Frequently Asked Questions about TWI

What is Two-Way Immersion?

Two-Way Immersion is a type of dual language education in which two languages are used for instruction: English and a partner language. TWI programs use a variety of models, but they all provide instruction in the partner language for a significant portion of the school day (at least 50% taught in the partner language).

The unique feature of this type of dual language instruction is that TWI programs enroll a roughly equal number of native English speakers and native speakers of the partner language (each group making up between one-third and two-thirds of the total student population) and the two groups of students are integrated for all or most of the school day.

In this model, all students have the opportunity to be both first language models and second language learners, and TWI creates an additive bilingual environment for all students since the first language is maintained while the second language is acquired.

Another feature of TWI programs is that students learn both academic content and literacy in English and a partner language. Lessons are not repeated in one language after the other, but skills and knowledge taught in one language are reinforced in the other language through thematic teaching and attention to cross-linguistic development.

Two-way immersion programs strive to promote bilingualism and biliteracy, grade-level academic achievement, and positive cross-cultural attitudes and behaviors in all students.

For a detailed introduction to two-way immersion, read Two-Way Immersion 101: Designing and Implementing a Two-Way Immersion Education Program at the Elementary Level (Educational Practice Report 9) by Liz Howard and Donna Christian (2002).


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