In 2015, the Indiana State Legislature passed Biliteracy Legislation (Senate Enrolled Act no. 267), which provides an appropriation to fund grants to school corporations and charter schools to support the development of dual language immersion (DLI) programs in any language approved by the Indiana Department of Education (IDOE). To support this Biliteracy Legislation, a program has been developed to provide professional development training and resources for teachers and administrators across Indiana’s K-12 schools that are planning to implement or are already implementing DLI programs. Our goal is to not only provide high quality professional development and resources, but also to study the impact of these DLI programs on the students, classrooms, schools, school corporations, and communities in which they are implemented.
Benefits of Dual Language Immersion programs
Studies of well-established DLI programs have indicated that this instructional model can lead to improved student outcomes for all students, regardless of their racial, socieconomic, and linguistic background (Collier & Thomas, 2004; Freeman, 1998; Kirk-Senesac, 2002). Research (e.g., Freeman, 1996; Kirk Senesac, 2002; Palmer, 2007) has shown evidence of increased parent engagement and strengthened student and teacher attitudes toward bilingualism and biculturalism for schools with DLI programs. Freeman (2000) cites the benefits of dual immersion as accruing on a much larger scale, asserting that the instructional model of promoting bilingualism among linguistically diverse students learning together challenges the dominant narrative of English as the only lingua franca in U.S. schools.
The Office of Research and Development, supported by IU’s Title VI Centers (Center for the Study of the Middle East, East Asian Studies Center, Inner Asian and Uralic National Resource Center, and Russian and East European Institute), hosts a week-long summer institute each year on the IU campus to prepare the schools that are planning to implement or are starting to implement pilot dual language immersion programs. Teachers and administrators involved in the implementation process discuss DLI pedagogy, DLI classroom activities, DLI assessment, DLI teacher recruitment, plans for sustainability and growth, tips for securing external funding, and other topics critical for DLI pilot program success and growth. Faculty experts from Indiana University engage with attendees.
Other support activities include school visits, classroom observations and ongoing consulting throughout the school year.
More information about funding for these types of programs can be found on the Indiana Department of Education website.