Select Program Models and Enhance School Environment
Decide which dual language (DL) program type, program model, and implementation model to consider for the program and then visit experienced, successful DL programs (with a minimum of 4 years of implementation) for each program type, program model, and implementation model being considered. Create a language allocation plan for the DL program model selected. Signal to the district, families, and community members that the partner culture and language are as important as the mainstream culture and English at each DL school site through the creation of a multicultural, multilingual school environment.
When deciding on the DL program type, program model, and implementation model, it will be important to consider the outcomes that have been identified for the program through the work of the DL Leadership Team and which DL program type, program model, and implementation model would best support those outcomes. Research on each program type, program model, and implementation model should be reviewed and discussed.
The DL Leadership Team should then visit several existing DL programs to learn what an instructional day looks like for each DL program type, program model, and implementation model being considered. The team can meet and speak with representatives of other programs who have successfully implemented a program to learn the key factors in a successful start as well as potential challenges to be aware of and prepared for before making their decision.
Once the DL program model is selected, instructional minutes for each language for each grade level across the elementary program should be determined.
Another aspect of planning for a DL program is creating a welcoming environment for the program in the district and at each DL school site. It is a visible endorsement of the equal value of the partner language and English language as well as their corresponding cultures. For many sites that will house a DL program, this will be a significant shift, and seeing a change in the district and school environment, both virtual (online) and physical, as they embrace multilingualism and multiculturalism will have a significant positive impact and will highlight the DL program as a benefit for all students, including English Learners.
Dual Language Program Types
One of the decisions that the DL Leadership Team will have to be made is which type of DL program the district will implement. But first, a definition:
According to the Center for Applied Linguistics (CAL) in Washington, D.C. (http://cal.org/content/download/4385/67353/file/CAL Practitioner Brief Dual Language Education Sept2017.pdf), the term, “dual language,” refers to the use of two languages for instruction in the classroom. The partner language (other than English) is used for minimum of 50% of the time, and English is used for the minimum of 10% of time.
There are several types of DL programs for the DL Leadership Team to consider:
Two-Way Immersion is a form of DL education that includes two different linguistic groups in the classroom: English Learners (native speakers of the partner language) comprise at least 33% of the classroom and English-only students (native English-speakers) comprise at least another 33% of the classroom. Instruction is provided for a portion of the day in English and a portion in the partner language.
One-Way Immersion is a form of DL education that includes only one linguistic group in the classroom (if the linguistic group is English-only students; it is sometimes referred to as “developmental bilingual education” if the linguistic group is English Learners).
A critical feature of both DL education programs is monolingual instruction, where the teacher uses only one language at a time. This helps to establish motivation for student use of the language of instruction. There may be instructional opportunities for students to use the entirety of their linguistic repertoire, or “translanguage” (García, O., Johnson, S., & Seltzer, K., 2017; García, O., & Lin, A., 2017), to accomplish specific goals, planned in advance by the teacher.
Dual Language Program Models
There are several different program models for DL programs that are based on the percentage of instructional time in each language. The program models with the largest research base and that are most implemented are the 90:10 and 50:50 models.
90:10 DL Program Model
In this model, the partner language is used in kindergarten for 90% of the instructional time and English is used for 10%. At each grade level, the amount of instruction in English rises by 10%, as per the chart, below. This is considered a “sequential literacy” model, as literacy in the partner language is developed before developing literacy in English.
50:50 DL Program Model
In this model, the partner language is used in kindergarten for 50% of the instructional time and English is used for 50%. At each grade level, the amount of instruction in English and the partner language remain the same, as per the chart, below. This is considered a “simultaneous literacy” model, as the partner language and English are developed simultaneously.
The 50:50 program model requires a closely aligned curricular program where instruction in key content areas, such as language arts and math, is taught in both languages each day throughout
the week. However, it is important that the same skills or concepts are not retaught in both languages, but rather are built upon or extended
For many DL programs, the percentage in the partner language is reduced further at the secondary level, often to 30%-40%, for reasons that often include a lack of highly qualified biliterate teachers with a secondary credential or authorization to teach in the partner language in the various subject areas and rigorous, standards-aligned curriculum in the partner language.
