Sunday, June 7, 2015

The Challenges Facing Dual Language Learners

In my community, there is a growing population of immigrants from India.  Often, parents enroll their children in preschool with minimal to no understanding of the English language.  This can be challenging and even scary for young children to be dropped off in an entirely new environment, one in which they do not understand the communications spoken by the caregivers or other children around them.  Children who are dual language learners—especially those that experience a divide between the home language and school language—can develop a delay in their acquisition of language, as these children are taking in twice the amount of language input and vocabulary as single language learners. 

Some of the Indian parents in my community may have a working understanding of the English language, but rarely have fluency themselves.  I find that many of the families live in small communities made up of other Indian families and English is usually not spoken at home or within their neighborhood.  Among the families that I interact with, there seems to be little apparent interest of the mothers in learning English, as they are non-working and rely on the father to speak with the school.  This can hinder vital communications between school and home. 

I am curious as to how schools can improve communications between home and school and how they can increase parent participation.  I would also like to learn how schools can better provide for the dual language students’ developing language skills and emotional security.


  1. Sarah,
    Are there any community agencies that you can reach out to? If there is a growing population then perhaps the local school system has a way of communicating with the students and families.

  2. Sarah,
    I think that this is such an important area to consider and I know it is one that we need to focus on as we have more dual language learners. Are there any resources in higher education locations that might be able to provide additional support?

  3. Sara,
    Bilingual programs offer great support in teaching ESOL. Students get the chance to present their own thinking and understand others’ perspectives. Their environment promotes bilingualism; students are less likely to feel withdrawn or not able to participate. In conclusion, offering these programs help English Language Learners understand concepts even with their limited language proficiency (Garcia & Bartlett, 2007).
    Garcia, O. & Bartlett, L. (2007). A speech community model of bilingual education: Educating Latino newcomers in the USA. The International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism, 10(1), 1-25.

  4. Sarah, this is wonderful and I think that it is important to help children who are learning different languages.In my classroom I have not had any one that spoke another language other than English.