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Bilingual Programs
How do they compare?

Sandra Soliz

Models of Bilingual Education

Transitional - This model encompasses all Bilingual Education programs
which aim to shift students to the majority language, help students
assimilate to mainstream cultural norms, and incorporate students into
the national society. This is the most commonly used model in the United
Maintenance - This model encourages students to maintain their native
language, strengthen their cultural identity, and affirm their civil rights in
the national society.
Enrichment - This model supports the developmentof minority languages
on the individual and collective levels, cultural pluralism at school and in
the community, and an integrated national society based on the
autonomy of cultural groups. This model is becoming increasingly
common in Canada and the United States. This model is also known as
Dual Language.
Heritage- the heritage language may take priority even though bi-literacy
and bilingualism is their goal. Its purpose is to rejuvenate an indigenous

Subtractive / Remedial
Weak Program

Transitional Bilingual Ed. - Late Exit

Transitional Bilingual Ed. Early Exit
Content Based ESL
ESL Pullout

Additive / Enrichment

Two-way Immersion
One-way Immersion

Which is of these two programs is stronger?

Both models of Bilingual Education have the same goal,

which is to prepare the LEP student for immersion into the
English language academically, although both do not
obtain the same results.
One very noticeable difference is that in Transitional
bilingual classes, learning English is a top priority, (which
may be a weak element) whereas in the Double Immersion
classes the students are encouraged to maintain their first
language while they learn the second language in order to
achieve the highest academic success.
Another noticeable difference is the populations for whom
the programs were designed and the length of time that
students spend in these programs.

What is Dual Immersion

What is the Transitional Program?

Dual Language Program

Dual language is a form of bilingual education (which has
become increasingly popular in the USA) in which English
speaking and minority language students are taught literacy and
content in two languages (Palmer, 2008). The majority of dual
language programs in the United States teach in English and
Spanish, although increasing numbers of programs use a partner
language other than Spanish, such as Arabic, French, Hawaiian,
Japanese, Korean, or Mandarin.
Dual language programs use the partner language for at least
half of the instructional day in the elementary years. These
programs generally start in kindergarten or first grade and
extend for at least five years, and many continue into middle
school and high school. Most dual language programs are
located in neighborhood schools, although many are charter,
magnet, or private schools.
Dual language programs have three goals in mind:
bilingualism/bi-literacy, cross-cultural awareness and high
academic achievement through instruction in two languages
(Palmer, 2008)

Types of Dual Language Programs

There are four main types of dual language program, which
mainly differ in the population:

Developmental or maintenance bilingual programs. These enroll

primarily students who are native speakers of the partner
Two-way (bilingual) immersion programs. These enroll a balance
of native English speakers and native speakers of the partner
Foreign language immersion, language immersion or one-way
immersion programs.. These enroll primarily native English
Heritage language programs. These mainly enroll students who
are dominant in English but whose parents, grandparents, or
other ancestors spoke the partner language.

We consider each of these programs as part of

the umbrella of dual language

Transitional Bilingual Program

Transitional bilingual programs are known for teaching some
subjects in the students' native language in the beginning of
their education and then switching the language of
instruction to English after some years. There are two
different kinds of programs:
Early transition and Late transition programs.
These programs focus (as their main objective) on helping
children acquire the English proficiency required to succeed
in an English-only mainstream classroom.
Early transitional programs teach ELL's (English-LanguageLearners) students in their first language during kindergarten
and first-grade. The transition to English occurs in second and
third grades. Late transition programs lengthen instruction in
the ELLs' native language through elementary school and
begin transitioning to English in late elementary.

Some other types of education that use a

partner language for instruction include:
transitional bilingual education, where the aim is to
transition students out of their native language and into
English as quickly as possibly, usually in three years.
This has yet to be proven effective
foreign language education, in which native English
speakers spend less than half the day (usually one class
period) studying in the partner language (this may
include content instruction, particularly in elementary
foreign language programs).


Palmer, D. (2008) Diversity up close: Building alternative discourses in the dual immersion classroom. In T. Fortune
and D. Tedick (eds) Pathways to Bilingualism: Evolving Perspectives on Immersion Education. Clevedon: Multilingual