Dual Language: It Takes a Village…of Superheroes!
By: Dr. José Medina, Director of Dual Language and Bilingual Education, Center for Applied Linguistics, Washington, DC
Once upon a time, I was a dual language school principal and a member of a fabulous village. An equipo of dual language superheroes. A group of dual language educators, advocates, and defenders of equity & social justice. We worked collectively against the evil forces that dared go against the research that clearly indicates that dual language programming is awesome!
I miss learning alongside my superhero friends, each day. These superheroes live in Tejas and serve in a very special dual language school that has one-way and two-way dual language strands, as well as a traditional monolingual strand. But, you would never know the diferencia among the superheroes because they all serve one purpose. They all believe that each estudiante has the possibility of becoming bilingual/biliterate, have high academic achievement in two program languages, and can work to become socio-culturally competent.
In the Guiding Principles for Dual Language Education: Third Edition, Strand 1 Program Structure, Principle 3, the authors explicitly delineate that a dual language program must have strong, effective and knowledgeable leadership. However, this leadership reference goes beyond the principal and assistant principal. In fact, following is explicitly detailed:
- The program has robust, shared leadership.
- Decision-making is aligned to the program mission and includes communication with stakeholders.
- Leaders are advocates for the program.
In order for a marvelous dual language village to exist, it must include district leadership, school administration, teacher, student, and family superheroes! Only then, can the three goals of dual language stand a chance against educational systems that promote a monolingual lens.
Recently, I shared in a keynote address that,
"Dual language is not for the weak of heart; but, if you choose to be a defender of equity and social justice, it is the educational path to travel on."