•  Does it work?

    Yes, it definitely works. TWBI graduates generally achieve at or above grade level in two languages. However, these incredible benefits typically are not apparent until the student has invested several years into the program. That’s why we ask families who sign up for TWBI to stick with it for five to six years. Concepts learned in either language become a part of the child’s general knowledge. Many language concepts transfer from one language to another. Please see the following websites for more information on current research in language learning: Center for Applied Linguistics (www.cal.org), Center for Advanced Research on Language Acquisition (www.carla.umn.edu), National Association of Bilingual Education (www.nabe.org), Illinois Research Center (www.thecenterweb.org/irc/) and Dual Language Education of New Mexico (www.dlenm.org/). 


    • Will my child fall behind while attempting to learn a second language?

    No, that’s the beauty of it. Teachers use a variety of methods called ‘sheltering techniques’ to help children who are working in their second language understand the curriculum. Again, the children will not be able to show all that they are learning until they begin to master their second language, which takes several years. For native English speakers, learning another language enhances a child’s English ability. Children can learn much about English by learning the structure of another language. Common vocabulary also helps children learn the meaning of new words in English.
    Experimental studies have shown that no long-term delay in native English language development occurs in children participating in second language classes, even in full immersion programs. In fact, children enrolled in foreign language programs score statistically higher on standardized tests conducted in English. A number of reports have demonstrated that children who have learned a second language earn higher SAT scores, particularly on the verbal section of the test. One study showed that by the fifth grade of an immersion program, students outperformed all comparison groups and remained high academic achievers throughout their schooling. 


    •  How will my child understand if they don’t speak or hear the second language at home?

    Teachers use many strategies to make the content understandable, such as visuals, props, manipulatives, facial expressions, gestures, physical movements and many other instructional techniques. The teachers also repeat vocabulary and concepts and always check for understanding. Teachers do not expect your child to speak the second language right away. The students are not forced to speak the second language and initially are allowed to speak their first language. The teacher will restate what your child says to reinforce the connection between the Spanish and English vocabulary or vice versa. 


    • Will my student learn the same things as students in regular classrooms?

    Yes, the TWBI curriculum follows the same district guidelines and standards. TWBI classes cover the same grade-level objectives, as do regular English classes. Students work toward the same academic goals regardless of the language of instruction. 


    • What if I don’t speak the second language?

    There are many things you can do at home to help your child succeed academically in a two-way immersion program, even if you don’t speak the language. Encourage your child by telling him/her how proud you are that he/she is learning a second language. Let your child know you are pleased with his/her progress. Show him/her that you value the ability to speak a second language. Here are some suggestions on how parents can help: 

      • Encourage your child’s interest in the language and other cultures. 
      • Attend cultural events that feature the music, dance or food from the country where the language is spoken. 
      •  Provide books, videos, and other materials in the second language. Be actively involved in your child’s school. Teach your child the songs and nursery rhymes from his/her own heritage. Read stories to your child in English/Spanish. 
      • Encourage, but do not force your child to speak the second language at home. 
      • Get to know your child’s teacher either by phone, email or through personal visits. 
      • Take time to get involved with school activities. 
      • Keep informed of DL programs. 
      • Be supportive at all times of your child, the program and the teacher. 


    • How long will it take my child to learn a new language?

    Do not expect your child to start speaking the second language after the first few weeks. They are in the listening phase of their second language development. Your child will become familiar with the vocabulary and in time will begin to take the steps to speak the second language. Do NOT compare your child to other dual-language students. Learning a second language is a five- to seven-year process and each child develops at their own pace.