Bilingual education is an umbrella term for many types of programs, including dual language programs (DLE), in which students receive instruction in two languages. All students, including English learners, develop high levels of bilingualism through sustained bilingual educational programs that:
Two important principles of bilingual education contribute to successful programs. First, bilingual approaches should be used when working with ELs in order to allow students' cognitive and social emotional development to be continuous. As students are learning English and learning to do school work in and through English, they are engaged in age-appropriate learning tasks in their home language that are cognitively challenging and encourage critical thinking. Second, bilingual education programs take advantage of the phenomenon of transfer, in which students use knowledge and skills developed through one language when learning in another language. Bilingual educators leverage this phenomenon by strategically building on and extending skills and content learned in one language while teaching in the other language.
A Dual Language program is defined in the M.G.L. 71A, as "a model designed to promote bilingualism and biliteracy, cross-cultural competency, and high levels of academic achievement for both native English speakers and ELs from a single language background. Provided, however, that students shall develop and maintain their first language while adding a second language and shall receive the same core curriculum as all students in the state…(and) that the instruction for such students shall be provided in two languages throughout the program." Most importantly, dual language programs are additive bilingual programs because all students develop and maintain their home language while adding a second language to their repertoire.
According to the 3rd edition of the Guiding Principles for Dual Language Education (Howard et al., 2018), the term dual language refers to any program that provides literacy and content instruction to all students through two languages and that promotes bilingualism and biliteracy, grade-level academic achievement, and sociocultural competence—a term encompassing identity development, cross-cultural competence and multicultural appreciation—for all students. There are two
Two-Way Immersion (TWI) programs typically include approximately an equal number of students who are monolingual or dominant in English at the time of enrollment and students who are monolingual or dominant in the partner language at the time of enrollment. There may also be students who have proficiency in both languages at the time of enrollment. In TWI programs, no less than one third and no more than two thirds of the student population are monolingual or dominant in either English or the partner language at the time of enrollment.
The student body of TWI programs includes native English speakers and native speakers of the partner language who are learning English. These programs can be effective for students at varying proficiency levels in English and the partner language, students with special needs, and students who come from a range of socioeconomic backgrounds and educational experiences when they first enter the program.
The design of TWI programs allows students to master academic content while becoming bilingual, biliterate, and multiculturally competent. Although there is flexibility in how TWI programs are structured and implemented, certain features of TWI programs are essential. Essential components for TWI programs include:
Guidance for Defining and Implementing Two Way Immersion Programs
*Note: The Department will be working on One-Way Immersion Guidance. The information below is in draft form and will be updated when guidance is finalized.
One Way Immersion (OWI) programs typically include native English-speakers or native speakers of the second language as most of the students enrolled. In OWI classrooms, instruction takes place in two languages, English, and the partner language. Students in this program use both languages to learn content and language simultaneously.
The goal of dual language immersion is to establish strong literacy skills in English and partner language in the early grades and produce fully bilingual, bi-literate students by the end of elementary school. For example, students whose primary language is Spanish would learn in English and Spanish in a one-way immersion program model. Another example would be for students whose primary language is English to learn together in Mandarin and English, or in French and English, etc.
The design of OWI programs allows students to master academic content while becoming bilingual, biliterate, and multiculturally competent. The One-Way Immersion model provides 50% of instruction in the partner language ( for example, Spanish) and 50% of instruction in English to Spanish-speaking learners. Teachers who provide instruction in these classrooms should have a bilingual endorsement.
Although there is flexibility in how OWI programs are structured and implemented, certain features of OWI programs are essential. Essential components for OWI programs include:
What is the difference between One-Way Immersion (OWI) programs and Two-way Immersion (TWI) programs?
Bilingual Education Online School Course for School Leaders Sessions RLO
Bilingual Education Course for School Leaders (1): Why BDL Education Programs?
Bilingual Education Course for School Leaders (2): Cultural Competency
Bilingual Education Course for School Leaders (3): Principles of Bilingual Education
Bilingual Education Course for School Leaders (4): How do I start a Bilingual Education program?
Bilingual Education Course for School Leaders (5): Families and Communities Involvement
List of Dual Language Programs
Last Updated: February 2, 2023
Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
75 Pleasant Street, Malden, MA 02148-4906
Voice: (781) 338-3000
TTY: (800) 439-2370
Disclaimer: A reference in this website to any specific commercial products, processes, or services, or the use of any trade, firm, or corporation name is for the information and convenience of the public and does not constitute endorsement or recommendation by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.