Saturday, February 17, 2018

Comments on "dual immersion"

 Feb. 17, 2018
An edweek blog is dedicated to “dual immersion.” I just posted four comments:  

1.    Elizabeth Beltran gives me undeserved credit: Jim Cummins, not Stephen Krashen, informed us that the development of academic competence in a second language takes more than one to two years.

2.    I worry about Elizabeth Beltran’s recommendation that we need “continuous data” on progress in bilingual programs.  This can be misread as a demand for constant standardized testing. How about “continuous feedback”? This would include teacher reactions, by far the most valid source of information.

3.    I appreciate Conor Williams’ remarks about terminology.  I submitted this letter to Language Magazine recently:
I have a suggestion that might improve communication among language educators as well as communication between language educators and the public.  
   For language education professionals, the term “immersion” usually means subject-matter instruction through a second language, with efforts made to make sure the language used is comprehensible to students. For the public, however, “immersion” generally means “submersion,” surrounding yourself with the target language, whether comprehensible or not. I suggest we simply stop using the term “immersion.”
   “Dual language” is used in two ways: It could mean “bilingual education” in general or it could mean a specific program known as “two-way” bilingual education.  I suggest we avoid confusion by dropping the term “dual language” and using either “bilingual education” or “two-way bilingual education.”
   And please, let’s avoid creative but even more confusing terminology such as  “dual immersion” and “bilingual immersion.”

4.    Margarita Calderon recommends direct instruction in vocabulary, reading strategies, syntax, phonics and lots of writing “practice.”  We have gathered a great deal of evidence of the years that much, maybe all, of this is the results of self-selected pleasure reading.  In addition, there is growing evidence that students who develop a reading habit in English do not become long-term ELLs. 

 (Many of my papers on this and related topics are available for free download at This includes Krashen, S. 2005. The acquisition of English by children in two-way programs: What does the research say? In V. Gonzales and J. Tinajero (Eds.) Review of Research and Practice, National Association for Bilingual Education, vol 3: 1-19.  AND Dow, P., Tinafero, J. and Krashen, S.  2011. A note on English language development in one-way and two-way bilingual programs.  TABE Journal 13(1): 82-87.)

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