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8. Fostering a Positive, Multilingual, and Multicultural School Environment

GOAL:

Signal to the school and community that target culture and language are as important as the mainstream culture and English at the school site.

OVERVIEW

Creating a welcoming environment for the dual language education program is very important. It is a visible endorsement of the value of both cultures and languages. For many sites, this will be a significant shift, and district and site administrative support will be critical to the program being seen as a benefit for all students instead of only benefiting the English Learners. Many parents and community members are often not adjusted or understanding of all the benefits of a Dual Language community. It is your job to educate them and foster the dialogue around Dual Language.

  • Campus signs should be in both English and the target language. Make sure that the signs are written in a positive, inclusive manner. It is important that the dialogue around the campus is written in an engaging, upbeat manner.
  • Office personnel should be bilingual (English and the target language)
    • Should know dual language education program well enough to answer questions that parents may have when considering enrolling their children in the program. They should also be well aware of the prejudices and insecurities that come with implementing a Dual Language Education, as they will often be the ones answering difficult questions from parents and community members. They should be trained in handling this with a positive, logical and concise demeanor
  • Ask if parents want to join on field trips as volunteers, this will also help parents connect to other parents which will continue to engage the community.
  • Promote field trips for students in the program to learn about the target language culture.
  • Encourage students to use the target language outside the classroom.
  • Provide materials for parents to have a better understanding of the target language culture, so that they are able to assist their child at home in helping foster their education.
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