Half-and-half approach to language approved

31st March 2000 at 01:00

EDUCATION secretary Richard Riley has called for a fourfold increase in the number of schools using a dual-language approach to bilingual education within five years.

The so-called "dual language" method - also sometimes referred to as "two-way bilingual" or "dual immersion" - involves simultaneously teaching English to immigrants and a foreign language to their English-speaking classmates.

Increased immigration has meant that demand outstrips supply in many areas of the United States.

The classes typically have an even mix of students who speak English as their native tongue and students who speak another language. Students are taught about half in each language. The goal is for them to become proficient in both.

"I think that it is high time we began to treat language skills as the asset they are, particularly n this global economy," the education secretary said in a major speech on Hispanic schooling.

"Anything that encourages a person to know more than one language should be treated as positive."

The dual-language approach was introduced in a Miami suburb after a wave of Cuban immigration in the early 1960s.

It is now used in 261 schools in 23 of the 50 states, according to the Center for Applied Linguistics. Of those schools, 240 use the method to teach Spanish-speaking students.

Mr Riley's call for the boost to dual-language teaching was applauded by bilingual education groups.

But there was a more cautious response from organisations that have pressed for more effective English-language instruction. They have complained that it is impossible for English-speaking residents to communicate with many of their neighbours.

Subscribe to get access to the content on this page.

If you are already a Tes/ Tes Scotland subscriber please log in with your username or email address to get full access to our back issues, CPD library and membership plus page.

Not a subscriber? Find out more about our subscription offers.
Subscribe now
Existing subscriber?
Enter subscription number


The guide by your side – ensuring you are always up to date with the latest in education.

Get Tes magazine online and delivered to your door. Stay up to date with the latest research, teacher innovation and insight, plus classroom tips and techniques with a Tes magazine subscription.
With a Tes magazine subscription you get exclusive access to our CPD library. Including our New Teachers’ special for NQTS, Ed Tech, How to Get a Job, Trip Planner, Ed Biz Special and all Tes back issues.

Subscribe now