Hind Louali Discusses The Benefits Of Dual-Language Immersion Programs2 min read
Even though almost half of the global population speaks at least two languages, not too many US residents can say the same. Not everyone has the opportunity to travel or study abroad for extended periods of time in order to learn a brand new language. Hind Louali mentions that fortunately there are many language immersion programs available today that help people to effectively learn a new language like French or Spanish. Dual-language immersion programs are also becoming pretty popular today, where academic content is taught in two languages to help children become bilingual.
Hind Louali marks a few advantageous aspects of dual-language immersion programs
People who take part in language immersion programs can experience multiple benefits like improved verbal expression and mental flexibility. They are also able to recognize non-verbal communication way faster than monolinguals. In addition to better academic performances, students who take part in language immersion programs also benefit from greater levels of social and emotional skills at early ages. They usually develop a good sense of multiculturalism and diversity as well.
Dual language immersive programs tend to facilitate biliteracy, which involves the ability to write, speak, read, and listen proficiently in two languages. This system typically takes advantage of the propensity for language acquisition that children usually have. Many of these programs start right in the kindergarten and can follow kids through elementary school. A few of them extend into middle or high school as well. Classes for dual-language immersion programs usually comprises of a half-and-half mix of native English speakers and native speakers of the target language. Broadly speaking, there are two popular models of dual-language immersion: the 90/10 model and the 50/50 model. In the former, 90% of instruction is conducted in the target language during the first year and 10% remaining is taught in English. The ratio of instruction in English instruction in the target language goes up each academic year till instruction is 50/50. When it comes to the 50/50 model, the coursework generally is half in English and half in the target language throughout the immersive learning program.
Hind Louali points out that while learning a second language can seem overwhelming at the start, these early challenges are no match for the benefits the learners can experience later in life. Multiple studies have shown that people who tend to be exposed to two languages at an early age on an average generally outperform their monolingual peers on tests of cognitive function during adolescence and adulthood. There is multiple research on the advantages of biliteracy, especially in terms of its impact on cognition and brain. While learning two languages, the executive functions of the students are heightened, which implies to better attention control, working memory, and more. Individuals also improve their problem-solving skills, memory, and ability to learn new things, in the process of learning a new language. As dual-language immersion programs comprise of an even mix of native speakers of both languages, students belonging to both groups can help one another as they learn the other language.