WHAT is Dual Language? 

Dual Language is an educational model in which both native English speakers and native Spanish speakers receive instruction together in both languages, which results in higher academic achievement, improved acquisition of English, the development of academic Spanish, and cross-cultural understanding for all the students. Language learning takes place primarily through the instruction of academic subject matter. Linguistic proficiency in both languages is developed as students increase their knowledge of subject matter through performing academic tasks. 

Classes are taught exclusively in the designated language of instruction. There is minimal translation and no repeated lessons. Native English speakers and English Language Learners learn a second language together with no stigma attached. Dual Language students develop a high academic and linguistic proficiency in two languages by participating in an academic program that enhances the development of bilingualism, biculturalism, and biliteracy so that students will graduate ready for college, career, and life in a globally competitive economy. 

This approach allows English language learners to help native English speakers learn through a second language, while native English speakers help English language learners acquire the curriculum through English. As most teachers know, one of the best ways to learn is to teach, and both student groups receive accelerated instructional benefits from their other-language peers and from the teacher's use of collaborative learning strategies that capitalize on this effect. Also, learning together increases student interest in the school and curriculum topics, improving student motivation to learn and further amplifying and accelerating student progress. 

WHY Dual Language? 
  • POSITIVE SCHOOL CULTURE: Collier and Thomas discovered that the effectiveness of Dual Language education extends beyond academic outcomes. The entire school community benefits when multiple languages and cultural heritages are validated and respected. Friendships bridge class and language barriers. Teachers report higher levels of job satisfaction. Parents from both language groups participate more actively in schools. 
  • BRAIN BENEFITS: Cognitive neuroscientist Ellen Bialystok has studied bilingualism for almost 40 years. She recently told the New York Times that people who regularly use two languages tend to perform better on executive function tasks and maintain better cognitive functioning with age. Bilingualism is also associated with a five to six-year delay in the onset of Alzheimer’s symptoms after diagnosis. 
  • HAPPY KIDS: Six-year-old Kyra is a first grader who loves her Dual Language Spanish-English program. "It's really fun because your brain gets to work with two different languages, and your tongue gets to do two different sounds,” she told the L.A. Times. 
  • Develops bilingualism, biliteracy, high academic achievement in all children 
  • Research demonstrates the long-term advantages of a DL education for both native Spanish and native English speakers if begun early in their academic careers. Notably, research indicates that both English Language Learners and native English speakers that participate in a Dual Language program outperform native English speakers not in a Dual Language program in tests of English language reading. 
HOW we implement Dual Language: 
Instructional Model at Oak Hill
  • Reading and Language Arts 
    • PK, K and 1st grade students receive language arts in Spanish (70%) with English language development in English (30%) as well. 
    • 2nd grade receives language arts in both English and Spanish equally. 
  • Mathematics 
    • Pre-K through grade 5 – Math is taught in English 
  • Science & Social Studies 
    • Pre-K through grade 5- Science & Social Studies is taught in Spanish 

Elementary Dual Language Program Elements 

Several program elements define classroom and grade-level expectations to help elementary students and teachers achieve Austin ISD's Dual Language Program goals of rigorous cognitive and academic development, academic proficiency in two languages and positive cross-cultural development.

  1. Biliteracy: Biliteracy provides the foundation for academic proficiency in two languages. It is the ability to effectively communicate or understand written thoughts and ideas through the grammatical systems, vocabularies and written symbols of two different languages.
  2. Dual language lesson: Includes elements that are unique to biliteracy.
  3. Language of instruction: Dual language instruction requires a strict adherence to language of instruction in the content areas without translation from the teacher.
  4. Teaching for transfer: Teaching for transfer refers to the instructional process whereby students master concepts and vocabulary in the language of instruction and then transfer their knowledge of the concepts and vocabulary to the partner language, with the goal of academic biliteracy.
  5. Vocabulary and content enrichment: Vocabulary and content enrichment refers to the process of acquiring academic content and vocabulary in both languages, including the teaching for transfer process.
  6. Collaborative learning: Collaborative learning is an effective approach to teaching and learning that involves groups of students working toward a common goal.
  7. Daily writing: Daily writing takes place across all content areas throughout the day in the language of instruction.
  8. Student work displayed: Display of students’ work serves to showcase learning in the classroom and provides value to student-generated products.
  9. Classroom and school libraries
  10. Assessments: Assessment is the process of collecting information or evidence of a learner’s progress and achievement over a period of time to improve teaching and learning.
Language and Content Allocation at Oak Hill Elementary

WHO benefits? 

ENGLISH-Speaking child 
  • Performs as well or better than their peers in English-only programs 
  • Gains competency in a second language, both reading/writing and speaking/listening 
  • Reaps all the benefits of bilingualism 
  • Ability to talk to more of the world's communities 
  • Greater job opportunities 
  • Greater understanding of diversity and acceptance of cultural differences 
  • Additional cognitive benefits 
  • Better mathematics problem-solvers 
  • Richer vocabularies 
  • Enhanced meta-linguistic awareness 
  • Enhanced creativity 
  • Greater analytical thinking 
SPANISH-speaking child 
  • Develops and builds upon the child's primary language, using them as an asset 
  • Literacy in two languages 
  • Teaches English language 
  • Supports academics 
  • Enhances self-esteem 
  • Reinforces positive academic identities 
  • Maintains mother tongue 
  • Builds family connections 
  • Performs better than their peers in English-only or other bilingual programs 
  • Gains competency in a second language, both reading/writing and speaking/listening 
  • Reaps all the benefits of bilingualism 
  • Ability to talk to more of the world's communities 
  • Greater job opportunities 
  • Greater understanding of diversity and acceptance of cultural differences 
  • Additional cognitive benefits 
  • Better mathematics problem-solvers 
  • Richer vocabularies 
  • Enhanced meta-linguistic awareness 
  • Enhanced creativity 
  • Greater analytical thinking 
For more information, please visit the Austin ISD website: https://www.austinisd.org/dual-language/application