Benefits of Dual-Language Education
We are proud to be a partner of the brand new Arabic Immersion Magnet School in Houston, TX, an HISD public elementary dual-language school where students learn in English and Arabic. AIMS is a global school that celebrates multilingualism and multiculturalism; Arabic will be the 3rd language for many of their students.
In honor of their inaugural year, we highlighted some major benefits of students learning two languages at the same time.
Dual-language programs have become increasingly attractive over the last few decades. Schools are tasked with educating students to be prepared for a job market where multi-lingual candidates are more competitive than their counterparts. Dual-language immersion enables students to thrive academically in two languages while fostering a sense of global citizenship and boosting cultural awareness.
What is Dual-Language Immersion?
Dual-language immersion is a subcategory of immersive educational programs. Dual-language programs teach in two languages simultaneously—“Students are taught literacy and content in two languages.” (http://www.dual-language.org/) The goal of dual-language is to combine groups of children with different native languages in order to foster fluency and academic success among both groups in both languages.
Academic Advantages of Dual-Language Programs
Both English learners and native speakers who have been educated in a dual-language program are more academically and cognitively advanced than their peers who have learned in a traditional academic setting or in an ESL program. Studies consistently show that both groups make significant progress in both languages.
• Bilingual children exhibited “enhanced” development of the executive-function system, which guards against deterioration of the cognitive functions associated with aging, and with Alzheimer’s disease. (http://www.psychologicalscience.org/journals/cd/19_1_inpress/Bialystok_final.pdf?lan=ayajzqechdlh)
• All students score higher than their peers in respective subgroups in reading and in math. (http://gled.ncdpi.wikispaces.net/file/detail/Thomas%20and%20Collier%20Published%20Graphs%20from%20NC%20Study.pptx)
• Native-English students in dual-language programs did not lose their English proficiency. Instead, they added a second language and “achieved well above the 50th percentile in all subject areas in norm-referenced tests in English.” (http://www.usc.edu/dept/education/CMMR/CollierThomasComplete.pdf)
Economic Advantages of Dual-Language Programs for Students
For dual-language students, economic prospects are greater due to a globalizing economy that requires graduates to be more globally-, linguistically-, and multiculturally-competent.
• 12,000 jobs posted on Indeed.com in one week included the word, “bilingual”. (http://money.cnn.com/2013/10/30/news/economy/job-skills-foreign-language/)
• Foreign language speakers earn an extra $67,000 for retirement. (http://www.economist.com/blogs/prospero/2014/03/language-study)
• Dual-language programs build the competencies needed in the “new global business job market.” (http://eric.ed.gov/?id=ED447714)
• Fewer students in dual-language programs drop out of high school, and most dual-language learners attend university. (http://www.boerne-isd.net/uploaded/faculty/vossm/Microsoft_Word_-_Dual_Language_QA.pdf)
Social and Cultural Advantages of Dual-Language Programs
There is a correlation between dual-language immersion programs and the benefit to students’ social behaviors and how they interact with society. There is also a positive, unifying effect on the school community—on teachers, parents, and administrators.
• Dual-language learners have better social-emotional outcomes develop. (http://fpg.unc.edu/node/6637)
• In a dual-language environment, parents participate more in the school. (http://www.usc.edu/dept/education/CMMR/CollierThomasComplete.pdf)
• Dual-language students chose a more diverse friend group, and these students were more at ease interacting with other ethno-cultural groups (http://www.boerne-isd.net/uploaded/faculty/vossm/Microsoft_Word_-_Dual_Language_QA.pdf)
Dual-language learning is a transformative tool in the lives of students and in the livelihood of the community. It enables students to thrive academically in two languages while fostering a sense of global citizenship and boosting cultural awareness. Over and over again, studies have proven that students, parents, communities, economies, societies benefit by dual-language learning.