Dual Language Immersion
Dual language Immersion programs have found success at many schools across the country, specifically in Oregon, Utah, California, and Massachusetts. Listed in greater detail on this website, these school districts have reported higher test scores, English abilities, and outlooks on school from their students that participate in dual language immersion programs. While some parents may be concerned that dual immersion programs may "over expose" their children to a second language, research from dual language immersion programs in the United States and abroad have shown that children especially under the age of 12 are able to retain their native language while studying another in an immersed setting. Dual language immersion programs provide a setting that teaches two languages instead of the traditional format where a child is taught a "secondary" language.
Compared to Foreign Language in Elementary School (FLES)
Many schools in Rhode Island are seeking to teach world languages at an elementary level, however this requires curriculum changes, hiring additional teachers, and cutting out time when children could be studying other materials such as art, mathematics, or history. While some school districts have successful FLES programs, these programs do not record the significant benefits found through dual language immersion programs. While students in traditional FLES programs learn what is referred to as a "base" in the language, the immersive language setting does not aim to introduce a world language, but allow for the students to begin their journey to achieving fluency in two languages simultaneously. This curriculum does not require additional time or effort like FLES programs as the dual language immersion program is constructed in a more efficient manner. For example, children in an immersive program may study in a world language for at a minimum of half the school day, while a FLES program tends to teach about thirty minutes to an hour of a world language per day. Studies show that while students who study a world language perform better academically, students who study under a dual language immersion program retain the highest English, math, and world language skills.
Sources: 1, 2 ,3 ,4
Sources: 1, 2 ,3 ,4