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Urgent Research Questions and Issues in Dual Language Education 2009Urgent Research Questions and Issues in Dual Language Education

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Urgent Research Questions and Issues in Dual Language Education

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Nearly 40 dual language education researchers from around the United States met in Santa Fe, NM on November 11-12, 2008 to define the most urgent research questions and issues in dual language education.

For further questions or information requests, please contact:

Jay Parkes, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Educational Psychology
120 Simpson Hall
MSC05 3040
1 University of New Mexico
Albuquerque, NM 87131-1246
Phone: (505) 277-3320
Fax: (505) 277-8361
e-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

The group articulated that dual language enrichment programs exist for students of all language backgrounds, not only or primarily for English Language Learners, and they need to focus not simply on language proficiency but on appropriate educational and social justice opportunities for all students. The group also recognized the need for advocacy and research for programs from early childhood through high school and on to post-secondary and graduate levels (thus, from Preschool through college, grades P-20). One high priority area requiring particular focus is dual language teachers and administrators and the academic programs that prepare them.

Convocation participants recognized the need for a stronger community of dual language education researchers and a more elaborate infrastructure for dual language research. The community could be strengthened by more collaboration between researchers and practitioners, more interdisciplinary collaboration among researchers, and more opportunities for researchers to come together to share findings and ideas, such as through this convocation. In order to move the research agenda forward, it is necessary to have agreement on essential terminology, and in particular, common definitions for widely used constructs (e.g. the designation of English Language Learner). In addition, it would be useful to develop stronger theoretical frameworks, conduct additional literature reviews and meta-analyses, identify more funding and funding sources for dual language research, and include a teacher research component in the preparation of dual language researchers.

Research questions were developed in six broad areas during breakout working groups. A great many research questions and research topics in each area were discussed, and prioritization of these research topics will continue in the coming months. The table below provides examples of overarching questions from each area.

 

Area or broad research topic

One research question from each area

Biliteracy Development

What is the long-term effect of simultaneous v. sequential biliteracy development on levels of biliteracy achievement across the curriculum in pre-K to grade 12?

Political Climate

In relation to the politics of language and educational policy: What national, state, and local policies are effectively shaping P-20 dual language education and educational programming and practices at the local level in the US, and around the world?

The Cross-Cultural Goal

What is cross-cultural competence (knowledge of culture, attitudes, identity), how do we measure it, and how do we integrate this competence in the curriculum?

Peer Interaction

How does peer interaction differ among various groups (ethnicity, language background, SES, gender, etc.), across different configurations (L1, L2, integrated groups), and different contexts (elementary, MS, HS, cafeteria, playground, classroom, instructional)?

Special Needs Students in Dual Language

For whom, in what contexts, and under what kinds of circumstances is dual language not appropriate? How well do assessments and interventions meet the language and learning needs of various sub-groups of dual language students, and how may they need to vary across program models?

Program Demographics

Dual Language programs serve many different kinds of students, families and communities. Some programs serve primarily ELLs; others serve ELLs and non-ELLs; sometimes student homogeneity/heterogeneity comes in terms of class or ethnicity or race. What research needs to be done on the role demographics play in the success of a dual language program?