Why would I want to send my child to a dual language immersion school?

Mastering two or more languages has enormous benefits for students, both native speakers of English and native speakers of the target language(s) at a dual language immersion school. People who can speak, read and write in two or more languages are able to participate in different cultural and language worlds. Research has confirmed the benefits of biliteracy and bilingualism that are demonstrated as brain and cognitive functioning, academic, economic, and social advantages, as well as cross-cultural competency and supporting a stronger family cohesion and connection to their family heritage:

  • Brain and Cognitive Advantages

    • Development of skills in two or more languages enhances brain-functioning with long-term cognitive benefits. Similarly, age-related mental decline such as Alzheimer’s and dementia has been found to be delayed in bilingual people.
  • Academic Advantages

    • Mastering two or more languages prepares students to communicate in a language other than English and also increases academic performance in other subjects. For students who come to school as native speakers of the target language, also known as “English learners,” the simultaneous development of both English and their home language is associated with stronger performance in English than students, both native English speakers and native speakers of the target language, who are educated exclusively in English.
  • Economic Advantages

    • Fluency in more than one language and the cross-cultural skills that students acquire are prized and rewarded with higher salaries by many businesses in the United States and throughout the world. Many more career opportunities are available to people who are proficient in English and another language in the global environment of the 21st century.
  • Social Advantages and Cross-Cultural Competency

    • Students who study other languages display more tolerance for and interest in other cultures. Study of another language expands one’s worldview and builds cross-cultural understanding, a definite advantage in the global multilingual, multicultural world in which we live.
  • Stronger Family Cohesion and Connection to Family Heritage

    • More than three out of ten of school children in California, and nearly one in ten across the nation, speak a language other than English at home. The development of strong bilingual and biliteracy skills that include the home language and English provide them the capacity and opportunity to participate actively in both worlds, leading to a strengthening of their family and heritage culture.

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...

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