Two-Way Immersion Bilingual Education in Theory and in Practice: Investigating Patterns of Language Teaching and Learning in a Spanish-English, Two-Way Classroom.
Olson, Amy E.
- Abstract: Two-Way Immersion (TWI) programs represent a model of bilingual education that integrates balanced numbers of English speakers with speakers of a minority language for all aspects of content area instruction, at least half of which is conducted in the minority language, with the aim of fostering complete bilingual and bicultural competence in all students. Ideally, students act as language ... read moremodels and language learners by turns, thereby creating symmetrical immersive environments in each language. TWI has been regarded by experts as the most effective and culturally sensitive means by which to develop bilingual proficiency while simultaneously condoning high levels of academic achievement, allowing students to apply concepts and skills developed in their first language to the second. The present study draws upon data collected through a combination of classroom observations and teacher interviews conducted in the first grade classrooms of a Spanish-English TWI program in order to compare the theoretical ideal of the TWI model with the practical realities of bilingual instruction. Contrary to what one would expect, results indicate that 1) there existed substantive differences in instruction between the two program languages, and 2) the students collectively possessed a lower proficiency in the minority language. The study interprets the findings in light of the linguistic and pedagogical theories underlying TWI and supports research suggesting areas for further investigation with regard to the school- and classroom-level frameworks necessary to promote bilingual proficiency in all students.read less
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