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Definitions of Language Instruction Programs

Types of programs and descriptions for language instruction educational programs.

Definitions of Language Instruction Programs

Title III Biennial Report to Congress, School Years 2008-10.

Definitions of language instruction educational programs*

Type Program(s) Description
Programs that use English and another language. Two-way immersion or Two-way bilingual
  • The goal is to develop strong skills and proficiency in both L1 (native language) and L2 (English).
  • Includes students with an English background and students from one other language.
  • Instruction is in both languages, typically starting with smaller proportions of instruction in English and gradually moving to half in each language.
  • Students typically stay in the program throughout elementary school.
Programs that use English and another language. Dual language
  • When called "dual language immersion," usually the same as two-way immersion or two-way bilingual.
  • When called "dual language," may refer to students from one language group developing full literacy skills in two languages - L1 and L2.
Programs that use English and another language. Transitional
  • The goal is to develop English skills as quickly as possible, without delaying learning of academic core content.
  • Instruction begins in L1 but rapidly moves to L2. Students typically are transitioned into mainstream classrooms with their English-speaking peers as soon as possible.
Programs that use English and another language. Development bilingual, late exit transitional, or maintenance education
  • The goal is to develop some skills and proficiency in L1 and strong skills and proficiency in L2.
  • Instruction at lower grades is in L1, gradually transitioning to English. Students typically transition into mainstream classrooms with their English-speaking peers.
  • Differences among the three programs focus on the degree of literacy students develop in the native language.
Programs that use English and another language. Heritage language or indigenous language program
  • The goal is literacy in two languages.
  • Content is taught in both languages, with teachers fluent in both languages.
  • Differences between the two programs: heritage language programs typically target students who are non-English speakers or who have weak literacy skills in L1; indigenous language programs support endangered minority languages in which students may have weak receptive and no productive skills. Both programs often serve American Indian students.

*Modified from Linquanti, 1999, and National Clearinghouse for English Language Acquisition, 2000.

Questions:   Language Policy and Leadership Office | 916-319-0845
Last Reviewed: Friday, September 30, 2016
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