A Year in Pictures
Washington Language Academy
WHAT IS A DUAL LANGUAGE PROGRAM?
In dual language programs, students are taught literacy and academic content in English and a target language (Spanish). The goals of dual language are for students to develop high levels of language proficiency and literacy in both program languages, to demonstrate high levels of academic achievement, and to develop an appreciation for and an understanding of diverse cultures.
How do we know it will work? Research studies and established programs show the dual language program model to be the most effective way to become proficient in two languages. Results from over 20 years of research show that students in dual language programs develop higher levels of bilingual proficiency and academic achievement than in other program models.
Why not wait for my child to learn a second language until high school? High school foreign language programs teach languages separately from other academic subjects in the day, thereby reducing the opportunities for natural language acquisition. Students in a dual language program spend the majority of the school day learning in the second language for years before entering high school.
Will a second language interfere with my child’s English ability? No. Research shows that students who achieve advanced levels of proficiency in two languages often experience cognitive and linguistic advantages when compared to monolingual students. Bilingual students perform better on tasks that require divergent thinking, pattern recognition and problem solving, and have higher levels of metalinguistic awareness.
Do Dual Language students learn the same curriculum as the regular English program?Absolutely! The standards and curriculum at the Washington Language Academy are the same as for all students in the Redondo Beach Unified School District. The only difference is the language of instruction.
Does it matter if no one at home speaks the second language? No. The home language must be kept up in the home. Read to your children daily! Talk to your children daily, and have them talk to you! Continue the literacy experiences you would naturally encourage. One of the advantages of this program is that students with strong language skills (in English or Spanish) succeed in the program.
How will my child understand if he/she does not speak the second language? Teachers in the Dual Language Program are specially trained to make the information meaningful through the use of visuals, objects, gestures, and specialized instructional strategies. The students also help each other!