SANTILLANA USA - CAL Practitioner Brief

- September 2017 Center for Applied Linguistics • 4646 40th St. NW • Washington, DC 20016-1859 • 202-362-0700 • Dual Language Education: Answers to Questions from the Field Barbara Kennedy & José Medina, Center for Applied Linguistics Dual language education refers to programs that provide grade-level content and literacy instruction to all students through two languages—English and a partner lan- guage. In one-way dual language programs, the partner language is the native language of all of the students in the class. In two-way programs, approximately half the stu- dents are native speakers of the partner language and the other half are native speak- ers of English. Dual language programs typically begin in kindergarten or first grade and continue for a minimum of 5 years and have the goals of promoting bilingualism and biliteracy, high levels of academic achievement, and cross-cultural competence. An ideal dual language program would serve students from kindergarten through Grade 12, but the vast majority are implemented in elementary schools. For English learners, dual language programs offer a positive alternative to monolingual English instruction (also known as English immersion) and transi- tional bilingual education, which often do not provide the support English learners need to achieve academically and graduate at the same rates as their English-fluent peers (de Jong, 2014; Genesee, Lindholm-Leary, Saunders, & Christian, 2005; Lind- holm-Leary & Genesee, 2014). English learner participation in dual language educa- tion is associated with improved academic (Valentino & Reardon, 2014), linguistic, and emotional outcomes (Lindholm-Leary & Borsato, 2001). In addition to closing the achievement gap for English learners (Thomas & Collier, 2012), dual language education provides opportunities for all students to gain valuable multilingual and cross-cultural skills that prepare them to thrive in today’s global world. Key features of effective dual language programs include provision of (a) lit- eracy instruction in the partner language and in English (once introduced) for the duration of the program; (b) content instruction in both program languages over the course of the program; (c) instruction in the partner language for a minimum of 50% of instructional time; (d) curriculum and instructional materials in the partner language that are linguistically and culturally appropriate; (e) professional develop- ment for administrators, teachers, and family and community members specific to dual language education; and (f) assessments in the partner language. The authors of this brief travel across the country providing professional de- velopment, technical assistance, and job-embedded support for dual language edu- cators and administrators. This brief was written to respond to some of the most frequently asked questions they encounter from the field. These include questions about program structure, assessment and accountability, curriculum and instruction,