Dual Language Education

Dual Language Education

by Kathryn J Lindholm-Leary


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Dual Language Education by Kathryn J Lindholm-Leary

Dual language education is a program that combines language minority and language majority students for instruction through two languages. This book provides the conceptual background for the program and discusses major implementation issues. Research findings summarize language proficiency and achievement outcomes from 8000 students at 20 schools, along with teacher and parent attitudes.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781853595325
Publisher: Multilingual Matters Ltd.
Publication date: 07/16/2001
Series: Bilingual Education & Bilingualism Series , #28
Pages: 384
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 8.40(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Kathryn Lindholm-Leary is Professor of Child Development in the College of Education at San Jose State University in San Jose, California, where she teaches courses in child development, educational psychology, multicultural education, and research. She has worked in evaluating and assisting in the implementation of over 100 dual language education programs covering several states in the US over the past 15 years. Dr. Lindholm-Leary has authored books and articles discussing theory, implementation issues and research results related to dual language education.

Read an Excerpt


Language Education Programs and Politics

Language education is an increasingly vibrant issue in the United States, as it is in many other countries that have complex demographically- and politically-motivated language education programs. To provide a broader background for understanding language education programs, it is helpful to present the demographic and sociopolitical contexts that influence the implementation of these programs. Following a discussion of the demographic and political issues, this chapter will briefly present the existing language education models for language minority students as well as for language majority students. The final section will define the dual language education model.

Demographic and Political Issues Affecting Language Education in the US

Demographic issues affecting language education

The United States, along with many other countries, has experienced considerable immigration over many decades and particularly in the past 20 years. According to the last two decanal census reports and the most recent update (US Census, 1980, 1990, 1996), there have been significant population shifts, as shown in Table 1.11. While the general US population grew at a rate of 17% (from 227 million to 275 million) from 1980 to 2000, the rate of growth varied tremendously across the different ethnic/racial groups in the US. The Hispanic population increased by 83% and represented 11.7% of the US population in 2000. One other group that expanded substantially was the Asian American population (at 3.8% in 2000), with a growth rate of 153%. More modest increases were witnessed among African Americans, who in 2000 represented 12.2% of the population. Thus, in 2000, the minority population encompassed 28.4%, or more than one quarter, of the US population. The remaining 71.6% of the population included European Americans, who decreased 9% in 2000, from 79.8% of the population in 1980. As one can see from Table 1.1, the non-European-American population is growing at a much faster rate, in part due to continuing immigration. By 1999, 26.4 million foreign-born people resided in the US, representing 9.7% of the total US population (Brittingham, 1999; US Department of Justice, 1999).

This demographic shift has been widely discussed in the US, particularly in states where immigrants are most likely to settle (i.e. California, New York, Florida, Texas, and Illinois). The State of California is a prime example where the demographic shift has lead to political changes that have and will continue to impact language education programs. California has six of the top 20 cities that receive the most legal immigrants, accounting for about 100,000 new immigrants annually (Allen & Turner, 1988; US Department of Justice, 1999). Added to the legal immigrant figure are the estimated two million immigrants who have arrived illegally from many different countries (Allen & Turner, 1988; US Department of Justice, 2000).

The educational significance of this demographic shift is that many of these immigrants are children, or are adults who gave birth to children, who enter the school system speaking little or no English. In the US, an estimated 9.9 million of 45 million school-aged children, live in households in which languages other than English are spoken (US Census Bureau, 1996), a statistic which represents a 35% increase since 1980 (Waggoner, 1995). While Spanish continues to be the language of two thirds, or six million children, who speak a language other than English at home, speakers of languages that are Asian in origin have doubled from 1980 to 1990 (Waggoner, 1995). Close to eight million language minority children attended public schools, and one million entered private schools.

While language minority students live in each of the 50 states, only a few states have a significant language minority population. California has the largest language minority population, with an estimated 2.2 million students in 1999 (www.cde.ca.gov/demographics/). Other states with a significant number of language minority students include: Texas (1.4 million), New York (972,000), and five states each with at least a quarter million language minority students (Florida, Illinois, New Jersey, Arizona and Pennsylvania). It is in California where almost half of children entering school come from homes where a language other than English is used. Because California has the largest language minority population, it will be used to exemplify sociopolitical issues affecting language education as well as types of language education programs.

Political concerns affecting language education

At a national level is the appearance of a healthy respect for, and a desire to see in students, bilingual or multilingual language proficiencies and multicultural competencies. For example, in 1989, the National Governor's Conference and then-President Bush agreed on a national education agenda comprising six broad goals to be met by the year 2000. President Clinton largely adopted this Goals 2000 national education agenda. Though bilingual proficiency was not specified as one of the six goals, it was subsumed under Goal 3 (titled Student Achievement and Citizenship). Objectives (v) and (vi) under Goal 3 specified that:

(v) The percentage of all students who are competent in more than one language will substantially increase; and

(vi) All students will be knowledgeable about the diverse cultural heritage of this Nation and about the world community. (Goals 2000: Educate America Act of 1994).

