English-learners in the RGV have historically been considered “deficient” if they entered school without already speaking English. In a DL classroom, on the other hand, they are able to receive academic instruction at grade level from the very beginning in the language that they already know, which avoids cognitive delays. At the same time, they can learn English while being recognized as having linguistic knowledge and skills that English-learners can benefit from. This means that a Spanish-speaking child will feel that they have something to offer their English-speaking classmates.
Bilingual people are culturally advantaged because they can travel to Spanish- or English-speaking communities and countries without worrying about a language barrier. In the RGV, they are able to form friendships in Spanish and English, which potentially doubles the sizes of their networks and communities. Spanish-speaking children can help Spanish-learners learn Spanish, and English-speaking children can help English-learners learn English. This levels the playing field while improving the academic performance of all children, regardless of their background. When all children are recognized as bringing valuable language, culture, and knowledge to a school with a dual-language program, parents are also more likely to engage with their children’s education.
More information coming in Summer 2019