Affirming Identity and Supporting Student Success Through Dual Language Immersion

Presentation author(s)

Fiona R Milchman ’20, Chelsea, Vermont

Majors: Education and Youth Studies; Spanish


As primary and secondary schools in the United States experience significant demographical shifts, educators and educational institutions must adapt to these changes in order to meet the needs of their students. Primary among these changes in demographics is the growing number of native Spanish speakers, many of whom are English Language Learners (ELLs). This project aims to examine best educational practices for these students using Culturally Responsive Pedagogy (CRP) as an analytical framework. Identity and high academic expectations, being core parts of cultural responsiveness, lie at the center of this work. By comparing Dual-Language Immersion (DLI) programs alongside other programs for Spanish speakers and ELLs, one can observe the importance of native language use in affirming students’ identities and supporting positive student outcomes. To examine the differences between DLI and other programs, 15+ articles on the topic were reviewed using the framework of CRP. These articles were sorted into two major categories: student identity and student learning outcomes. Generally, this review shows that DLI instruction, as well as similar practices that include the use of both the native language and English, affirm student identity and support success more so than learning structures that focus solely on English. These findings suggest that as educators in the United States attempt to meet the needs of all students, language of instruction must be taken into consideration. Further, DLI should be further explored as a method for affirming language identities and improving student outcomes.


David Segura

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