These goals have since been replaced by a new set of goals, none of which includes competence in a second language.

More recently, then US Secretary of Education Richard Riley (2000) was addressing the growth of Hispanic Americans, which he labeled a 'transformation of historic proportions', and the underachievement of this group. He noted:

This is why I am delighted to see and highlight the growth and promise of so many dual-language bilingual programs across the country. They are challenging young people with high standards, high expectations, and curriculum in two languages. They are the wave of the future ... Our nation needs to encourage more of these kinds of learning opportunities, in many different languages. That is why I am challenging our nation to increase the number of dual-language schools to at least 1,000 over the next five years, and with strong federal, state and local support we can have many more. (Riley, 2000)

At the state level, there was also some interest in increasing bilingual competence in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Nine states mandated elementary foreign language classes and a number of other states seemed likely to follow suit or, at least, to provide substantial incentives for schools that did so (Met, 1998). According to Rhodes (1992), 30 states have instituted new foreign language requirements at the elementary level. In addition, the National Association of Elementary School Principals passed a resolution supporting elementary foreign language education (Black, 1993). However, as Crawford (1999: 238) points out, neither states nor the US has ever really 'had a language policy, consciously planned and [for the US] national in scope.' This lack of a coherent language policy is further supported in August and Hakuta's (1997) report from the First National Research Council on Developing a Research Agenda on the Education of English Language Learners and Bilingual Students.

In direct opposition to this apparent interest in promoting the teaching and learning of other languages and cultures is the considerable attention and debate in recent years on the question of whether English should be designated the official language of the United States. Strongly organized movements, such as US English and English First, have made it their primary purpose to make English the official language of the United States, through an amendment to the US Constitution, through state legislation or through repeal of laws and regulations permitting public business to be conducted in a language other than English.

English only movement in the US

As of 2000, 20 states had enacted laws designating English as the official state language (http://ourworld.compuserve.com/homepages/ JWCRAWFORD). One lone state, Hawaii, has not one but two official languages: English and Hawaiian. According to Crawford (1999: 70, emphasis added), Arizona's law 'imposed a blanket English Only policy: "This state and all political subdivisions of this state shall act in English and no other language."' As various states (39 out of 50 to date) have considered constitutional amendments that would make English the official language, legal scholars have also examined the constitutional provisions that apply to language-rights issues in the classroom, workplace, courtroom, and social service agencies (Crawford, 1999; Piatt, 1990).

The major difference, however, between the concern for language then and today is that in earlier times language issues were confined to local or state arenas. Today, in contrast, the initiatives dedicated to establishing English as the official language are orchestrated at the national level by a powerful and heavily funded political organization. Further, this English Only movement has close connections to restrictionist, anti-immigration organizations, which suggests that the English Only movement has a wider, more far-reaching and more negative agenda than simply advocating an official English language policy. For example, until mid-1988, US English was a project of US Inc., a tax-exempt corporation that also supports the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), Americans for Border Control, Californians for Population Stabilization, and other immigration-restrictionist groups (Crawford, 1999).

Crawford (1999) suggests that racist attitudes appear to be behind English Only initiatives. The position that English Only may appeal to racist beliefs is also supported by Huddy and Sears (1990) who examined the attitudes of white Americans toward bilingual education. Similarly, in an analysis by MacKaye (1990) of letters to the editor of various California newspapers that appeared before and after the 1986 election which included Proposition 63 (the English Only Initiative), the signs of racism were clear in much of the public sentiment surrounding the initiative, as exemplified in Crawford's (1999) quotes from editorials in various newspapers around the US:

We here in Southern California are overrun with all sorts of aliens – Asian, Spanish, Cuban, Middle East – and it is an insurmountable task if these million are not required to learn English. Many are illerate [sic] in their native language [Rolling Hills, California] ... At the rate the Latinos (and non-whites) reproduce, [we] face a demographic imbalance if we do not change several of our dangerously outdated laws. Make English the official language everywhere in the USA. [Jersey City, New Jersey] ... No other ethnic group has made the demands for bilingual education as have the Cubans. The more you give them, the more they demand. WHOSE AMERICA IS THIS? ONE FLAG. ONE LANGUAGE. [North Miami, Florida]. (Crawford 1999: 66)

Over the past decade there has also been a sharp increase in the number of hate crimes and other forms of anti-minority group sentiment (e.g. Sniffen, 1999). We have seen an increase in Ku Klux Klan demonstrations, neo-Nazi activities, and skin-head youth attempts to intimidate individuals because of differences in race, ethnicity, language, religion, or sexual orientation. In 1995 through 1998, almost 8000 hate crimes were reported annually (Summary of Hate Crime Statistics, 1998), and hate crimes against people far outnumbered crimes against property, accounting for 72% of the total hate crimes (San Jose Mercury News, 1996). So commonplace have these events become that in 1990 the US Congress passed, and then-President Bush signed into law, the Hate Crime Statistics Act, which requires local governments to keep track of bias crimes. Currently, the US legislature is considering the Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 1999. We have long known that the more favorably one's own group is perceived, the less attractive other groups are viewed, making ethnocentrism the psychological mechanism that promotes ingroup-outgroup cleavage and prejudice of all forms (Adorno et al., 1950). The English Only movement and the arguments used by its supporters to justify their actions are very similar to those used at other times and in other places to force the domination of one group over another. As Cummins (2000) points out, the debate on the merits of bilingual education can only be understood by considering these types of power relations that are operating in the society-at-large.

