Frequently Asked Questions about TWI

How do at-risk students do in TWI Programs?

There are not many published studies on this topic, but as increasing numbers of at-risk students are being included in TWI programs, the knowledge base should increase. Here is one such study:

  • Green, F., Spivey, S. P., Ferris, L., Bernal, E. M., & Izquierdo, E. (2010). Our diversity, our treasure: Connecting Worlds/Mundos Unidos Gifted and Talented Dual Language Immersion Program. In J. A. Castellano & A. D. Frazier (Eds.), Special populations in gifted education: Understanding our most able students from diverse backgrounds. (pp. 287-303). Waco, TX US: Prufrock Press.
  • Milian, M., & Pearson, V. (2005). Students with visual impairments in a dual-language program: A case study. Journal of Visual Impairment & Blindness, 99(11), 715-720.

We recommend these two books for an overview of the topic:

  • Fortune, T. W., & Menke, M. (2010). Struggling Learners & Language Immersion Education. Minneapolis, MN: Center for Advanced Research on Language Acquisition.
  • Paradis, J., Genesee, F. & Crago, M. B. (2011). Dual Language Development & Disorders: A Handbook on Bilingualism and Second Language Learning (2nd ed.). Baltimore, MD: Paul H. Brookes Publishing Co.

Here is some relevant research from the field of foreign language teaching and immersion:

  • Ganschow, L., Sparks, R. L., Javorsky, J., & Patton, J. (1992). Factors relating to learning a foreign language among high- and low-risk high school students and students with learning disabilities. Applied Language Learning, 3(1-2), 37-63.
  • Genesee, F. H. (1992). Second/foreign language immersion and at-risk English-speaking children. Foreign Language Annals, 25(3).
  • Holobow, N. E., Genesee, F., & Lambert, W. E. (1991). The effectiveness of a foreign language immersion program for children from different ethnic and social class backgrounds: Report 2. Applied Psycholinguistics, 12, 179-198.
  • Pucci, S. L., & Ulanoff, S. H. (1998). What Predicts Second Language Reading Success? A Study of Home and School Variables. ITL, Review of Applied Linguistics, 121-122, 1-18.
  • Schneider, E. (1996). Teaching Foreign Languages to At-Risk Learners (ERIC Digest EDO-FL-97-03).  Washington, DC: ERIC Clearinghouse on Languages and Linguistics.
  • Sparks, R. L., Ganschow, L., Javorsky, J., Pohlman, J., & Patton, J. (1992). Test comparisons among students identified as high- risk, low-risk, and learning disabled in high school foreign language courses. The Modern Language
    Journal, 76
    (2), 142-159.

On the topic of English language learners with special needs, we recommend these resources:

If you would like to contact a school with a large population of students at-risk due to poverty, you can use the Directory of Two-Way Immersion Programs to find contact information: from the Detailed Search Page, select “Between 51-75%” or “More than 76%” for “Native English speakers who qualify for free or reduced lunch” and/or “Minority language speakers who qualify for free or reduced lunch.”


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