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Question & Answer

Gómez & Gómez Dual Language Enrichment Model


Q1: Why is math learned in English and Science & Social Studies learned in Spanish in the Gómez & Gómez DLE Model?


A1: As we developed our DLE Model, we kept in mind the academic, linguistic and cognitive effect content areas would have on native English speakers and speakers of other languages, primarily native Spanish speakers (ELLs). The reasons are listed below:


-ALL Dual Language models require the teaching of some academic subjects in English and some in the minority language (Spanish). It makes more sense to select Math to be taught in English since it is more of a universal language (numbers) which provide a natural sheltering of content for our ELL students who are more likely to come from a lower Socio Economic Status (SES) background. Also, traditionally, there are greater amounts of manipulatives in math than science or social studies that also support content sheltering and hands-on learning.  Finally, quite often, Spanish dominant parents have a stronger math background and therefore could best support their child learning this content are in their L2.


-As far as science & social studies, one of the very few weaknesses of DLE programs is that English dominant students tend to not achieve the same literacy level in Spanish compared to English literacy achievement attained by Spanish dominant students by the end of their program (hence the development of 90/10 programs). Because science and social studies are more text rich…language-based content areas, it helps participating English dominant to attain a higher level of Spanish literacy.  Math would not provide the English dominant student with the same amount of L2 development.


-Finally, DLE programs require a balanced exposure to both target languages. In our model, PK-1st grade, language arts is taught in the child’s native language and because math tends to be approximately the same amount of minutes as Science and Social Studies combined, this makes math a better balancer than for example Science.


Q2: We have been trained on SIOP or GLAD, would that go by the wayside?


A2: NOT AT ALL! Sheltered Instruction Observation Protocol (SIOP) and Grade Level Acquisition Devices (GLAD) are Second language Acquisition (SLA) instructional strategies that fit well with DLE programs since ½ of the curriculum is delivered to students in their L2. The use of SLA strategies is critical for sheltering content-area instruction for L2 learners of that content. SIOP and GLAD trained teachers are great assets and strengths to any DLE program.


Q3: How does Language Arts in 2nd grade look in the classroom? What does Language Arts in both English and Spanish mean beginning 2nd grade?


A3: In our model, all students PK-1st grade receive language arts only in their L1 (native language). Beginning with 2nd grade and through 5th grade, ALL students participating in the DLE program receive TWO language arts. One in English and one in Spanish (for instance, 60 minutes in English and 60 minutes in Spanish). The same content is NOT taught in both languages thus it does not cut instructional time in LA in half. Instead, teachers coordinate instruction to compliment each other’s efforts.


Only for 2nd grade, language arts in L1 and L2 differ in two-way and one-way classrooms:

   2nd Grade L2 LA Curriculum in One-Way DL Classrooms

      -L2 - LA curriculum is as an extension of objectives (additional enrichment activities) learned in L1 LA

   2nd Grade L2 LA Curriculum in Two-Way DL Classrooms

      -L2 - LA curriculum is taught at the level of the L1 learner and the L2 learner keeps up as much as possible (enrichment)


Q4: How is the program’s effectiveness evaluated?


A4: Extensive 3-Day DLE training is provided by Gómez and Gómez & Associates; Classroom observation visits (follow-up) is also recommended to be conducted by Gómez and Gómez & Associates (as well as local district staff) assessing fidelity of implementation; overall program effectiveness is typically based on students’ academic achievement on the 3rd, 4th and most importantly, 5th grade TAKS in reading, writing and math.


Q5: What happens when a new immigrant child comes in?


A5: Because the DLE program IS the Bilingual/ESL program serving Spanish ELL students, any new arriving Spanish ELL student will be placed in the DLE program. This will provide the student with Spanish language arts, science & social studies instruction and math as the English content. If it is after 1st grade, then in addition to Math the child receives English language arts.


Q6: What about mobility within and between districts?


A6: Data is consistent that IN-District mobility is much greater than INTRA-District mobility.  Having a district wide One-Way DLE program for ALL ELL students solves the mobility issue within the district. One of the reasons DLE programs are increasing across the country.


Q7: Will Dual Language continue into middle and high school? Academic Spanish?


A7: More and more DLE programs are moving into middle and even high schools!  Because continued academic literacy development stops once the language stops, the longer students learn in both languages, the stronger the biliteracy development and the higher the academic outcomes for both groups. As far as academic Spanish at the secondary level, schools have identified proficient content teachers that can deliver core-area content in Spanish. A minimum of one core-area (math, science or SS) and Spanish language arts (grammar & literature) should be delivered in Spanish to support biliteracy development. Continuing DL into MS and HS is strongly encouraged!


