In every corner of the world, children are learning languages at home that differ from the dominant language used in their broader social world. These children arrive at school with a precious resource: their mother tongue. In the face of this resource and the possibility for biliteracy, majority language educational programs do nothing to support primary language competence. To counter monolingual education, there are significant albeit few initiatives around the world that provide formal support for children to continue to develop competence in their mother tongue, while also learning an additional language or languages. One such initiative is dual language immersion education (DLI).
Interestingly, most (if not all) research on DLI programs focus on the effectiveness of bilingual education vis-à-vis academic access and achievement. The ideologies embedded in the research and guidelines for DLI education, albeit necessary and critical during the early days of DLI schooling, are disconnected from the present realities, epistemologies, and humanness of our bilingual youth.
A Humanizing Dual Language Immersion Education envisions a framework informed by bilingual teachers and students who support biliteracy as a human right. Positioning bilingual education under a human rights framework addresses the basic right of our bi/multilingual youth to human dignity. Respect for the languages of persons belonging to different linguistic communities is essential for a just and democratic society. Given the centrality of language to our sense of who we are and where we fit in the broader world, a connection between linguistic human rights and bilingual education is essential.
Yvette V. Lapayese, Ph.D. (2003), University of California Los Angeles (UCLA), is Professor of Education at Loyola Marymount University. She has published several articles, book chapters and books, including
Mother Scholar: (Re)Imagining K-12 Education (Sense, 2012).
Table of contents
PART 1: Being Human, Being Bilingual—A Human Right to Language
Language as a Human Right Human Rights and Language
Where Are We Now?
Linguistic Human Rights in Education
Language Rights in the United States The U.S. Approach to Language Rights
The Dismantling of Bilingual Rights and Education in the United States
The Case of California
Building the Bridge: Bilingual Education and Linguistic Human Rights in the United States
Bilingual Education as a Human Right: The Case of Dual Language Immersion Education Being Bilingual, Being Human
The History of Dual Language Immersion Education
The Development of Dual Language Programs
Limitations of Dual Language Programs
PART 2: A Humanizing Dual Language Immersion Education
Intentionality We Promote, Validate, and Utilize the Wisdom That Bilingual Children Bring with Them
We Safeguard the Education of Linguistic Minoritized Youth
We Honor the Dignity of Bilingual Children
A Humanizing Dual Language Immersion Pedagogy
Imaginings Bilingual Youth Epistemology
Language, Identity, and Culture in Flux
Imaginings with and by Plurilingual Youth
All concerned with bilingual education policy for linguistic minorities, and anyone interested in the interplay between bilingual education for children and linguistic human rights.