There are other DL program models used in various parts of the US, including 80:20 and 70:30. Each district that selects one of these models has a rationale for their selection. Currently, there are not longitudinal research studies that have focused on the academic and linguistic outcome of these DL program models. There is a question regarding the ability of these DL program models to replicate the research results from 90:10 and 50:50 models, which may be answered with future research.
Teacher Roles in Each DL Program Model
In both the 90:10 and 50:50 DL program models, there can either be one teacher who provides the instruction in both English and the partner language (self-contained classroom) or two teachers, one who teaches the English portion of the day to the class of DL students and another who teachers the partner language portion of the day (the students change classrooms to accomplish this).
If there are two teachers providing instruction, one teacher provides monolingual instruction in the partner language, and is the only teacher who speaks to/teaches the students (both English Learner and English-only) in the partner language.
The other teacher provides monolingual instruction in English and is the only teacher who speaks to/teaches the students (both English Learner and English-only) in English. Both teachers adhere to the DL program model.
In the primary grades, it is recommended that this teacher also be bilingual so that s/he can better understand the students when they use the partner language during English instruction time.
Dual Language Implementation Models
There are also variations in how the DL program is implemented at a school site. The two most common DL implementation models are a whole school program or a strand within a school program.
Whole School DL Implementation Model
All classrooms in the school are implementing the DL program model based on the grade level being taught. All students in the school are enrolled in the DL program. All teachers in the school teach in the DL program.
This model has implications for district policy, as students living in the site’s attendance area who do not wish to be in the DL program would have to attend a different school. School currently open: If the school is currently open and the intent is to shift it to a whole school DL program, it typically starts with kindergarten (or whatever grade level[s] the program will start at) and expands each year to the next grade level.
This also brings about staffing implications, as each year that the DL program advances to a higher-grade level, more DL teachers will be needed, which means that there may be fewer positions for non-DL teachers at the site. Transfers may have to be worked out with Human Resources, as per the bargaining unit’s contract.
School currently closed (reopening as a full school DL program): If the school is currently closed and the intent is to reopen as a whole school DL program, then the students living in the site’s attendance area will have to either enroll in the DL program (if entering the grade[s] at which the DL program will start) or attend a different school.
In addition, it is recommended that the DL program start at kindergarten (it can also start at pre-kindergarten, or in some states, transitional kindergarten; in some cases, the decision is to start with first grade, as well), and moving up one grade level each year. The question is then who will teach the grade levels that are not currently implementing the DL program, and what students will fill those grade level classrooms until the DL students reach that grade level. It is recommended that all staff assigned to the school have the appropriate bilingual teaching credential or authorization so that they can teach both in the English-only as well as the DL program.
Strand within a School (“School within a School”) DL Implementation Model
A dedicated number of classrooms at each grade level are implementing the DL program model based on the grade level being taught. All the students in these classrooms are enrolled in the DL program, and the teachers that present instruction in the partner language have their state credential/authorization to teach in the partner language.
This DL implementation model has fewer implications for policy, such as attendance area boundaries, as there is an English-only as well as a DL program at the school site. However, there are other implications regarding a separate program operating within the school, which can lead to the DL program feeling disconnected from the school as a whole. Often, districts will develop other programs at the school, often as “academies,” so that all students in the school can experience a sense of belonging to one of the many programs at the site. A specific focus is then placed on making all students, regardless of the program they participate in, feel like they are all a part of the larger school family.
Preparing for Dual Language Program Visit; Where to Find Experienced, Successful Programs
For recommendations of where to locate DL programs to visit, contact your County Office of Education English Learner Department, your state affiliate of the National Association for Bilingual Education (NABE), or check out our dual language school database at duallanguageschools.org.
Formulate a list of questions to help the DL Leadership Team learn from its visits to DL programs and to better inform its planning and work.
· What were the considerations that lead you to consider your DL program model (e.g., 90:10 or 50:50)?
· What were the considerations that lead you to consider your DL implementation model (e.g., whole school or strand in a school)?
· How did you finally decide upon the DL program and implementation models?
· How did you recruit district teachers for your DL program?
· How did you recruit teachers from outside your district for your DL program?
· How do you recruit students from each language group?
· What are the DL program’s registration criteria?
· How are the language group interest lists prioritized and verified?
· How do you organize the DL program daily schedule? Do you have a language allocation plan (allocating instructional minutes by language and content area across all grade levels at the school in alignment with the DL program model)?
· How do you maintain adherence to the partner language according to the DL program model?