Q8: What are the budget implications? Materials? Staffing?


A8: The largest budget consideration is always teacher salaries. Because the DLE program requires the same personnel as other remedial programs (ESL, TBE), salary implications are not an issue. DLE costs are:

1) initial training for teachers implementing the upcoming year (one grade level at a time require training thus spreading out training costs over five years until the DLE program is fully implemented),

2) Spanish reading books and supplemental materials in Spanish Science and Social Studies. Spanish materials are typically needed more at the upper grades since transitional programs exited the majority of ELL students by 3rd grade, and

3) developing the dual language library with Spanish reading books (PK-5). Library budgets should be skewed to purchasing more Spanish books (75% Spanish books versus 25% English books) in order to begin to close the English versus Spanish book gap. Libraries and classrooms target one grade at a time as the DLE program rolls up from one grade level to the next thus concentrating the resources on the grades where they will be most needed. Relatively speaking, the costs associated with implementing a DLE program are very reasonable when compared to other major instructional models however, the academic return DLE programs achieve, far outweigh every other ELL program.


Q9: How does the dual language program get funded?


A9: The district develops an implementation plan in which these various components are addressed. It is important to note that the district Bilingual program is NOT the only district program that should be “vested” in the DLE program. Funding dollars should follow the students. Since the DLE program involves students in many academic areas, the district Reading, Math, Science, Social Studies, Specialty areas, Title I, and other funding sources should contribute proportionally to offset the cost of implementing the DLE program and educating students in all these areas. Imagine a wheel where the hub of the wheel is the district Bilingual program and the spokes surrounding the hub and making it stronger, are the various academic and funding programs such as math, reading, Title I, etc. All district programs pull together to provide the most effective education opportunities for its students.


Q10: How can monolingual adults follow the Language of the Day in your model?


A10: The Language of the day (LOD) component is always adhered to by campus staff to the extent possible. That is, if you are bilingual, follow the LOD, if not, use as much Spanish as possible to support and validate both languages. No one is forced to follow the LOD.


Q11: How much training should administrators receive on the Gómez and Gómez DLE model?


A11: We recommend a minimum of 2-Day intensive training as provided by Gómez and Gómez & Associates, with follow-up meetings, technical assistance as needed. Ultimately, it is a district’s decision.


Q12: How would this fit with other initiatives in our district?


A12: The Gómez and Gómez DLE model is very flexible. Because the model has comprehensive layers of instructional best practices, it fits well with the education reform efforts of hundreds of different DLE programs using this model. Dual Language is educational reform at its best!


Q13: What is the impact of DLE on poor readers? What are the instances when a struggling reader would be better served by monolingual instruction?


A13:  DLE programs offer the BEST opportunity for students to become successful readers. Since students learn to read only once, it makes sense that they do so in their native language so as to maximize their comprehension of the process, including decoding. Once a student is proficient in reading in his/her own language, it becomes a relatively simple process to transfer these skills over to English. Dual language programs where English and Spanish are the target languages have an even greater advantage since they share so much of the same sounds. Like sounds learned in one language are simultaneously learned in the second language. In the Gómez and Gómez DLE model students are taught their entire language arts (reading/writing) in their native language (e.g., in English for dominant English speakers, in Spanish for dominant Spanish speakers) for the first years of schooling (PK-1st grade). Not until second grade would a second language arts be introduced in the child's second target language. However, vocabulary development occurs in the second language from the very beginning through math (taught in English to all students) and science/social studies (taught in Spanish to all students) curriculum and through other non-core-area content time in the day (Language of the Day: MWF; Spanish / TTH: English). If any student struggles to read in their L1, then interventions are provided in order to keep or get the child at grade level in reading comprehension. However, any intervention must be beyond (additional) the child’s language arts period because during language arts the child need to receive grade-level instruction with proper scaffolding/support and mixed/paired with students that are at grade level. Never should grade-level instruction be replaced with below grade-level instruction as means of an intervention.


Q14:  How do Special Education students integrate with DLE programs? What is DLE’s impact on their performance?


