Classroom Instruction: Questions and Answers
- Why do TWI programs strictly separate the two languages for instruction? Is there research to support this practice?
- How long does it usually take students to start understanding and then start speaking in their second language? Does the rate vary by native language and program model?
- How do you encourage students to use the language of instruction, particularly when it is the partner language? How do you get students to take risks when they are speaking in their second language?
- How do you know when to correct a child’s error and when to let it go? How do you try to prevent the errors?
- How do you determine if a child is experiencing a language delay? What do you do in that case?
- What teaching strategies are effective for promoting language development?
- How does putting students in bilingual pairs (one native speaker and one second language learner) provide opportunities for language development for both students?
- How do you challenge native speakers while keeping the language level manageable for second language learners?
- How do you help students perform at grade level in the content areas when they are learning through their second language, particularly when they are at low levels of proficiency in that language?
- Are there instructional materials and assessment strategies for use in the content areas that take into account different stages of language learning?
- What are the differences in instructional approach and sequencing in English and Spanish language arts? Does this vary by program model and grade level?
- How much coordination should there be in literacy instruction across the two languages? Does this vary by program model or grade level?
- What literacy skills transfer across English and Spanish and which need to be taught explicitly in each language?
- Are there standards for Spanish language arts? Should they be different for L1 and L2 learners?
- What characteristics are important when choosing basal readers and other curricular materials for Spanish literacy instruction in TWI programs?
- What literacy skills are taught through the content areas and what are taught through language arts lessons?
- How do you teach a classroom of students with varying levels of literacy and reading readiness?
- Are any special supports given to students while they are developing literacy skills in their second language as opposed to their first?
- How do you distinguish between language proficiency and content knowledge when assessing student performance in the content areas?
- What Spanish and English oral language assessments are used in TWI programs? What information do they offer about native speakers and second language learners? Should the same assessments be used for first and second language speakers?
- What is an ideal battery of assessments that a TWI program should use to monitor student performance over time?
- How can teachers promote positive cross-cultural attitudes and behaviors among students?
- How can teachers incorporate a multicultural perspective into instruction?
- What are some good resources for multicultural instruction?
Supporting Special Student Populations
- How are students with special learning needs identified?
- How can teachers support students with special learning needs in the TWI program?
- How are special education services integrated with the TWI program?
- How can teachers support new students who enter the program in the upper elementary grades and do not have grade-level language skills in one or both program languages? How can teachers help them to participate in activities that require grade-level language skills?
- How can the programs support students whose native language is not one or both of the program languages (i.e., third language speakers)?
- On what basis are children retained in TWI programs? What if a student is only having trouble in one language? How can you be sure that students are retained for academic difficulties and not limited second language proficiency?
- How can preservice teachers be prepared to teach in a TWI setting? What information and skills do they need in order to be effective in TWI programs?
- What are some useful and appropriate supports for new TWI immersion teachers?
- What are some useful strategies that team teachers can use to communicate student progress and coordinate lesson planning? What does teaming look like in a TWI setting?