Maintenance Bilingual Education for Heritage Language Learners

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Introduction According to the 2010 U.S. census the Latino community makes up 16% of the country’s population and grew 43% from 2000 (Humes, Jones & Ramirez, 2011). Within this large community there is great diversity both culturally and linguistically (Schreffler, 2007), from newly arrived immigrants to individuals whose families have been established in the region for generations. Most bilingual education programs are targeted towards English language learners (ELL) with the purpose of acquiring a second language (L2). In the recent 15 years there has been an increase in dual language immersion (DLI) programs which is also known as two-way immersion (TWI), with an aim to provide bilingual education to monolingual Spanish and English…show more content…
Theoretical Framework
Dual language immersion The main purpose of dual language immersion programs is to promote the country’s language competency by tapping into the resources that native Spanish language speakers bring into schools and promoting the learning of a second language by English speakers (Christian, 1996). This objective is achieved by integrating typically monolingual Spanish and English students into a content-based instruction in both minority and majority languages (Christian, 1996). Although DLI programs may vary in design and implementation they are all centered on three main goals: (1) bilingualism and biliteracy from all students, (2) on or above level academic achievement, and (3) positive cross-cultural awareness and attitudes (Christian 1996). DLI is designed to be an inclusive model because it does not aim to assimilate, segregate or disregard the heritage language, in this case Spanish (Lara-Alecio, Galloway, Irby, Rodriguez, & Gómez, 2004). DLI programs usually are set up to have a balanced class between monolingual Spanish and English speakers to allow the novice students to learn from the experts, but due to population variance this is not always implemented (Christian, 1996). Some programs take the language
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