A Dallas Morning News article published today explores whether schools should move toward replacing transitional bilingual education programs with dual-language immersion programs. The article tells how in Texas, some school districts are doing this.
With transitional bilingual education, children receive some instruction in their native language while transitioning into English; such programs do not necessarily aim to have students maintain their native language. By contrast, dual-language programs aim for children to become literate and understand academic content in both their native language and English over the long haul. In many dual-language programs, children who speak Spanish and children who speak English learn both languages in the same classroom.
The reporter quotes only researchers Wayne P. Thomas and Virginia P. Collier, professors emeritus of education from George Mason University in Fairfax, Va., on the effectiveness of dual-language programs versus other kinds of bilingual programs. Some researchers question the strength of some of their conclusions, as I noted in an article about research on dual-language programs, which are also called two-way immersion programs, in February 2005.
A version of this news article first appeared in the Learning the Language blog.