How do I know if it’s a quality dual language immersion program?

After contacting and interviewing the school, you may ask to observe in the dual language immersion classrooms. Many schools have special times that they have guided tours of the school. At this time, you will be given a tour of the school and allowed to observe in some classrooms. A quality dual language immersion program should have the following characteristics:

  • Curriculum: It is standards-based. The textbooks are in the languages of instruction.
  • Instruction: The teacher does not translate between languages, but stays in the language of instruction. Students are encouraged to use the language of instruction. Charts and other materials on walls are in the target language and in English according to what language the subject is taught in for that grade level. Students are working in groups or pairs and using the language of instruction.
  • Professional Development: The school has a plan for ongoing professional development for the dual language immersion teachers, and the district and school are using the up-to-date, research-based methods for instruction in the classroom.
  • Program Structure: There is evidence of strong and knowledgeable leadership. Dual language immersion and non-dual language immersion teachers and classes are working together on projects. There is a well-defined vision and mission for the dual language immersion program.
  • Family & Community: There is parent participation throughout the school from parents who speak the target language and parents who speak English.
  • Support & Resources: There are adequate materials in the target language in the classrooms and in the school library.

Sandra Mercuri
Author: Sandra Mercuri

Dr. Mercuri is a nationally and internationally recognized educational consultant in the area of second language acquisition, dual language education, and curriculum integration for biliteracy development. She has over 28 years of experience in teaching in K-12 schools and at the university level in Argentina and the United States. After retiring as a professor from the University of Texas System, she continued to work on research on the development of academic language across the content areas, the use of translanguaging practices for language transfer, and the effect of long-term professional development on dual language, bilingual and ESL teachers’ instructional practices. Dr. Mercuri provides professional development for teachers and administrators as well as for parents. She presents at national and international conferences on issues of second language acquisition and bilingualism, dual language education, translanguaging pedagogy, and ESL strategies. Dr. Mercuri has published articles in the TESOL Quarterly, Talking Points, EJLTS, JMER, TESOL Connections, MEXTESOL, and the NABE journal as well as the Spanish professional journals The Colombian Journal of Bilingual Education: GIST and the Revista Educación y Pedagogía and more than twelve book chapters. Dr. Mercuri is the author of the book titled Supporting Literacy Through Science: The Challenge of Teaching...

One thought on “How do I know if it’s a quality dual language immersion program?

  1. You made a good point that the program structure should also scrutinized when planning to find the right dual language immersion program. I’m interested in looking for a good one soon because I think my daughter can easily pick up Spanish words whenever I talk to my sister. It would be nice if she could formally learn the language at a young age.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *