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by Liliana Diaz
July 07, 2020
There are different bilingual programs that exist in the school setting and you may be wondering which program may best suite your child in order to maintain your home language or perhaps you would like to enhance your child’s language learning abilities in Spanish, Chinese, French, Arabic, Korean, etc. In this blog post, I will discuss some of the major bilingual programs that exist in the school setting as well as the advantages and disadvantages of enrolling in those programs.
Why some parents might not want to seek bilingual programs
There are many reasons why parents might not want to seek dual language programs. One common reason is the perception that the general status of the home language is low relative to that of the “dominant language.” This is a very common perception that is built by the hardships that some immigrant families go through because they did not speak English when immigrating to the US. However, we know that this perception doesn’t prove to be true. There are many advantages to being bilingual, some advantages include increased cognitive skills and cognitive flexibility. Another reason that parents might not want to seek a bilingual program for his/her child might be due to the belief that bilingualism will cause academic difficulties. This is a common myth that has been debunked and you can read about the research that debunks this myth and other myths here.
The importance of bilingual programs
Bilingual education can increase your child’s academic skills, social skills, language skills, literacy skills and cultural awareness! “Bilingual children exhibit significant cognitive advantages in comparison to monolingual children” (Bialystok 2006; Chin & Wigglesworth 2007; Kovaac & Mehler 2009). Research studies suggest that bilingual programs can best support English language learners and lead to overall academic gains. A recent research article in the Chicago Tribune stated, “Chicago Public Schools students who aren’t proficient in English when they enter kindergarten tend to have better attendance and in some cases higher test scores than their peers who are native English speakers, according to a new study by the University of Chicago.” In addition, other advantages to bilingual programs include the ability to be biliterate (the ability to read in both languages) and having more educational and career opportunities in the future. Many job employers often prefer to hire individuals who speak more than one language in order to increase communication across all borders this includes professions such as teachers, speech language pathologists, other health professions such as doctors, flight attendants, tech consultants, etc.
Know the difference and types of bilingual programs that exist
There are many program models that exist within the realm of bilingual education. Therefore, it is important to ask questions to your school administrators or teachers in order to find out what programs the school offers. Each program is unique and offers different types of bilingual support depending on the students’ needs therefore, the types of supports provided may vary school to school. Here are some of the most common bilingual program models that you may come across in the school setting.
Transitional bilingual program (early exit)
Description: Early exit programs use English language learner’s home language as a foundation for building English proficiency. The program can last from 1-4 years depending on the school. Although this program is considered a bilingual program, students will eventually loose instruction in their native language and instruction is eventually replaced with English-only instruction. The goal for this program is to quickly integrate the mainstream language (English) in the curriculum.
Transitional bilingual program (late exit) / Developmental bilingual program
Goal: Limited bilingualism
Description: Late exit programs provide an extended amount of instruction and time to mastering literacy in both languages. Late exit programs provide more instruction in the student’s native language during the early elementary years and by middle school, instruction shifts to predominately English. Most late exit programs provide bilingual support up to the 5th or 6th grade depending on the school.
One-way dual language program / Foreign language immersion
Goal: Bilingualism & Biliteracy
Description: All students in the program have the same native language. The program supports one language group of students to become bilingual and biliterate. Instruction is usually given equally in both languages and students that enroll in this type of program are primarily English speakers.
Two-way dual language program / Two-way immersion program
Description: Students from two different language groups learn both languages. Instruction is provided equally in both languages and sometimes split between morning/afternoon depending on the school. Students are learning the school languages and others are learning the native language of their classmates. A balance of native English speakers and native speakers are enrolled in this kind of program.
Once again, research supports dual language programs as the best kind of programs that will enable your child to become biliterate and bilingual. Dual language programs not only foster bilingualism but enhanced awareness of linguistic and cultural diversity and high levels of academic achievement. In the examples above, the dual language programs that may be more suitable to reach bilingualism and biliteracy are two- and one- way dual language programs. Make sure to inform yourself about the different types of bilingual programs and others that may have not been mentioned in this post before enrolling your child in a bilingual program.
November 25, 2022
Thanks for mentioning that one-way bilingual education is primarily used by English speakers. I speak Spanish so I’m hoping that I can enroll my daughter in a Spanish immersion program. It would be really nice to find one that accepts kids up to 6th grade. http://trlanguages.com/admissions.html
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by Liliana Diaz
November 22, 2021
With the holiday season approaching, you are probably wondering what to buy for your little bilingual, or perhaps you are looking to gift an educational toy to a little one on a bilingual journey. Well lucky for you, you are in the right spot! As a bilingual speech language pathologist and new bilingual mom, I am constantly on the search for toys that can provide English and Spanish output.
by Liliana Diaz
November 29, 2020
by Liliana Diaz
September 13, 2020
Welcome! I am Bilingual Speechie and this is my speech therapy blog! Here you will find bilingual (English & Spanish) resources & activities for speech language therapy! I am here to make the lives of all bilingual SLPs easier!
My name is Liliana Diaz-Vazquez and I obtained my bachelor’s degree in communication disorders in 2012 and my master’s degree in speech language pathology at Saint Xavier University in 2014.
I am a certified, licensed bilingual speech language pathologist (SLP) currently practicing in Chicago, Illinois. I have a passion with working with the bilingual population! I specialize in pediatrics with children ranging in ages from 1-18 years old and I predominantly serve bilingual and predominately Spanish-speaking students in general education programs, blended preschool programs and low-incidence programs.
I currently work full time in the public-school setting and part time in early intervention. I also run my own blog and create all sorts of bilingual resources/activities which I use with my own clients. I have extensive experience treating and evaluating a variety of disorders. I have worked with children with autism, Down syndrome, cognitive impairments, learning disabilities, apraxia, fluency disorders, language disorders and developmental delays.
My areas of expertise include augmentative/alternative communication (AAC), bilingual language development and the assessment and treatment of language delays/disorders in bilingual children.
I am a certified member of the American Speech-Language and Hearing Association (ASHA) since 2014, a member of the Illinois Speech and Hearing Association (ISHA) since 2014 and maintain licensure in the state of Illinois.
Aside from working with families and children, I am a part time foodie! Follow me on social media to check out all my food adventures within Chicago!