Two Way Billingual Immersion Programs Create Higher Achieving Students

1051 words - 5 pages

Two-way bilingual immersion programs not only create higher achieving students, but also more equipped and confident students. Academically, TWBI students receive higher grades because of the curriculum. Furthermore, 87% to 93% of past TWBI students stated they would not drop out (Lindholm-Leary). Indeed, the knowledge gained allows students to become more resilient, adapting to the new language; independent, figuring out the language themselves; and confident, taking pride in bilingualism. The TWBI program not only teaches another language, but also another culture. One of the programs goals gears students toward culture awareness by exposing other countries’ custom through songs, ...view middle of the document...

Schools should not undermine one language; the encouragement of both will allow students to fully immerse themselves in both languages.The environment and parent demand of school districts determine what other language will take part in the program, choosing from Spanish, Mandarin, Cantonese, Italian, French, Russian, Japanese, Chinese, German, Arabic, Norwegian, etc. The programs should also start from Kindergarten to Eighth grade, so students can not only have sufficient time to become bilingual, but also have the opportunity to either continue that language in advance placement classes in high school or learn another language in their four years of high school. The program will function with at least thirty-percent of one language group with the other language group in the same class room, despite the program’s preference for half and half (Alanís & Rodríguez). There are two different types of two-way immersion to choose: 90:10 and 50:50. 90:10 programs commence with 90% instruction of the foreign language, gradually leveling to 50:50 by fourth grade. In the 50:50 model, both languages receive equal amount of time across all eight years. While both types of programs allow students to perform higher on test than any other program, 90:10 students tend to score higher and be more fully bilingual than students in 50:50 (Lindholm-Leary). Iliana Alanís and Mariela A. Rodríguez also remarks, “the 90/10 model requires an initial emphasis on the minority language because this language is less supported by the broader society.” This signifies that the minority language receives less interaction outside of school, thus justifying the emphasis on the minority language. Opponents of TWBI education claim that affluent neighborhoods and self-selection compromises the studies on two-way immersion. However a study a Cincinnati French Immersion Public school found that underprivileged students benefited from learning two languages, sometimes even surpassing more advantaged children (White). The environment around a TWBI education influences the success of the program (Lindholm-Leary). Six main factors created by Lindholm-Leary play a role which the four schools in the documentary Speaking in Tongues displayed. 1) School environment should encompass a supportive and welcoming atmosphere. This type of...

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