A Humanizing Dual Language Immersion Education

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.

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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).

PART 1: Being Human, Being Bilingual—A Human Right to Language

1 Language as a Human Right
 Human Rights and Language
 Where Are We Now?
 Linguistic Human Rights in Education
2 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
3 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

4 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
5 Sustenance
 A Humanizing Dual Language Immersion Pedagogy
 Dli Teachers
6 Imaginings
 Bilingual Youth Epistemology
 Language, Identity, and Culture in Flux
 Imaginings with and by Plurilingual Youth
7 Conclusion


All concerned with bilingual education policy for linguistic minorities, and anyone interested in the interplay between bilingual education for children and linguistic human rights.