Yet, more and more North Americans are cognizant of the need to be more sensitive to other cultural groups and the different languages they may speak. There are small movements, including English Plus, that clearly support the acquisition and use of English for all US citizens and residents. However, these groups also advocate enhancing second language training and proficiency for English speakers. In addition, groups such as English Plus also promote expansion of bilingual education programs for the growing number of immigrant and other linguistic minority children in US schools, for broadening the range of health and other social services available to individuals who speak languages other than English, and for increasing the number of Adult English-as-Second-Language (ESL) and literacy programs for adult immigrants (Padilla et al., 1991).

Consistent with this movement are the results of a survey by Lambert and Taylor (1990, cited in Lambert et al., 1993). Their study was conducted with Americans of Albanian, Arabic, Mexican, and Polish descent, as well as with African American, and working and middle class Anglo Americans (who were not identified by ethnicity) to examine their attitudes toward multiculturalism (i.e. maintaining language and culture while also demonstrating English language proficiency and acculturation) versus assimilation (i.e. giving up native language and culture to become American and speak English). Results showed that, overwhelmingly, all but the working class whites favored multiculturalism.

In several of the communities in which I work, the Dual Language Education (DLE) program is highly supported by both the language minority and language majority families who are participating. However, in one community, a lawsuit was filed charging the school with violating the new English Only law in California. While the lawsuit was dropped, it opened a chasm in the community around which the pro-US English Only and bilingual advocates vigorously fought. The outcome was actually a greater unity in the community for the DLE program. However, the community's attitudes toward multiculturalism cannot be underestimated with respect to the language education program's ultimate lifespan and success.

The realm most frequently targeted for opposition by English Only policies is the education of linguistic minority students. For example, in June, 1998, California voters passed an initiative (Proposition 227) that was labeled 'English for the Children' by its millionaire originator, Ron Unz, a software developer with absolutely no background in education. As Unz and his supporters could only have imagined, the name 'English for the Children' was the only support the bill needed for passage. Arguments about the effectiveness of bilingual education were moot in the face of such a title. As Krashen lamented in his description of the lay public's understanding of this measure:

It had been frustrating day. I had been scheduled to debate Ron Unz at Cal State LA, my first chance to debate him face to face. To my disappointment, Unz did not show up and he sent a substitute debater. Thanks to a very supportive, knowledgeable and sophisticated audience, the substitute was overwhelmed, but little was accomplished. Unz wasn't there and therefore the press wasn't there. On the way home ... was standing in line ... the woman behind me asked why I looked so depressed. I explained the situation briefly ... she asked what the debate was about, and I said that it was with Ron Unz and had to do with Proposition 227. Her response was immediate and animated: 'Oh yes, English for the children! I've heard of that. I'm voting for it. I'm for English.' I was stunned. I realized right then that my strategy of carefully presenting the research that contradicted the details of 227 had been all wrong. The woman had no idea what 227 was about: She was 'voting for English,' but she clearly had no idea that a major goal of bilingual education was English language development.' (Krashen, 2000: 20)


Excerpted from "Dual Language Education"
by .
Copyright © 2001 Kathryn J. Lindholm-Leary.
Excerpted by permission of Multilingual Matters.
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Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgements, vii,
Introduction, 1,
Part 1: Social and Theoretical Contexts of Dual Language Education,
1 Language Education Programs and Politics, 9,
2 Theoretical and Conceptual Foundations for Dual Language Education Programs, 39,
3 Critical Features of Successful Language Education Programs: Design and Implementation Issues, 59,
Part 2: Classroom, Administrative and Familial Contexts in Dual Language Education,
4 The Dual Language Education School Characteristics and Data Collection, 79,
5 Teacher Background and Perceptions of Support, Program Planning, Instructional Practices and Efficacy, 96,
6 Teacher Talk in Dual Language Education Classrooms, 123,
7 Parent Involvement, Attitudes and Satisfaction in Dual Language Education Programs, 143,
Part 3: Student Outcomes in Dual Language Education Programs,
8 Student Outcomes: Introduction and Data Collection, 171,
9 Student Outcomes: Oral Language Proficiency, 179,
10 Student Outcomes: Academic Language Proficiency: Reading and Language Achievement, 207,
11 Student Outcomes in Reading and Literacy: Standardized Achievement Tests vs. Alternative Assessment, 234,
12 Student Outcomes: Content Area Achievement in Mathematics, Science and Social Studies, 247,
13 Student Outcomes: Attitudes, 271,
Part 4: Conclusions and Implications for Language Education Programs,
14 Summary and Conclusions, 291,
15 Implications, 310,
Appendix, 331,
References, 343,
Index, 366,

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