Dual Language Program - Little Elm,TX

Updated on January 10, 2013
J.P. asks from Little Elm, TX
9 answers

My daughter's school will start offering a dual language program and my husband and I have really been thinking about it. Is there anyone that has thier child in a dual language program now? Can you give some insight on how your child is doing with a program that will receive 50% of their instruction in English and 50% in Spanish? Pros and cons you have delts with.
Thank you!

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answers from San Francisco on

My two older kids went to dual immersion. My daughter is now a sophomore and taking Honors Spanish 2 for an easy A. Their program started out with 90% Spanish in K, then by 6th grade it was 60% English.

Pros - the kids pick up the language extremely quickly. Good for brain development. Diverse population.

Cons - it became hard for me to help with homework in the upper grades since I don't speak the language. English spelling can suffer because Spanish is a very phonetic language (and English definitely is not). The downside to the diversity is that the parents also speak different languages, so every meeting/form was in Spanish and English and communication to other parents in the class could be challenging.

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answers from Salt Lake City on

My son was in a dual immersion program for two years, and there were many things to love about it.

I loved that my son did pick up a lot of Spanish very quickly, and had peers he could interact with in the language. His sister, who also studies Spanish but not in an immersion program, learned a lot of vocabulary from him. He learned a lot of grammar from her. That can be a problem - in some dual immersion programs, kids are left to try and grasp what the rules are in the language. It's true that they do learn by using it, but they can get really confused by things like different verb conjugation patterns if they are not overtly taught that there are patterns and that looking for them will help them to understand. Anyway, I knew that interesting things were happening learning-wise when my kids got into their first Spanish language argument. :-)

One possible drawback to a dual immersion programs is that if important concepts in other subject areas are introduced only in the child's second language instead of in both languages, kids end up missing information that they need. Another possible drawback is that if you have a child who processes patterns well, and the language arts lessons aren't well-designed, a child can fake his/her way through without actually understanding things. (My son was quite good at this. A good teacher will catch on quickly to what the child is doing.)

If the program is not well-organized and well-run, it is possible for other subjects to be neglected because of the time spent on working on the two languages. My son's first teacher in the program we were in did an excellent job of integrating science, social studies, art, and music into the school day in both languages. My son's second teacher did not.

Helping with homework can be a challenge if you do not speak the target language. Google Translate will become your best friend.

Another responder has already mentioned that in a dual immersion program interaction between parents who are speaker of the different languages can be a challenge. At our program meetings, we had an interpreter from the school district office come to assist. Also, we were blessed with several bilingual English/Spanish parents in the group who helped with communication. The language barrier was easy enough to overcome by those of us who wanted to. There were a group of us, both Spanish and English speaking, who made a point of socializing. Even though my son is no longer in the program, we still see these people, and I value their friendship, regardless of which is their native language.

Go to meetings, talk to the teachers, talk to the principal, and talk to other parents. If the program is well-organized, well-supported by the school, and staffed with good teachers, it would be very much worth participating.

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answers from Dallas on

My daughter is in Kindergarten in the LISD district, not far from you. She is in the dual language program. We love the program. She is learning to read and write in English and Spanish. She did not know much Spanish when she began the program. Her first day was in Spanish, which made me a bit nervous, but it went fine and it keeps getting better. I don't have any cons. My daughter has an English classroom and Spanish classroom. The seating charts are different. the same group of kids changes classrooms each day. The teachers do things similarly, but they are not exactly the same. She has a locker space in each classroom. I think I would ask myself, is all of this changing too much for my child... most likely she will adjust just fine. Also, your district may organize things differently. Best wishes. I am so glad we have this opportunity.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Atlanta on

I don't know the pros or cons, but I can tell you that if our school offered it, we would jump at the opportunity! Speaking additional languages has all kinds of benefits! Everything from the obvious being able to communicate in Spanish (and put that on the resume, and work jobs that others won't qualify for), to the ease of learning a third language (studies show that every language a child speaks fluently increases the ease at which they learn additional languages), and there are even studies that show that speaking a second language can help ward off Alzheimer's, although I don't know enough about that research to explain it. It sounds like an amazing opportunity!

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answers from Los Angeles on

Dual Language may be good for easy subjects and electives but I would not chance math or science with this 'experimental' process.

I wish the US had an 'official' language.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

I think it's doggone ridiculous when people get all up in arms about teaching our children two languages.
Who cares? This woman is not talking about NOT teaching her CHILD English, she is talking about teaching her child two languages.
Which is a bonus in my opinion.
Why not Arabic, sign language, French, Kiswahili, Russian? I think we teach our kids the language of our neighbors since those folks are the people that we will be seeing more of.
My kids speak two languages as do I. I am certified through our state as a translator. Can I just say that I have NEVER translated for a child. It's often the parent. And it's OFTEN not that the parent doesn't speak English, it's just that doctor mumbo jumbo or lawyer mumbo jumbo is hard to understand....even if English is your first language!
The fact that my kids speak two languages hasn't been a bonus to them at all. All the children they play with speak English (of all races) and they have never needed it....but that doesn't mean that when they are older it's not going to come in handy.
The only con I see to sending a child to an immersion class is that you wont be able to help them. Why send your kid to a class for a year or two and then put them into a regular class? They are going to forget what they learned. Unless you are willing to continue the language lessons for years to come it doesn't make sense to send your kid to a dual language class.
Just my opinion!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Miami on

I SO agree with your first sentence, Hell on Wheels.

Get over being racist, to those who hate Spanish being spoken in the US. The Spanish kids here DO learn to speak English. Their children will too. The older people will be dead soon enough. Of all people who have lived or are currently living overseas, I know darn well that you can't speak the language of the country you are in. English is HARD. So is the language overseas that you can't speak either. How would you feel if people were so rude to you about not speaking their language?

What I appreciate so much when I travel outside of the US, is how much the people in those countries understand how hard their languages are. They're pretty kind about it, actually, especially when I try to speak their language. Instead of trashing Spanish speakers in our country, stop acting like an ugly American who thinks they're better than everyone else on earth.

I love the joke "What do you call someone who speaks 3 languages? Tri-lingual. What do call someone who speaks 2 languages? Bi-lingual. What do you call someone who speaks one language? American." It's so true.

Dual language programs are a wonderful addition, JP. I hope that your daughter does well. Being multi-lingual opens up a part of the brain that only thinking in one language doesn't. She'll be smarter for it, all the way around.


1 mom found this helpful


answers from Houston on

I think its doggone ridicuous that the US is pandering to the needs of Spanish speakers who come here and do not even TRY to speak English. Now its effecting schooling for American children.

Yes, its good to know a second language--but why Spanish? Why not Arabic, sign language, French, Kiswahili, Russian....

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

I love it, My son just started it this year in Kindergarten and at first he was a little afraid in spanish class, because he did not understand what the teacher was saying. but he quickly adapted and now he sings songs in spanish. I can see only positives to him learning two languages. It can only help him later in life.

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