· Where do you obtain curriculum and instructional materials in the partner language?
· What assessments do you use to measure the DL students’ academic achievement and language development in both languages?
Language Allocation Plan
It is recommended that a language allocation plan be developed, which will identify the percentages of instruction in each language based on the site’s daily schedule for each grade level across the span of one week. Ideally, the percentage of each day’s instruction would be aligned with the DL program model, but most programs average the minutes out over the span of a week to accommodate things such as minimum days, assemblies, etc.
It is recommended that the language allocation plan be done for the entire span of grade levels for the DL program at the elementary level prior to beginning the program even though you will be growing the program one grade level each year.
When calculating instructional minutes, be sure to count all contact and instruction in English toward the percentage of the day/week in English (e.g., English Language Development [ELD], physical education, library, computers, etc.).
Attaining the exact percentage for each language daily can be challenging, especially if there is a late-start/early-release/minimum day each week. Therefore, it is recommended that the language percentages be calculated on a weekly basis.
Multilingual and Multicultural Environment
That the school site has a DL program should not be the best kept secret on campus. Signage at the site should be in both English and the partner language, and there should be resources available in the partner language in the library for students, families, and community members to access.
It will be helpful to survey each site that will have a DL program to determine what signage is currently posted in English, then requisition corresponding signs in the partner language. School marquees should also display all messages in both the partner language and English.
Multilingual and Multicultural Online Presence
Building upon the admonition that the DL program should not be a well-kept secret, there should be a link in English and the partner language to the DL program on the district as well as each DL school site’s homepage. This link should take the viewer to a page (or more), available in English and the partner language, outlining the vision and mission of the program, the DL program type, program model, and implementation model available at each site. Contact information, family information meetings, and the process to enroll students in the DL program can also be shared here. Resources for families of DL students can also be posted there, along with announcements of the multilingual and multicultural activities sponsored by the district and/or school site to engage students, families, and community members.
Multilingual and Multicultural Site Personnel
It is beneficial to have bilingual personnel throughout the DL school site to show the commitment to multilingualism and multiculturalism.
As the instructional leaders at their site, having bilingual/biliterate site administrators is often cited as the ideal for DL programs. Without a doubt, the ability of the site administrators to connect and communicate directly with all the families in the DL program is certainly a bonus. However, not all who are bilingual/biliterate/bicultural are necessarily supporters of DL education. Often, site administrators who are not
bilingual/biliterate/bicultural are strong advocates and supporters for the DL programs at their sites. With the assistance of office personnel who are bilingual/biliterate/bicultural, they are masterful in communicating with all the families in the DL program. Thus, being bilingual/biliterate/bicultural and an advocate/supporter of DL programs are two of the most important characteristics of an effective site administrator for a site with a DL program.
All teachers at each DL site should have a fundamental level of knowledge about the DL program so that they understand the many benefits it provides for students, families, and communities. As they will be working alongside DL teachers at their grade level, it will be important for them to understand and support the multilingual and multicultural benefits that all will receive. If any of them are also bilingual/biliterate, they can engage the DL students in the partner language, giving the students an opportunity to use the partner language outside their classroom.
Ideally, office personnel throughout the school site should be bilingual/biliterate (English and the partner language), as they are the first point of contract with families and the community at the school site.
Office personnel should have a fundamental level of knowledge about the DL program so that they can answer questions that families may have when considering enrolling their children in the program. They should also be aware of the potential misunderstandings and uncertainties that families and community members may have regarding the DL program, instruction in the partner language, and their children’s ability to learn English as they will often be the ones answering questions about the program that families and community members may have.
Other Site Personnel
Librarians should also be informed about the DL program and its benefits for all students at the school site. They are critical partners for the DL program in identifying and suggesting instructional and informational resources for the DL teachers and students. It would be ideal if they were also bilingual and biliterate so that library time could be conducted in the partner language to support the DL program language allocation plan. It would also be ideal if custodial, nutritional, and supervisorial staff were bilingual/biliterate to allow the DL students the opportunity to use their language skills outside the classroom.
García, O., & Lin, A. M. (2017). Translanguaging in bilingual education. Bilingual and multilingual education, 117-130.
García, O., Johnson, S. I., & Seltzer, K. (2017). The translanguaging classroom: Leveraging student bilingualism for learning. Philadelphia, PA: Caslon