Hind Louali: Why Kids Should Take Language Immersion
.According to Hind Louali, dual-language immersion programs lead to biliteracy. Communicating effectively in multiple languages is valuable for students in today’s globalized world. Immersion programs offer an excellent opportunity for students to develop strong language skills naturally and effectively. Students can speak, listen, read, and write proficiently in multiple languages by being fully immersed in the language
These programs typically start in kindergarten and continue through elementary school, providing a strong foundation for language learning. However, some programs extend into middle or high school, allowing students to deepen their knowledge and mastery of languages over time. Overall, immersion programs are a fantastic way for students to become truly bilingual and gain an edge in their future academic and professional lives
The best time to learn a second language is early on in life. Hind Louali says this is why having a child exposed to a second language before puberty would be ideal. The younger, the better, though, since this increases the likelihood of attaining proficiency.
Dual-language programs typically don’t allow new students after first grade. When schools start students early and allow them to develop their skills throughout their academic careers, these programs also help students achieve high proficiency in both languages.
For English-language learners, Hind Louali says that enrolling in a traditional school program may put them at a disadvantage. Immersion may be better for native speakers of, say, Spanish. At least, it would be better for them rather than have them go to a monolingual English school. The issue with having them go to a monolingual English school is that they’ll potentially be behind in English while having all these Spanish skills they cannot use.
Moreover, dual-language immersion helps minimize the achievement gap between native English speakers and English learners. If you notice, this gap often arises in English-only schooling.
In addition to falling behind in a monolingual English environment, Hind Louali mentions that some English learners may even lose the ability to speak fluently in their native language as time goes on. The results of language loss can be quite a sad development in the lives of many people who started as non-English speakers. All over the country, there are families where the parent speaks their home language, and the child speaks English. It’s heartbreaking to know they can’t build this bond because they don’t speak the same language.
With dual-language immersion programs, English learners can develop their skills in their native language while also learning English rather quickly, or at least quicker than students in English-only programs, adds Hind Louali.
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