What Underlies Success in Spanish Dual-Language Programs? An Investigation on the Interplay between Family and School Contexts
Researchers: Cecilia Cheung (University of California, Riverside), Eurydice Bauer (University of South Carolina), Daniele Delaney (University of California, Riverside)
Background & Objectives
Recent research has shed light on the importance of sociocultural context (Alamillo, Yun, Bennett, 2016; Edwards, 1998; Paris, 2012) on biliteracy development. In particular, the dynamic and mutual influences among key stakeholders – including parents, teachers, and the developing child – have been postulated to create additive effects that shape children’s acquisition and maintenance of biliteracy competence. There is evidence that, at least in dual-language programs, children benefit through excising free choice in using their preferred language when interacting with other children and teachers (Alamillo et al., 2016). In addition, when children are allowed to use two languages (e.g., Spanish and English) interchangeably as they navigate the learning environment, they tend to be more expressive and engaged in the activities (August, Goldenberg, & Rueda, 2010).
The proposed research used a mixed method approach to understand the interplay between the family and school environments in a Spanish dual-language program. The research was conducted in a bilingual preschool in the mid-Atlantic region. In 2016, the preschool served 101 Latino children in 2015-16. Most families of students spoke primarily Spanish at home. Most parents (71%) were highly engaged in their children’s education according to indicators such as attending conferences, chaperoning field trips, and children’s school attendance.