Dual Immersion Program
What is the Dual Immersion Education?
The Dual Immersion program at Las Animas Elementary offers children a unique and exciting opportunity to learn to read, write and communicate naturally in two languages, English and Spanish. Dual Immersion is a 50% English and 50% Spanish standards based educational program. This program provides a sound basis for academic excellence for all students as well as meet the goal for foreign language learning as a core subject.
What are the Critical Components of the Dual Immersion Program(Vision)?
- Classes made up of 1/3 Spanish speakers 1/3 bilingual, and 1/3 English only speakers.
- Separation of languages for instruction.
- Instruction of State curriculum and academic standards through two languages.
- Highly trained and committed quality teachers
- High standards where language instruction is integrated with challenging academic instruction.
- Parent involvement.
- Strong administrative support.
- Integration with other school programs.
- Cross-cultural emphasis.
How Do We Know It Will Work?
Research studies and established programs show the 50/50 Dual Language Immersion Model to be the most effective way to become proficient in two languages. Dr. Kathryn Lindholm Leary's cross-sectional and longitudinal study represents 7,120 students in 20 schools. Wayne Thomas and Virginia Collier's longitudinal study represents 7000,000 English Learner students from five large urban and suburban districts. Results are similar: Proficiency in both languages is established and students in 50/50 programs developed higher levels of bilingual proficiency then in other program models. It is based on existing programs which Las Animas teachers visit, study and adapt to meet the needs of our students. The focus is on bilingual/biliterate skills as an asset.
Why not wait for my child to learn a second language in middle and high school?
The Critical Period Theory explains that the brain easily acquires second(and more) languages before puberty, while middle and high school foreign language programs address language learning after the onset of puberty, skipping the developmental stages of the early years and reducing the opportunities for natural language acquisition.
Will a second language interfere with my child's English ability?
No. Research done by Cummins (1981), Lambert, Genesee, Holobow and Chartrand(1993) show that students who acquire advanced levels of proficiency in two languages often experience cognitive and linguistic advantages when compared to monolingual students. Bilingual students perform better on tasks that require divergent thinking, pattern recognition, and problem solving, and have enhanced levels of metalinguistic awareness. (Adams, 1990)
Do Dual Language students learn the same curriculum as the regular English Programs?
Absolutely! The standards and curriculum of Las Animas are the same as for all students in the Gilroys Unified Schools. The only difference is the language of instruction.
Does if matter if no one at home speaks the second language?
No. English must be kept up in the home. Read to your children daily! Continue the literacy experiences you would naturally encourage. One of the advantages of this program is that students with strong English succeed well. Children often start to apply the literacy skills, which they have learned in the first language to the second language, No Problem!
How will my child understand if she/he does not speak the second language?
Teachers in the Dual Language Immersion Program are specially trained to make the information meaningful through the use of visuals, objects, gestures, and specialized instructional strategies. Students also help each other.
What about reading in English?
In order to avoid confusion, the language of instruction is separated. However, please read to your child at home in English daily, and accept any attempt to read in another language on their part.
Is any English used in the Dual Language classroom?
Not during Spanish time - and ONLY English is used during English time by the teachers. However, student expression is accepted in whichever language the student uses.
How can I communicate with my child's teacher if she/he does not speak in English in front of the students?
In grades K-3 students see their teachers use only the language they model, so parents are encouraged to write notes, use phone calls or set up appointments for conferences outside of the students hearing.
Can parents volunteer in the classroom if they do not speak the language being used?
Absolutely! Parent involvement is foundational to student success in this program, and the more a parent experiences the learning environment, the more he/she will know how to support their children's learning. Communication with parents is conducted in the language they understand.
How can parents support their child in the program?
Participate! Keep up the high quality English at home. Read with your child in English daily. Discuss what your child is learning. Listen to him/her read Spanish. Try to learn along with your child. Attend meetings and the adult classes at Las Animas.
When will my child become fluent?
Each child is developmentally unique, so the fluency will also develop individually. You will be informed on a regular basis of your child's oral fluency progress. You will also be informed regularly of your child's academic progress.
What are the student outcomes in English?
Students in the Dual Language immersion program have the same standards and expectations as all students in the Gilroy Unified School district. Oral and academic proficiency in English and Spanish are based on the California English Language Arts Standards and the English Language Development Standards.
Where are there effective programs that I can observe?
California has several established Dual Language immersion programs. Call before visiting, or contact Silvia Reyes at (669)205-4500 to join a visit with Las Animas.
- River Glen Elementary (San Jose)
- Pacheco Elementary (San Luis Obispo)
- Fiesta Gardens (San Mateo)
- Nestor Elementary, South Day School District (619)575-5952
- Las Palmas Elementary, Saddleback Valley School District (949)837-2260
- Discovery Elementary, San Marcos Unified Schools (760)471-8533
- Valley Center School District (760)749-1631
Where can I get more information on Dual Immersion Programs?
- A Las Animas School,call Silvia Reyes. (669)205-4500
- National Association of Bilingual Education
- California Association for Bilingual Education.
- Center for Language Minority Education and Research.
- Aspen - Bilingual Education Report.
- National Clearinghouse for Bilingual Education.
- Center for Research on Education, Diversity and Excellence.
- Center for applied Linguistics.
- Information on Dual Language Programs.
- Dual language Instruction - A Handbook for Enriched Education: by Nancy Cloud, Fred Genesee, Else Hamayan. Heinle & Heinle . ISBN number = 083848801-3
- A parent's and Teachers Guide to Bilingualism by Colin Baker, Multilingual Matters LTD.
- Profiles in Two-Way Immersion Education by Donna Christian, Chris Monstone, Kathryn Lindholm, and Isolda Carranza. Delta Systems, Inc. and Eric Clearinghouse on Languages and Linguistics.
- The Power of two languages 2000: Effective Dual languages Use Across the Curriculum by Josefina Tinajero and Robert DeVillar (eds.) McGraw Hill.
- Dual Language Education by Kathryn Lindholm-Leary, (in Press) Avon, England: Multilingual Matters.
- Biliteracy for a Global Society: An Idea Book on Dual Language Education by Kathryn Lindholm. National Clearinghouse for Bilingual Education.
- If Your Child Learns in Two Languages by Nancy Zelasco and Beth Antunez. National Clearinghouse for Bilingual Education.