93.  I am a K bilingual teacher at an Elementary School in Santa Fe, NM. Our former principal has retired and we now have a new principal who has put our dual language on hold to research the program more before continuing with its implementation. Do you have resources or do you have suggested readings regarding dual language programs without 1/3 Spanish speakers, 1/3 bilingual and 1/3 English dominant. I know this was a concern when our program first began and remains a concern regarding whether our site is the best location for a dual language program since recent language proficiency test scores indicate that we have 35% Limited English Proficient Students not 85% which was what we where told when you visited our school.  I believe the program was going well in K however the issue of lack of materials and sufficient training for new staff members hired to implement the program has also been raised. Lastly, we also have had some parental concerns which include discipline issues. If you have any feedback or suggested resources to share with our bilingual committee investigating (dual language) this matter further would be great. I also reviewed your Web Site and did find valuable information. Thanks in advance.

You may wish to contact CABE (California Association for Bilingual Education) or NABE (National Association for Bilingual Education) for their latest journal issues where you may find some recent research on your question. Or you can visit their Web Sites for information on their latest published research studies.

Given the figures you mention in your question, your school has 1/3 Spanish speakers (your Limited English Proficient students at your school tend to be of Spanish-speaking background) and probably 1/3 bilingual (English-Spanish) and 1/3 monolingual English students.

I do not believe that such strict adherence to the numbers of speakers (1/3 Spanish, 1/3 bilingual and 1/3 English) is the crucial issue or the determining issue for the success of Dual Language Programs. You could have Dual Language programs with English-Only speakers, in which case you would have an Immersion program. It is probably politically expedient to play the number's game, but I know of no research where the numbers are the determining factor in the success of the program.

In ALL the research studies I have read, this is the determining factor: The lack of adequate training for the teachers to understand their role in the program they are implementing. One of the most common features of educational research that aims to compare methods of instruction, for example, is that the standard deviations for the different methods tend to be very widespread. This indicates that, for all methods that the research compared, teachers obtained incredibly diverse results, some very good, and some very poor, thus, no method can be found better than the others.

Discipline falls under the "teacher training" umbrella. Again, discipline issues abound in ALL types of programs.

Now, some educational decisions are based on VALUES, the values the school community holds dear. A school community is comprised of teachers, the principal, other administrators and support staff, the parents, the students, and the Central Office administrators and staff along with the members of the Board of Education, usually elected by the community at-large. What kinds of programs a school may implement is an educational decision based on the values of the school community.

Research can, and should help in making this decision. And research abounds showing that dual language programs are excellent programs to substantially increase (1) the educational achievement of students AND (2) their future economic potential (Wayne P. Thomas and Virginia P. Collier). The school community needs help in valuing language proficiency in more than one language. Advocates of dual language programs need to work hard helping others valuing proficiency in more than one language.

There are many articles written in daily newspapers that inform the community about the incredible benefits –economic, social, intellectual, political, and academically-- of knowing two or more languages. Advocates of dual language learning need to share these articles with their school communities.

 


For more in-depth information, classroom demonstrations, and "coaching" of new and/or experienced teachers, Dr. CARMEN SANCHEZ SADEK offers:

1. Cognitive - Academic Language and Vocabulary Development
2. Cross Cultural Diversity - Multicultural Strategies
3. Effective Instruction for English Learners (L.E.P. students) Parts 1, 2, 3, 4
4. Promoting Academic Success in Language Minority Students
5. Cognitive - Academic Language and Vocabulary Development
6. Oral Language / Literacy Skills / Higher Order Thinking Skills
7. 50/50 Dual Language Programs: design, planning and implementation
8. The Structure of English / The Structure of Spanish
9. Transition: Introduction to English Reading

Web Site Programs for Teachers: Numbers 1, 5, 7, 8, and 9.
Web Site Programs for
Paraprofessionals: Number 3.
Web Site Programs for
New Teachers:
Enhanced Cultural Sensitivity - The Challenge of Students Diversity
Identifying / Responding to Students' Language Needs
Phonemic Awareness: Teaching English phonics to L.E.P. students
Relationship Between Reading, Writing and Spelling
Improving Reading Performance -- Building Oral Language Skills)

Write and e-mail any additional questions you may have, and Dr. CARMEN SANCHEZ SADEK will establish with you, your school or district a Technical Assistance Service Contract. Dr. CARMEN SANCHEZ SADEK will answer all your questions promptly and to your satisfaction.

 

For information and credentials please click on the link below or contact directly:

CARMEN SANCHEZ SADEK, Ph.D.

Educational Consultant, Program Evaluator

National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, Certification (12/2006)

3113 Malcolm Avenue, Los Angeles, California 90034-3406

Phone and Fax: (310) 474-5605

E-mail:  csssadek@gte.net