|Pros of the Dual Immersion Program||Cons of the Dual Immersion Program|
|Students learn a new language||Students that struggle in the language struggle academically |
|Helps children who have English as their second language||It can be hard emotionally|
|Allows more advanced students a challenge||Children may learn less of the language then you would wish|
|Helps students better understand another culture||Many students don't embrace this opportunity |
In college, I had the opportunity to substitute teach for many Portuguese Dual Immersion Classes. This opportunity was an eye-opening experience! I wish that all parents could see what I saw before deciding whether or not to enroll their students in this program.
Pros of the Dual Immersion Program
- The student learns a new language! Language is the key to open up new cultures, new experiences, and new ideas. What could be better than gaining this priceless skill at a young age? Sadly I didn't have an opportunity to learn a language fluently until I served a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints; I wish I could have acquired a new language sooner.
- It helps those who have English as their second language. During my experience as a substitute teacher, I observed students with English as their second language . I taught these students in the Dual Immersion Program (in their native language) and standard classrooms. The difference between the two classrooms for these students was disconcerting. In the Dual Immersion Program, I saw confidence. For half of the day, these students were at the top of their class! In the conventional classroom, I saw low self-esteem as they struggled to fit in among their peers.
- It allows more advanced students a challenge. We all know those students. You know, the ones who finish ten minutes after receiving an assignment, who ace every test, and who never seem challenged. These are the students that succeed in the Immersion Program. Not only do they continue to pass every subject, but they also leave Elementary fluent in a new language.
- It leads student to better understand another culture. Through a language, you learn about cultures. This is an incredible benefit for children to learn at a young age.
Cons of the Dual Immersion Program
- Students that struggle in the language suffer academically. It was the little girl in the 5th-grade class that caught my attention. We were reviewing some math concepts, and it was clear she didn't understand anything that I was saying in Portuguese. When I went to help her, I could tell she thought she was stupid because she couldn’t understand me. This little girl's situation is way too common. A student that struggles with the language ends up feeling stupid in every other subject.
- It can be hard emotionally. The Dual Immersion Program begins in first grade, and let me tell you, first graders don't understand the language. I remember wrapping up a day and asking a little boy to do something for me. To my astonishment, he burst into tears. The more I spoke to him in Portuguese, the harder he cried. Finally, I switched to English, and he calmed down. The poor kid thought that I was getting mad at him. This language barrier can be hard for kids.
- How much of the language do they learn and retain? The children's vocabulary by the sixth grade was impressive, but their grammar still needed a lot of work. How many of these children would keep learning and using the language? Sadly I think too many of them will forget the language within the next decade.
- They don't embrace the opportunity. It soon becomes clear that there are students that could care less about learning a language. They are there because their parent's signed them up. These children barely learn enough language to get by and then don't progress. In these cases, the children would befit far more from a traditional classroom.
"Our goal is to help the world make decisions with a list of Pros and Cons. We invite all to add to our lists to help others make the most educated decision possible. We are all in this world together to help each other and learn from what others have learned from their lives journey." - Pros and Cons Team
Written By: Kristen