First, let me start off by informing you that as I write this article, I am sitting in a hotel room as Typhoon Mangkhut brings heavy winds and rain into the Hong Kong area. It's my first time in this type of storm, and by all accounts, it is one of the strongest in Hong Kong history. For your information, all is well and I am safe!
I am in Hong Kong to serve at the Dalton School Hong Kong. Several years ago, I began collaborating with their leadership team as they prepared to open a second school site where dual language programming would guide their work.
It has been an amazing partnership and one that has grown me so much as a professional and as a person.
Dalton School Hong Kong leaders contacted me after hearing about my dual language work at the prestigious International School of Beijing (ISB). The work at ISB has also been ongoing for several years, as they are in the midst of their third year of dual language implementation. Being in Beijing, as a dual language expert, has been life altering. I have had the opportunity to deepen my learning about dual language, and in truth, I have also had the opportunity to see how international dual language programs have similarities, but also, important differences to those in the United States.
International School of Beijing
The International School of Beijing is located in the Shunyi District of the city. ISB includes elementary, middle, and high school campuses within the large complex that makes up the entire educational institution.
The 50-50 Chinese-English dual language two-way program presently serves students from Pre-Kindergarten 3 and up to 1st grade. Each year, an additional grade is being added, with ongoing discussions about the possibility of growing the program to the secondary levels.
One thing that makes this international dual language program unique is the focus on the three goals of dual language: bilingualism/biliteracy, grade level academic achievement in both program languages, and sociocultural competence. Some international bilingual schools focus on bilingualism. At ISB, the focus is biliteracy.
Continue reading to hear more about José's experiences with dual language programs….