1. Here is my favorite chart. It shows that of several different ways to educate Dual-Language Learners (DLL), two-way schooling is by far the most effective—in the long run.
Things to note about the chart:
1). Different methods do not differ very much in the early years.
2). Two-way growth continues steadily.
3). In traditional ESL Pull-out, children lose ground—from 6th grade on, when the stakes get higher. Here we are looking at drop-outs before graduation.
So, I like TWIS for minority language children.
It gives children a way to relate to each other in both languages.
Other children are the best language teachers for MY children (and yours).
2. In the summer of 2009, a group of parents and educators in Amherst Massachusetts—including me–got together to create FAIR: Familias en Amherst para Inmersion Reciproca. The bilingual acronym almost works: Fair is easy to pronounce in English, but not in Spanish. The translation of the words into English make “AFTWI”, so we use the Spanish acronym in English and the Spanish phrase in Spanish.
TWO-WAY Immersion calls for classes with children of two language groups. In Amherst, we are trying to make a Spanish-English program. So native Spanish speakers will learn English and Spanish, and native English speakers will learn English and Spanish. As in the Spanish term for it, the immersion is reciprocal. Those who are native speakers pull the others along. Everyone gets to be the star, half of the day.
Unlike many programs for minority language students, the learning is reciprocal. “They” aren’t being forced to adapt to “our” ways. Both sides are the “target.”
3. Different schools organize their languages differently, but I’m in favor of 50-50: Half of the day in English, and half of the day in Spanish.
Schools that are organized in this manner cost the same as other schools in a district. They just take more planning, to meet everyone’s needs.
The Center for Applied Linguistics has a website of resources for Two-Way programs. It is much more than a directory—although it is that. It has Tools for Practitioners, Guiding Principles, Frequently asked questions, and a national directory.
4. The most compelling reason to have TWO WAY Immersion Schooling:
TWI is not good only for the minority—it’s wonderful for mainstream, majority language speakers, too.