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October 2003 | Volume 61 | Number 2
Teaching All Students Pages 61-64

The Multiple Benefits of Dual Language

Wayne P. Thomas and Virginia P. Collier

Dual-language programs educate both English learners and native English speakers without incurring extra costs.

During the past 10 years of conducting research on English language programs and school effectiveness, we have discovered the key to the successful future of U.S. education: meaningful, grade-level, and accelerated instruction in two languages—English and another language spoken in the school community—throughout the school years.

In many states—especially in Texas, New Mexico, New York, California, Illinois, and the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area—active dual-language programs are providing win-win advantages for all students. English learners have an opportunity to make faster-than-average progress on grade-level instruction that is not watered down. Native English speakers who are already on grade level can exceed the achievement of their monolingually educated peers. And through the cognitive stimulus of schooling in two languages, which leads to enhanced creativity and analytical thinking, native English speakers who are lagging behind academically receive the accelerated instruction necessary to close the achievement gap. All student groups in dual-language classes benefit from meaningful, challenging, and accelerated—not remedial—instruction (Baker, 2001).


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