Frequently Asked Questions/ Preguntas Frecuentes
What is Dual Language Instruction? / ¿Qué es la enseñanza dual de idiomas?
Dual language is a form of bilingual education in which students are taught literacy and content in two languages. Dual language programs use the partner language for at least half of the instructional day in the elementary years. Students are immersed in each language for part of each day as they study the same subjects and follow the same curriculum as all students at the school. Teachers use sheltering techniques to make content comprehensible, so no translation takes place.
Dual language programs foster bilingualism, biliteracy, enhanced awareness of linguistic and cultural diversity, and high levels of academic achievement through instruction in two languages. Students need the support of their families to succeed. However, families do not have to be bilingual in order for their child to succeed and become bilingual.
La enseñanza dual de idiomas es una forma de educación bilingüe donde los estudiantes aprenden a leer, escribir y contenidos en dos idiomas. Los programas duales de idiomas usan un idioma compañero durante, al menos, la mitad del día en los años de educación primaria. Los estudiantes están inmersos en cada idioma durante una parte del día donde estudian las mismas materias y siguen el mismo currículum que el resto de estudiantes de la escuela. Los maestros usan técnicas de enseñanza contextualizada/situacional para hacer el contenido asimilable sin hacer uso de la traducción.
Does dual language education work?
Yes! The first dual language programs began in Canada (French &English) and Florida (Spanish & English) over 30 years ago. Since then, this dynamic model has spread around the world, wherever parents and teachers want their children to become both academically successful and bilingual / bicultural. The average student who enters a dual language program at kindergarten or first grade speaking only English will graduate achieving at or above national averages on English- language standardized tests, as well as slightly below grade level in Spanish.
It takes most people 5-7 years to become fully fluent in a second language. What this means for students in a dual language program is that the first 2-3 years are the most challenging. All language learners go through a ‘silent period’ where they take in their new language but can’t yet speak it themselves. This is followed by a long ‘early production’ period, where the person understands much more than they can express. Families and beginning teachers often worry during the first few years of a child’s dual language education that the child is falling behind in their native language and not really picking up the second language. Just like a toddler learning to speak, this silent period is natural and necessary for the student. Once the child is ready, he or she will interact with peers and teachers in both languages.
- What is Dual Language Two-Way Immersion?
Dual Language Two Way Immersion (TWI) is an educational model that integrates native English speakers and native speakers of another language for all or most of the day, with the goals of promoting high academic achievement, first-and- second-language development and cross-cultural understanding for all students. At Global Prep, language learning takes place primarily through content instruction. Academic subjects are taught to all students through both English and Spanish. As students and teachers work together to perform academic tasks, the students’ language abilities are developed along with their knowledge of content area subject matter.
- Will a second language interfere with my child’s English ability?
In most cases, learning another language enhances a child’s English ability. Children can learn much about English by learning the structure of another language. Common vocabulary also helps children learn the meaning of new words in English. Experimental studies have shown that no long-term delay in native English language development occurs in children participating in second language classes, even in full immersion programs.
Children enrolled in foreign language programs score statistically higher on standardized test conducted in English. A number of reports have demonstrated that children who have learned a second language earn higher SAT scores, particularly on the verbal section of the test. One study showed that, by the fifth grade of an immersion program, students outperformed all comparison groups and remained high academic achievers throughout their schooling.
- Will my child fall behind if he/she learns two languages?
Concepts learned in either language become a part of the child’s general knowledge. Many language concepts transfer from one language to another. Please see the following websites for more information on current research in language learning: Center for Applied Linguistics (www.cal.org), Center for Advanced Research on Language Acquisition (www.carla.umn.edu), National Association of Bilingual Education (www.nabe.org), Illinois Research Center (www.thecenterweb.org/irc/), Dual Language Education of New Mexico (www.dlenm.org/).
- Will my child learn the same things as students in other schools?
Yes, the TWI curriculum follows the same State guidelines and standards. TWI classes cover the same grade level objectives, as do regular English classes. Students work toward the same academic goals regardless of the language of instruction.
- How can we manage if no one in our family speaks Spanish?
That is not a difficulty. We realize that many parents are monolingual and will answer your questions/concerns in English. Homework instructions will be given in both languages and will consist of previously taught material.
- How can I evaluate my child’s progress if no one speaks Spanish at home?
In addition to the report card, we have scheduled conferences with parents four times a year as well as provide constant communication with families through newsletters, special notices, email and phone calls. Parents are welcome to visit classes at Global Prep.
- How will my child understand if he/she does not speak the second language?
Teachers use many strategies to make the content understandable, such as visuals, props, manipulatives, facial expressions, gestures, physical movements and many other instructional techniques. The teachers also repeat vocabulary and concepts and always check for understanding. Teachers do not expect your child to speak the second language right away. The students are not forced to speak the second language and there are initially allowed to speak English/Spanish. The teacher will restate what your child says to reinforce connection between the Spanish and English vocabulary or vice versa.
- How can parents support their child in the program?
Encourage your child by telling him/her how proud you are that he/she is learning a second language. Let your child know you are please with his/her progress. Show him/her that you value the ability to speak a second language.
- When will my child become fluent?
Do not expect your child to start speaking the second language after the first few weeks. He/she is in the listening phase of his/her second language development. Your child will become familiar with vocabulary and then will begin to take the steps to speak the second language. Do NOT compare your child to other DL students. Learning a second language is a five to seven year process, and each child develops at his/her rate.
- What is a public charter school?
Charter schools are independently operated public schools that are open to all Indianapolis residents, regardless of their neighborhood, socioeconomic status, academic achievement, or ethnicity. There are no admission tests or tuition fees.
- Will there be a before and after school program offered?
- Will transportation be provided?