
show that second language or bilingual proficiency, although not necessarily
native-like proficiency, can be attained in this amount of time.
"Staffing" must allow for the provision of instruction in two languages.
It is influenced by the availability of qualified teachers, the separation
of languages for instruction, and other program goals. Staffing patterns
include both self-contained classrooms or team teaching arrangements. In
self-contained classrooms, a bilingual teacher, with or without the assistance
of a bilingual aide, plans and delivers instruction in two languages for
one classroom of students. In team teaching, two teachers, at least one
of whom is bilingual, work together to provide individual and small group
instruction, according to language and subject matter. One teacher may
be a bilingual resource teacher.
"Language of Instruction." The proportion of instructional time spent
in each language may vary from program to program. Some programs begin
with instruction equally divided between English and the second language.
In other programs, a 90/10 ratio may exist where English is used in about
10% of the instruction in the early grades. The amount of English instruction
is gradually increased to 50 % in later grades (typically by the fourth
"Separation of Languages of Instruction." Research suggests that sustained
periods of monolingual instruction may be more effective in promoting dual
language development (Lindholm, 1987). Common methods for separating languages
include the following: (1) division by time, where instruction in either
language can occur during half-day, alternate day, or alternate week intervals;
(2) content specific, where language for instruction varies by subject
matter, and where the content may be taught in one language one year and
in the other language the following year and (3) team teaching, where each
teacher consistently provides instruction in one of the two languages.
"Instructional Setting." Two-way language development programs may be
implemented in a variety of instructional settings. In whole school settings,
all students in a particular school are enrolled in the two-way program.
Program implementation usually occurs in stages. In the first year, the
program may include only kindergarten. Every year, an additional grade
is added. In strand settings, the developmental program takes place in
one classroom for each grade level. In magnet school settings, one school
draws students from throughout the district to participate in the program.
Admission may be selective or open.
"Materials Selection." Three categories of materials are needed for
two-way language development programs: (1) language arts for native speakers
(English and second language); (2) ESL and second language for nonnative
speakers; and (3) content areas selected for instruction in English and
the second language (Willetts, & Christian, 1990).
In recent years, there has been increased interest in the challenge
of educating language minority youth. Of special interest is the provision
of funds by the U.S. government to establish additional developmental bilingual
education programs (two-way language development programs). An estimated
17 grants were awarded in fiscal year 1990 to establish, operate, and improve
two-way language development programs throughout the United States. These
programs are administered by the Office of Bilingual Education and Minority
Languages Affairs (OBEMLA), U.S. Department of Education.
Lindholm, K. (1987). "Directory of bilingual immersion programs: two-way
bilingual education for language minority and majority students." Los Angeles,
CA: Center for Language Education and Research. (ERIC Document Reproduction
Service No. ED 291 241)
National Clearinghouse for Bilingual Education. (1990). Two-way language
development programs. Washington, DC.
Willetts, K., & Christian, D. (1990). Materials needed for bilingual
immersion programs. In A.M. Padilla, H.H. Fairchild, & C.M. Valadez,
(1990). "Bilingual Education: Issues and Strategies." Newbury Park, CA:
Sage Publications. -----
FOR FURTHER READING
Cummins, J., & Swain, M. (1986). "Bilingualism in education: aspects
of theory, research, and practice." White Plains, NY: Longman.
Lindholm, K.J. (1988). "Edison elementary school bilingual immersion
program: Student progress after one year of implementation." Los Angeles,
CA: Center for Language Education and Research. (ERIC Document Reproduction
Service No. ED 298 765)
Padilla, A.M., Fairchild, H.H., & Valadez, C.M. (1990). "Bilingual
education: Issues and strategies." Newbury Park, CA: Sage Publications.
Short, D.J., Crandall, J., & Christian, D. (1989). "How to integrate
language and content instruction: A training manual." Los Angeles, CA:
Center for Language Education and Research. (ERIC Document Reproduction
Service No. ED 292 304)
National Clearinghouse for Bilingual Education
1118 22nd Street, NW
Washington, DC 20037
(800) 321-NCBE or (202) 467-0867
National Dissemination Center-Fall River Public Schools
417 Rock Street
Fall River, MA 02720
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