Bilingual education is not a new phenomenon in the United States. In fact, in the 1800’s, the United States hosted many bilingual classrooms in German and English. Today, there are several types of bilingual programs for emergent bilinguals. Unfortunately, most programs such as Transitional Bilingual Programs, do not truly attempt to help students become bilingual. Instead, they attempt to transition students from their heritage language to English. However, there are two types of programs that result in students becoming completely bilingual.
Dual Language Programs
Dual Language Programs are intended to ensure that each child exits the program fluent in two languages.
Two-Way Dual Language Programs: In Two-Way, Dual Language programs, ideally, half the class speaks one of the languages taught, and the other half speaks the other language taught. At least 50% of instruction is in the Language Other Than English (LOTE). The program lasts for at least 6 years and does not look to exit students once they attain proficiency in English.
One-Way, Developmental, Dual Language Programs: In One-Way Developmental Dual Language programs, 100% of students identify the Language Other Than English (LOTE) as a home language. Participating students may have varying proficiency rates of both the LOTE and English. For example, some students may not speak the LOTE at all. Others may have varying degrees of proficiency in both English and the LOTE. And yet others may be completely proficient in the LOTE and know absolutely no English. The program functions the same way as a Two-Way Dual Language Program where at least 50% of the instruction is in the LOTE, the program lasts for at least 6 years, and the program does not aim to exit students once they attain proficiency in English.