Spanish Immersion Programs: Benefits of Bilingual Classes
Spanish immersion programs benefit students in the classroom with more than language learning. Being bilingual in English and Spanish is more than learning the proper speaking, reading, and writing of each language. It is part of acquiring both languages and cultures.
Educational Programs that can Benefit Students
Two-way immersion programs in Spanish and English are increasingly becoming popular in American schools. The general instruction in a two-way immersion class consists of learning physical sciences in Spanish while arts and social studies are taught in English. Eventually, the class becomes bilingual as the learning emerges into a whole educational system.
According to the Center for Applied Linguistics, more than 400 programs across America implement a bilingual two-way immersion program. But Spanish immersion programs in schools are not an innovative concept.
This model of learning a foreign language has been in effect since the 1960s. The majority of the Spanish immersion program emerged in the 1990s. And, since 1999, California implemented more than 80 two-way immersion programs, followed by New York with more than 50 and Texas with more than 20 programs.
As the majority of schools tend to seek better educational approaches in classrooms, two-way immersion programs offer an innovative way to teach math, science, social studies, arts, and language.
Subjects in Spanish immersion programs
In Spanish immersion programs, generally, math and sciences are taught in Spanish. In the meantime, arts and social studies are taught in English. Thus, language instruction takes place in English and Spanish. These programs work well at the pre-K and early elementary level. But education is not all what students learn.
Students in a two-way immersion program also learn about foreign cultures and traditions. They learn about other countries heritage and traditions that otherwise might be insignificant. Bilingual students get to know about traditional cuisine that otherwise would not be described in textbooks. They perceive the world around them is more than what is around school walls.
Does your school have a two-way immersion program in Spanish? Would you enroll your child in these types of programs?
For further information:
- Center of Applied Linguistics (2001). Directory of Two-Way Bilingual Immersion Programs in the U.S. Retrieved from http://www.cal.org/twi/directory
- Christian, Donna et al. “Bilingualism for All: Two-Way Immersion Education in the United States.” Theory Into Practice 39.4 (2000): 258-66.