A14:  Special education students participate in the DLE program just like any other child. For example, the majority of DLE programs in south Texas are building wide. This means ALL students in the school are participants in the program, period. Of course if the special need is severe, access to the DLE classroom would be limited just like it would be for any other classroom. Most special education students thrive in DLE programs for the same reasons non-special education students do well. Attributes of DLE programs such as: learner-centered instruction, native language learning, increased cognitive development, etc. all contributes to quality enriched learning environments for all children that best support learners with special needs.


Q15:  In the Thomas and Collier research specifically, but also in data from Texas and California, was the data somewhat skewed because of students (more transient students) leaving the research or by the fact that families who elected to have their child in a DLE program probably provided more educational support for their children?


A15:  Academic and linguistic data is so consistently positive for DLE programs that it has gone far beyond concerns with "skewing" of the data.  In fact, it was more common for schools to explain away poor academic performance based on factors such as transient students. When little else changes, not the principals, not the teachers, not the curriculum, not the parents, but rather the only significant change is the instructional model (DLE program) and it produces the consistent academic and linguistic results that it does in school after school, it is difficult to find any other factor to explain the results. Of course we are not suggesting here that it is an easy task to go from a traditional instructional program (TBE or ESL) to a DLE Enrichment program. Not at all, but once the teachers, and administration understand the research and program model and work diligently to implement it, positive results have become easy to predict. Also, keep in mind that the T & C longitudinal research has been approved by the current administration’s NCLB definition as meeting scientifically-based research.


Q16:   What is the impact of students moving out of DLE programs? How do they do after leaving and what is the impact their departure has on the DLE cohort?


A16:  Students who have been in the DLE program for at least 3 to 4 years continue to excel academically and are strong biliterates who often attempt and receive advanced credit in Spanish, as well as outperform their monolingual peers. Dominant English DLE students who leave the DLE program before 3 do not receive the same linguistic benefits in Spanish. Dominant Spanish speaking students are not similarly affected since living in the USA adds many opportunities for them to continue to acquire English. Simply stated, the longer a student is in the DLE program, the more of the program’s academic and linguistic benefits are derived.


Q17:  What is the impact of other native speakers being involved in an English/Spanish DLE program?


A17:  There are other than Spanish/English DLE programs in the country, however, by far, the most common DLE model use Spanish/ English. Still, there are many students for whom neither English nor Spanish was their first language who benefit from participating in an enriched DLE program. For instance, a Chinese native speaking student would become a trilingual. Academic Spanish and English are learned from the DLE program and conversational (or possibly academic) Chinese from home. It is equally economically advantageous, in the era we live in, for a Chinese or Russian native speaker to become proficient in both English and Spanish. The alternative for a Chinese, Japanese or Russian speaking student is a much less academically successful and remedial English only program (e.g. ESL Pullout).


Q18:  How important is it that a 50/50 ratio for non-certified staff be established?


A18:  Non-certified school staff play a more limited role in DLE programs than they do staff in traditional classrooms where they are serving ELLs. Because in DLE programs, the teacher aide follows the instructional language lead of the teacher (English speaking teacher will ask the aide to speak in only English to the students and the Spanish speaking teacher will ask the aide to speak in only Spanish to the students). Thus teacher-aides should be utilized as a teaching assistant and NOT as a teacher substitute. Of course the more bilingual "other" staff in the building such as the librarian, music teacher, P. E. teacher, etc. the more they are able to participate more fully in the DLE program. Although bilingualism across the campus is a plus, it is not essential for a successful DLE program.


Q19:  What should I do if a 50/50 ratio of English speakers to Spanish speakers is difficult to establish?


A19:  The ratio of English to Spanish speakers is NOT critical. If you can get a ratio of a minimum of 40% of one group and 60% of the other, then you have a Two-Way DLE program. If you do not, then you have a One-Way DLE program.  Either program is academically successful and closes the academic achievement gap between native English speakers and native Spanish speakers. You could have 100% of your students in the DLE program comprised of solely ELLs and have a successful One-Way DLE program.


We strongly suggest that all districts serving ELLs adopt One-Way DLE as their bilingual program. This will offer ALL ELLs an ENRICHED BILINGUAL EDUCATION, which will yield much stronger long-term English achievement. Once there is sufficient demand from English dominant parents for English children participation, then the school can move to a Two-Way DLE model.


Q20:  Do districts with DLE programs treat the DLE program as an enrichment (GT) program only for the highest performing students?


A20:  ALL schools treat the DLE program as an enrichment program to produce the highest performing schools, BUT only very few schools (maybe 10% - guesstimate based on our experience) create DLE programs only for their highly capable (GT) student population.


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