Frequently Asked Questions about TWI

What are some effective ways to involve parents as strategic partners in a TWI program?

Here are some ideas from these publications:

  1. Guiding Principles for Dual Language Education
  2. Two-Way Immersion Toolkit
  3. Calderón, M., & Minaya-Rowe, L. (2003). Designing and implementing two-way bilingual programs: A step-by-step guide for administrators, teachers, and
    . Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.      
  • Ensure that all communication is in English and the partner language
  • Make personal connections and circulate invitations to school events in culturally appropriate ways
  • Sponsor meetings to educate parents on TWI-related topics such as program design, language acquisition, helping with homework, biliteracy development, and assessment practices
  • Offer ESL classes for parents who are learning English and classes for English-speaking parents to learn the partner language. Bring the classes together to practice with each other
  • Ensure that office staff are bilingual and have cross-cultural sensitivity skills
  • Engage a family/community liaison with appropriate language skills and cultural knowledge
  • Encourage parents to advocate at the local, state, and national level for dual language education and give them tools to do so
  • Assist parents in finding and negotiating community resources
  • Apply for grants to buy books in both program languages to send home
  • Conduct regular needs assessments
  • Provide multiple opportunities for parent participation that allow for varied skills, interests, and availability
  • Create a parent advisory committee for the program
  • Ask parents to come to their child's class to share their knowledge and skills in their language
  • Ask parents to contribute to the school newsletter (in the partner language or English)
  • Sponsor social activities that encourage parents and families from the two language groups to interact
  • Ask parents to co-present at dual language conferences and meetings
  • Ask parents to help in recruitment by sharing experiences with prospective parents and students.
  • Create an e-mail list or Web site to share information (and encourage parents to use the school’s computer lab if they don’t have a computer)
  • Encourage parents to expose their children to books and movies in both languages, attend cultural festivals, and provide opportunities for authentic language exchanges

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