Bilingual Education - Bilingual Education Program Models

Bilingual Education Program Models

The following are several different types of bilingual education program models:

  • Transitional Bilingual Education. This involves education in a child's native language, typically for no more than three years, to ensure that students do not fall behind in content areas like mathematics, science, and social studies while they are learning English. Research has shown that many of the skills learned in the native language can be transferred easily to the second language later. The goal is to help students transition to mainstream, English-only classrooms as quickly as possible, and the linguistic goal of such programs is English acquisition only. In a transitional bilingual program, the student's primary language is used as a vehicle to develop literacy skills and acquire academic knowledge. It is used to develop literacy and academic skills in the primary language
  • Two-Way or Dual Language Immersion Bilingual Education. These programs are designed to help native and non-native English speakers become bilingual and biliterate. The two-way bilingual immersion program has 90% of the instructions in grade K-1 in minority language which is less supported by the broader society and 10% in the majority language . This proportion gradually changes in the majority language until the curriculum is equally divided in both the language by 5th grade. The two-way bilingual immersion program is based on the principle of clear curriculum separation of the two languages of instruction. Teachers do not repeat or translate the subject matter in second language but strengthen concepts taught in one language across the two languages in a spiral curriculum in order to provide cognitive challenge(Thomas & Collier. 1997). The languages of instructions are alternated by theme or content area. This type of immersion is required to develop the dual language proficiency, as social language can be mastered in couple of years, but a higher level of competency is required to read social studies texts or solve mathematics word problems, roughly around 5 to 7 years (Collier, 1987).

Dual Immersion classrooms encourage students' native language development, making an important contribution to heritage language maintenance and allows language minority students to remain in classrooms with their native English-speaking peers, resulting in linguistic and sociocultural advantages (Christian, 1996b). As of May 2005, there were 317 dual immersion programs operating in elementary schools in the United States in 10 different languages(Center for Applied Linguistics, 2005).

Dual Language programs are less common in US schools, although research indicates they are extremely effective in helping students learn English well and aiding the long-term performance of English learners in school. Native English speakers benefit by learning a second language. English language learners (ELLs) are not segregated from their peers.

  • Another form of Bilingual Education is a type of Dual Language program that has students study in two different ways: 1) A variety of academic subjects are taught in the students' second language, with specially trained bilingual teachers who can understand students when they ask questions in their native language, but always answer in the second language; and 2) Native language literacy classes improve students' writing and higher-order language skills in their first language. Research has shown that many of the skills learned in the native language can be transferred easily to the second language later. In this type of program, the native language classes do not teach academic subjects. The second-language classes are content-based, rather than grammar-based, so students learn all of their academic subjects in the second language.
  • Late-Exit or Developmental Bilingual Education. Education is in the child's native language for an extended duration, accompanied by education in English. The goal is to develop literacy in the child's native language first, and transfer these skills to the second language.

Read more about this topic:  Bilingual Education

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