DRAW Dual Language Program
Program Content and Design
Draw Academy offers a Dual Language immersion program. The Academy serves predominantly second language at-risk population. The students’ families are mainly from Latin American countries, the Middle East and Africa. The school is multi-age and multi-leveled. The grades are grouped as follows: Kindergarten; First/Second; Third/Fourth/Fifth; Sixth/Seventh; and Eighth. For more information, please refer to our web page, www.drawacademy.org, and click on the “About us” link.
Dual Language programs in the United States began in the 1960’s, and it includes both language majority and language minority children. The program aims for students to speak fluently (bilingualism), read and write in two languages (biliteralism). The language majority in the United States is English, and in our school, the partner language is Spanish. Dual Language programs like this are used around the world. In Europe for instance, many people learn 3 to 4 languages fluently, and they begin it at school. It is a priority for them to be able to communicate with the neighboring countries, so among the languages they learn are English, French, German, Italian and Spanish. Another example is Canada, where the Dual Language program creates a fluent population of English and French speakers. Years of research show that Dual Language program makes students perform academically higher, develops self-esteem, appreciate cultural diversity and several other linguistic, socio-cultural and pedagogical benefits.
The following paragraphs outline the rationale of a Dual Language Program, were extracted from Dual-Language Programs In U. S. Schools - An Alternative To Monocultural, Monolingual Education, Eugene E. Garcia and Bryant Jensen from the Arizona State University (draft 1/17/06)
Dual Language (DL) Immersion public school policy is relatively new in the United States. After the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) in 1994, a large federal effort related to the education of dual language students was launched.
It was at this point that the US Department of Education promoted the development of educational programs whose goal was dual language competency for both language minority students speaking a non-English home language as well as for students whose home language was solely English. These programs were designed to create dual language competencies in students without sacrificing their success in school or beyond.
Unique among program alternatives, the goals of DL are to provide high-quality instruction for students who come to school speaking primarily a language other than English and simultaneously to provide instruction in a second language for English speaking students. Schools offering DL programs thus teach children language through content, with teachers adapting their instruction to ensure children’s comprehension and using content lessons to convey vocabulary and language structure. Striving for half language minority students and half native English-speaking students in each classroom, DL programs also aim to teach cross-cultural awareness. Programs vary in terms of the amount of time they devote to each language, which grade levels they serve, how much structure they impose for the division of language and curriculum, and the populations which they serve. There are two widely adopted models of language division: the 50:50 and the 90:10 models. In the 50:50 model, instruction is given half the day in English and half the day in non-English native language (i.e., target language) throughout the grades. In the 90:10 model, children spend 90% of their kindergarten school days in the non-English minority language, and this percentage gradually decreases to 50% by fourth or fifth grade. These two models are shown in the figure below.
The installation of DL programs is based on a strong theoretical rationale and supported by empirical research findings concerning both first and second language acquisition (Genesee, 1999). This rationale grows out of socio-cultural theory which maintains that learning occurs through naturalistic social interaction (Vygotsky, 1978). That is, the integration of native English speakers and speakers of other languages facilitates second language acquisition because it promotes natural, substantive interaction among speakers of different languages. Furthermore, at least four theoretical and empirically sound points that follow are made in favor of DL programs. First, research indicates that “academic knowledge and skills acquired through one language pave the way for acquisition of related knowledge and skills in another language” (Collier, 1989; Genesse, 1999). In other words, children who are taught and achieve academically in their native language are more likely to experience comparable, sustained achievements in a second language.
The following paragraphs were extracted from Dual Language programs, Two Voices One World, by Mr. Raymond Sanchez and Ms. Mirla Puello.
Dual Language Program develops bilingualism and biliteracy in English and Spanish integrating English Language Learners (ELLs) with English speakers (proficient in English) and promoting cultural sensitivity
a global society.
2. Additive bilingual environment for all students.
1. Enhances academic and linguistic competence in two languages.
The goal at DRAW Academy is to create fluent, bi-literate, cross-cultural and high achieving students. The instruction of the curriculum is done 50 % in English and 50% in Spanish. The target language is used for instruction a minimum of 50% of the time. The program provides a continuum of eight years of dual language instruction to participating students. Focus of instruction is the same core academic curriculum for all students. Classroom includes a balance of students from both language groups who participate in instructional and social activities together. Positive interactions among students are facilitated by use of strategies such as cooperative learning and differentiated instruction.
DRAW Academy fosters the belief that all students have a right of a good education, and we strive to provide it to our students with our Dual Language Program.
In Pre-K the primary goal is to encourage social and language skill development, with hands-on experiences. Teachers set the stage based on monthly themes centers or activities in both English and Spanish.
Pre-K monthly objectives:
The Dual Language Program from Kindergarten to Eighth grades involves several components. First, the students work in English and Spanish Centers or activities daily. The Math, Science and Social Studies Centers alternate every six weeks from English to Spanish or vice versa:
Second, the students participate in an hour of Spanish Language Arts on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
Finally, each grade level works on a school’s theme project component. The project is researched and presented by the students in English.
Assessments are based on observation, program generated, oral reports, products presentations and activities’ rubrics. Hence, grading is qualitative from Pre-K through 5th grade, while is quantitative from 6th through 8th grade.
DRAW Academy utilizes TAKS to evaluate the achievement in English, and it is researching various Spanish standardized aptitude tests to use as benchmark and official annual assessment of Spanish language acquisition.