Bilingual Education in the United States
The type of education that U.S. bilinguals receive varies from program type to another. The education options are Transitional bilingual education, maintenance bilingual education, English as a second language, immersion, sheltered English, and submersion. However, in reading this chapter, it seems clear that the program and model labels are not what bilingual educators should be focused on. Instead, the focal point needs to revolve around the students, families, and communities served and their native-language and English-language characteristics. Another thing that needs to be taken into account is the model of instruction that will be implemented in choosing the native language and English, as the medium of instruction, and how it will be handled. Finally, before consideration of implementation of running a particular bilingual education option, a closer look needs to be taken at the resources and staff that will be utilized during the instruction of the bilingual students.
Schools seeking best practice in serving bilingual students need to embrace educational research that has attempted to determine what instruction and learning features include. Based on August and Hakuta (1997) comprehensive review of optimal learning conditions for linguistically and culturally diverse populations that lead to high academic performance, the following attributes were identified: A supportive school-wide climate, school leadership, a customized learning environment, articulation and coordination within and between schools, use of native language and culture in instruction, a balanced curriculum that includes both basic and higher-order skills, explicit skill instruction, opportunities for student-directed instruction, use of instructional strategies that enhance understanding, opportunities for practice, systematic student assessment, staff development, and home and parent involvement.
The aim of dual-language (DL)...