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Teaching and Learning


Miranda Lin

Mentor Department

Teaching and Learning


In presenting my research, I will explain the method, results, and conclusion of my research on the effect of enrollment in Dual Language Programs on student social competence. Dual Language Programs exist to help native English-speaking students and those that speak another specified language, French, Spanish, Mandarin, work together to learn their non-native tongue in the same classroom. This is facilitated either by one teacher that is fluent in both languages or two different teachers, each fluent in one of the two languages. These programs invite students who speak another native language to develop their literacy skills in that language, making it easier to eventually transfer these skills to English. Alternatively, students who speak English natively are exposed to a second language that they will be able to speak fluently by the end of their career in the Dual Language Program. To ensure that all students can benefit from the development of a second language, these classes have a half-and-half configuration, with half the students being native English speakers and half speaking the other language. I interviewed five Dual Language teachers from schools across central Illinois to understand the structure of their unique programs and the changes they have seen in their student’s social interactions. All interviews took approximately forty-five minutes. The findings of this research indicate that no one component of a dual language program leads to higher social competence. Instead, there are many contributors that can help students improve upon themselves and their relationships. Among these factors are teachers that are aware and understanding of different cultures, single strands of classes so that students are continuously together, a variety of cultures and backgrounds represented in the classroom that extend into instruction, and supportive families that are open to the cultures of others. While all these factors exist in mainstream classrooms, they are not as apparent and therefore do not result in as much positive change in a students’ social competence. Moreover, students are better able to maintain their home cultures at school as assimilation is not the goal. The findings of my research support the existing literature about the academic benefits of Dual Language Program enrollment, in addition to supplementing it with information about the social benefits of such programs. Therefore, it fulfills its purpose to give parents and schools more well-rounded information when deciding whether to include such programs in schools.

The Effects Of Dual Language Program Enrollment On Student Social Competence