Dual immersion and bilingual education both refer to teaching academic content in two different languages with the goal of students becoming literate in both languages. Immersion learning refers to any education approach that teaches by placing students directly into a new environment with a different language than known to them. The most common use of immersion learning is in teaching foreign languages.
What is dual language immersion?
Dual Immersion is an age-old educational program that is highly diligent and academically challenging, in which participants learn a second language. The program involves two languages, English and a target language.
Dual language instruction which is also known as dual immersion instruction is where students develop academic skills in their native language while building skills in a different language too. It often happens, while studying in a foreign country, there are native language speakers and there is another half who are aware of the native language of the country and their native language.
What is the purpose of dual language?
The main motive or purpose of the Dual Immersion Language program is to develop individuals with bilingual skills, academic excellence, cross-culture importance and positivity, and personal competency in the global market. Dual language programs foster bilingualism, biliteracy, more awareness of diversified cultures and languages, more academic achievements, and much more. Bilingual students or individuals also gain social-cultural importance and awareness.
Why is dual immersion important?
Developing fluent bilingualism gives children a variety of economic, cultural, cognitive, and psychological advantages. This method is also known as “Two-Way Language Learning”. Being able to communicate and excel academically in two languages gives students greater self-esteem and a sense of accomplishment. Students also gain interpersonal skills, including cultural sensitivity, social-cultural importance, and awareness, and also an awareness preparing a student for entering the global society and global marketplace.
Elaborative explanation of Dual Immersion
The Dual Immersion program involves two languages, English and a target language. In dual immersion classrooms, language is taught through content as opposed to teaching language as a separate subject altogether. There is a strict separation of languages. The students in the class comprise a balanced number of native English speakers and native speakers of the target language. The program teachers are bilingual and illiterate in both the target language and English. The curriculum, assessment systems, and teaching methods are almost similar to that of a regular English Classroom session.
The two most popular dual immersion program designs are as below:
- 90/10 model
- 50/50 model
These numbers in the model are the representatives of the percentage of instructional time of the target subject and English in each language. In some cases of the 50/50 model, English-only teachers teach the English portion of the session. Many types of research suggest that both models achieve bilingualism and biliteracy, however, it is believed that the 90/10 model creates a higher level of bilingualism and biliteracy. Parents need to understand the basics of the program thoroughly before enrolling a child in this program, as this program requires commitment and tonnes of hard work.
Advantages or benefits of the Dual Immersion program
- Dual language programs foster bilingualism, biliteracy, more awareness of diversified cultures and languages, and more academic achievements.
- Bilingual students or individuals also gain social-cultural importance and awareness.
- Students who are part of this course gain interpersonal skills, including cultural sensitivity, social-cultural importance, and awareness, and also an awareness preparing a student for entering the global society and global marketplace.
- Students learning a dual language have a better scope of earning higher salaries in their profession.
- Bilingual students or individuals also project a different amount of confidence and are able to secure good job positions due to their additional skills in a different language.
- Developing fluent bilingualism gives children a variety of economic, cultural, cognitive, and psychological advantages.
- Teachers teaching these courses often receive continuous professional development training that ensures the fidelity of these programs. So parents can enroll their children without worrying much as students would be gaining the modern, most updated, and wide exposure of knowledge along with the traditional values of both languages.
- Parents also receive all the support and updates regarding the program.
Disadvantages of the Dual Immersion program
- The advantages of the dual immersion program are often long-term, so parents and students both require patience for the attainment of the fruits.
- Such programs are quite difficult to execute and require proper management and implementation.
- Sometimes the home language(English) is given much more preference after a gradual time span.
- Sometimes it happens that the target language is taught for a while, and then due to a lack of interest of students, only English sessions take place in a gradual span of time.
- This program requires a span of seven to eight years approximately, for complete command of the second language. This can be alarming for some parents after a certain period of time in the course when they realize their child may not be at the same reading level as their English-only counterparts. It is a little difficult for both parents and the student to keep the patience required for gaining proficiency in both languages equally. After the end of the seventh year of participation in the program, the student may gain a complete command and grip over the target language.
- These programs require both time investments and a lot of funds investments.
The Dual Immersion Solution and Conclusion
Instead of acknowledging these programs as a costly challenge, parents and schools should overlook the cost part, time duration, and continuous and vigorous efforts and see the good part where they are acquiring assets in the form of bilingual students. Being able to communicate ad excel in two or more languages also gives students greater self-esteem and a sense of accomplishment.