Dual Language Frequently Asked Questions

How will my child understand if she/he does not speak the second language?
Dual Language Teachers are specially trained to make information meaningful through the use of visuals, objects, gestures, and specialized instructional strategies. In addition, one advantage of having a classroom with both native English- and native Spanish-speakers is that they help each other understand, which also encourages their social interaction. Children are not discouraged from speaking English to communicate, but they are encouraged to speak Spanish as they learn.
Will learning a second language interfere with my child’s ability to learn basic reading, writing and math skills?
No. National studies have shown that children in Dual Language programs, as a group, perform the same or better than their monolingual, English-speaking peers on achievement tests in math, reading and writing (Thomas & Collier, 2001). Research also shows that students who acquire advanced levels of proficiency in two languages often experience cognitive and linguistic advantages and perform better on tasks that require divergent thinking, pattern recognition, and problem solving (Cummins, 1998).
Does it matter if no one at home speaks the second language?
No. Continuous exposure to English at home is also important. Read to your child daily and continue the literacy experiences you would naturally encourage. One of the advantages of this program is that students with strong English abilities succeed well. You may even notice your child beginning to read in English by using the literacy skills learned in Spanish before formal English reading instruction is presented.
How can I help my child with homework if I can’t understand the language?
Homework and most school notices that are sent home are provided in English and in Spanish. Teachers will communicate with you in the language you are comfortable with, although they may ask that your child not be present to hear them speaking English because it would disrupt the consistent language model they present in class. Teachers also welcome communication through email.
How can English-speaking parents help their child succeed in the Dual Language Program?
Participate! One way is to provide continuous, quality exposure to English at home. Read with your child in English daily. Discuss what your child is learning in school and listen to your child read in Spanish. Try to learn along with your child – you might even want to take a Spanish class yourself! You can also participate by volunteering in your child’s classroom. You’ll have a better understanding of what happens in a Dual Language classroom as well as an opportunity to get to know other children and parents involved in the program.

If you have questions about our program, e-mail the program coordinator: Maritza Maldonado at mmaldonado@powayusd.com

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