Why Dual Language?
Students who participate in dual language immersion (DLI) receive instruction in two languages to become bilingual, bi-literate and develop the cultural competency to succeed in a global society. Studies show (Thomas and Collier 2009) and our data confirm that historically underserved students, especially Emerging Bilinguals (students whose first language is the “partner” language, not English), attain greater academic success when they participate in this program.
Furthermore, being bilingual brings a number of well documented cognitive, academic and employment benefits. Research shows people who are bilingual demonstrate greater cognitive flexibility, increased attention control, better memory, and superior problem solving skills, as well as enhanced understanding of their primary language. (Lindholm-Leary 2001) Even though DLI students spend half their academic day on English they tend to outperform their non-immersion on academic achievement tests in English (Turnbull, Hart &Lapkin 2000). In the 21st century, being able to conduct business or professional discussions in more than one language is essential. Many local and global employers need a multilingual workforce to remain competitive.
DLI also offers children whose heritage is the partner language (Spanish, Chinese, Russian, Vietnamese and Japanese) and culture the opportunity to develop a positive linguistic and cultural identity that allows them to better connect with their parents, relatives and community.
Dual Language Learning Environments
The PPS DLI programs have demonstrated substantial benefits to students and “strong evidence that dual language programs improved student literacy achievement.” To maintain this positive impact, PPS partnered with Education Northwest in fall 2022 to understand how students and teachers experience the program and to recommend program improvements. The executive summary of the research findings and recommendations was translated into the 5 district supported languages.