Parents' Questions About Two-Way Immersion
- What advantages are there for my child in a TWI program? Are the advantages the same for language minority and language majority students?
- How do students in TWI programs compare academically to students in other types of educational programs?
- When do students perform at grade level on standardized achievement tests in their first and second languages? Is the time frame different for 90/10 vs. 50/50 models?
- Within TWI programs, how does the academic performance of native English speakers compare to that of English language learners?
- What are the characteristics of students who are successful in TWI programs?
- How can TWI program parents help families who donít have children in the program understand its benefits?
- How can TWI parents work with the school board and district administrators to help them understand the importance of supporting TWI programs?
- What should a TWI program do to promote home-school connections? What can I do as a parent to get involved?
- How can I help support my child in doing homework in the second language, particularly if I donít know that language? What kind of homework support can the program provide?
- What resources exist for parents of TWI students? Are there conferences that I might enjoy attending?
9. How can I help support my child in doing homework in the second language, particularly if I donít know that language? What kind of homework support can the program provide?
Parents can support students at home by making sure that they have the right environment and tools to get homework done (e.g., a quiet space and enough time, paper, dictionaries in both languages, writing utensils, and art supplies such as construction paper, paste, tape, and colored makers). Parents can also ask questions about the homework in the language spoken at home, thus giving the students opportunities to explain the assignment in their first language.
The program can also provide homework support. One of the best supports is ongoing communication between the teacher and the parents through a weekly newsletter in both languages. In the newsletter, the teacher can describe the topics that are being taught and provide an overview of homework assignments for the week, along with written guidance for complicated assignments (and perhaps some models of completed assignments). Teachers can also set up a class buddy system, matching an English-speaking student with a student speaking the other program language to help one another with homework. Yet another way that the program can provide homework support is by running an after-school homework club where students can receive support on long-term projects or on a daily basis.
Finally, the program can organize a homework hotline or a group of parent volunteers to provide homework support in one language or another, by telephone or email. Alternately, the teacher or parent volunteers could tape-record the homework each day along with helpful suggestions for completing it.