Get the essentials for choosing a dual language program
The task of choosing a dual language learning program — or enhancing your current program — can feel overwhelming. After all, your choice could profoundly shape students’ progress and teachers’ work satisfaction! To help district leaders choose wisely, use this checklist to plan and implement a student-centered dual language program that helps students reach their full potential.
This checklist reflects the primary goal of bilingual education: to help students simultaneously develop dual language literacy and grade-level academic skills. Furthermore, it addresses the unique challenges of teaching bilingual populations versus single-language groups, such as needing more assessments and lesson variations to ensure that each student meets their potential.
Seven guiding principles for effective dual language programs
1. The program is both research-based and fun. The best bilingual literacy programs are based on educational research. Often they’re immersive because research suggests that immersion is the most effective way to develop language proficiency. Fortunately for students, this means that the best programs are fun. Assignments are creative and most learning occurs naturally via classroom activities such as playing games, singing songs, and having conversations.
2. The literacy content is culturally rich. In other words, the content is clearly related to students’ daily lives. For example, a culturally rich language lesson might focus on a familiar holiday, legend, or leisure activity. This concrete relevance is especially important when students are still becoming proficient because prior knowledge makes second-language content more accessible. More abstract content, on the other hand, can be introduced as students approach academic language proficiency.
3. Assessments are adaptive and low-stress. The best bilingual programs feature assessments with game-like functionality. Typically students don’t even notice that evaluation is underway! Furthermore, teachers get immediate feedback along with resources for tailored instruction.
4. Data can be sorted to track progress at multiple levels. High-quality dual literacy programs make it easy to access and sort performance data. Side-by-side reports on students’ progress in each language are readily available. Reports can show the dual literacy progression of individuals, small groups, classrooms, and campuses.
5. Teachers receive high-quality resources. Hallmarks of the best bilingual programs include full lesson scripts and printables such as creative worksheets and homework assignments. Teachers are also supported with guidance about ways to form small groups, interventions to implement, and other aspects of differentiating instruction.
6. Professional development and tech support are included. Top-notch language programs help educators develop their own knowledge and skills in areas such as classroom management, cultural competence, and language acquisition. Technical support for all aspects of programming is readily available.
7. The program promotes at-home use. Students learn best when they can continue learning at home. The best bilingual programs facilitate these connections by equipping students with books, fun interactive lessons, and other materials to take home. Additionally a software portal for parents gives access to overviews of their children’s progress.
Get powerful support dual language classrooms
By checking the seven boxes above, you can feel confident about choosing an effective dual language learning program for your school or district. Ample research suggests that Istation meets all these criteria. Educational leaders have chosen Istation to expertly educate millions of students in English and Spanish.
Inspired by concepts on this checklist, Istation Reading and Lectura feature effective game-like assessments and curriculum for students. Teachers can make the most of planning time with time-saving teacher resources as well as actionable student data reports.
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