Research Topic

New Trends and Directions in Dual Language Education

About this Research Topic

In the past decades, interest in dual language education from policy makers, educators, and families has increased dramatically worldwide. In the United States, statewide initiatives to increase dual language programs, such as Utah, Delaware, Rhode Island and North Carolina to name a few, have paved the way for largescale program expansion. New advances in the field have included significant growth of teacher-preparation programs that focus on preparing candidates to be dual language teachers, as well as the inception of bilingual and dual language universities. The Seal of Biliteracy, another recent phenomenon, has been legislated into law in 36 states and the District of Columbia in a short nine years since California first legislated it in 2011. This is a rapid and impressive development, reflective not only of a nationwide recognition that multilingualism and biliteracy are assets, but also of a collective desire to increase opportunities for PK-12 students to develop bilingual, biliterate, and multicultural competencies. The genesis for many of these advances stem from both the increasingly linguistic and culturally diverse student population in schools, as well as the growing national and international need for a multilingual and multiliterate workforce.

Dual language education, when well implemented, offers the academic, linguistic and cultural long-term platform needed for students to develop biliteracy, achieve academically, and acquire multicultural competencies. However, as with other popular educational trends, dual language programming is not without its pitfalls some of which include large-scale expansion that does not take into account institutionalized English-oriented instructional and assessment policies, student and teacher demographics, and lack of appropriate planning to name a few. Instructional decisions about the intersection of the two languages, use and validation of language varieties/dialects, and language allocation policies are sometimes premised on lack of knowledge or outdated beliefs. In addition, what some have called the ‘gentrification of dual language education” that cater to middle-class white English-speaking students, poses serious concerns about access, equity and inclusion for low income language minority students in these programs.

The purpose of this Research Topic is to expand the knowledge base about dual language education, not just as a pedagogical practice but also as a theory-building field within the broader discipline of bilingual education. Ideological clarity in dual language education should drive implementation and decision-making in classrooms, schools, and districts as well as inform research and theory. This Research Topic is particularly timely given the high level of interest and rapid expansion of dual language programs, that therefore calls for increasing the body of research in this area. We welcome articles that include: original research (qualitative, quantitative, or mixed-methods); theoretical or policy analysis; metanalysis; and reviews.


Keywords: Dual language education, multilingualism, biliteracy


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

In the past decades, interest in dual language education from policy makers, educators, and families has increased dramatically worldwide. In the United States, statewide initiatives to increase dual language programs, such as Utah, Delaware, Rhode Island and North Carolina to name a few, have paved the way for largescale program expansion. New advances in the field have included significant growth of teacher-preparation programs that focus on preparing candidates to be dual language teachers, as well as the inception of bilingual and dual language universities. The Seal of Biliteracy, another recent phenomenon, has been legislated into law in 36 states and the District of Columbia in a short nine years since California first legislated it in 2011. This is a rapid and impressive development, reflective not only of a nationwide recognition that multilingualism and biliteracy are assets, but also of a collective desire to increase opportunities for PK-12 students to develop bilingual, biliterate, and multicultural competencies. The genesis for many of these advances stem from both the increasingly linguistic and culturally diverse student population in schools, as well as the growing national and international need for a multilingual and multiliterate workforce.

Dual language education, when well implemented, offers the academic, linguistic and cultural long-term platform needed for students to develop biliteracy, achieve academically, and acquire multicultural competencies. However, as with other popular educational trends, dual language programming is not without its pitfalls some of which include large-scale expansion that does not take into account institutionalized English-oriented instructional and assessment policies, student and teacher demographics, and lack of appropriate planning to name a few. Instructional decisions about the intersection of the two languages, use and validation of language varieties/dialects, and language allocation policies are sometimes premised on lack of knowledge or outdated beliefs. In addition, what some have called the ‘gentrification of dual language education” that cater to middle-class white English-speaking students, poses serious concerns about access, equity and inclusion for low income language minority students in these programs.

The purpose of this Research Topic is to expand the knowledge base about dual language education, not just as a pedagogical practice but also as a theory-building field within the broader discipline of bilingual education. Ideological clarity in dual language education should drive implementation and decision-making in classrooms, schools, and districts as well as inform research and theory. This Research Topic is particularly timely given the high level of interest and rapid expansion of dual language programs, that therefore calls for increasing the body of research in this area. We welcome articles that include: original research (qualitative, quantitative, or mixed-methods); theoretical or policy analysis; metanalysis; and reviews.


Keywords: Dual language education, multilingualism, biliteracy


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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Submission Deadlines

16 August 2020 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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Topic Editors

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Submission Deadlines

16 August 2020 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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