Houston-area public schools dual language programs
Houston Gulf Coast-area public school districts offer a variety of dual-language programs. There are a vast number of local children who speak English as their second language, acquiring both the language of their family as well as the language of the larger community. These young children are referred to as dual language learners (DLLs). Because students have varying levels of English language proficiency, there are three distinctive types of programs for DLLs, which include English as a Second Language (ESL), bilingual, and dual language. There are a number of languages represented in Houston-area public schools, including Spanish, French, Mandarin Chinese, Italian, Greek, German, Hebrew, Arabic, and American Sign Language. Parents are encouraged to explore the different language options that are available to their child and decide which programs match their individual needs.
ESL classrooms are comprised of students with many different language backgrounds, and the lessons are taught entirely in English. ESL programs are intended to help students attain better proficiency in the English language.
In dual language classrooms, half the students are native English speakers, and the other half are students who speak the same foreign language. Teachers instruct half of the lesson in English and the other half in the foreign language. Dual language programs benefit all students because they all have the opportunity to learn a new language. These programs serve as both a foreign language immersion plan for English speaking students as well as an additive program for ELLs.
Houston-area public schools believe in the many benefits of appreciating multilingualism, bilinguals, and polyglots in their diverse communities. Inclusion and diversity are of utmost importance in Houston school districts, as they welcome and celebrate the individual differences of each student.
Additional benefits to students involved in dual language:
- Language learning correlates with higher academic achievement on standardized test measures.
- Early language learning improves cognitive abilities.
- Language learners develop a more positive attitude toward the target language and the speakers of that language.