dual language

Fall 2016, Spanish 594 (Special Topics):
Dual language programs:
Linguistic and educational outcomes

Th 5:00-8:00, Stevenson Hall 115

Professor Kim Potowski


            This course explores issues in the bilingual and biliteracy development of three kinds of elementary school children in the U.S.:

(1) Spanish-speaking children acquiring English in school (“English Language Learners” or ELLs);

(2) Children exposed to English and Spanish from birth (cases of bilingual first language acquisition or BFLA); and

(3) English-speaking children learning Spanish as a second language in school.

           First, we explore the program models that exist for these learners and what research shows about the linguistic and academic outcomes of each model. Then, we focus on the program type called dual immersion. After reading about these programs and visiting a local dual immersion classroom, we examine in detail a multi-grade corpus from a Chicago K-8 dual immersion school and compare the Spanish features of three groups of students: (1) Latina/o heritage speakers (ELL and BFLA) attending the dual language track; (2) Second language Spanish learners in the same dual language track; and (3) Latina/o heritage Spanish speakers (ELL or  BFLA) enrolled in the English track. Seminar participants will complete a final project evaluating a particular aspect of the Spanish production of children in the corpus.


Course taught in English, but knowledge of oral and written Spanish required.


Dr. Kathy Escamilla, University of Colorado.
International expert on Bilingual and Bicultural Education, Equity-Minded Reform,
Literacy, Multicultural Education, Urban Education.



Required readings

Flores, Nelson. (2016). Bilingualism has cognitive benefits unless you are Latinx. https://educationallinguist.wordpress.com/2016/07/11/bilingualism-has-cognitive-benefits-unless-you-are-latinx/

Gámez, P. & Levine, S. (2013). Oral language skills of Spanish-speaking English language learners: The impact of high-quality native language exposure. Applied Psycholinguistics, 34, 673-696. Available on course Blackboard site.

Lindholm-Leary, K. (2001). Dual language education. Clevedon, UK: Multilingual Matters. Chapter 1 (“Language education programs and politics”), Chapter 9 (“Oral language proficiency”), Chapter 10 (“Reading proficiency”). Full text available online, UIC library.

Lindholm-Leary, K. (2013). Bilingual and biliteracy skills in young Spanish-speaking low-SES children: Impact of instructional language and primary language proficiency. International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism, DOI: 10.1080/13670050.2013.866625. Available on course Blackboard site.

Murphy, V. (2014). Second language learning in the early school years: Trends and contexts. Oxford. Chapter 5, “Majority language learners: Immersion education.” Available on course Blackboard site.

Potowski, K. (2007). Language and identity in a dual immersion school. Clevedon, UK: Multilingual Matters. Chapter 2, “Immersion classroom research,” pp. 7-19 only. Available on course Blackboard site.

Serrano, R. & Howard, E. (2003). Maintaining Spanish proficiency in the United States: The influence of English on the Spanish writing of native Spanish speakers in two-way immersion programs. In L. Sayahi (Ed.), Selected proceedings of the first workshop on Spanish sociolinguistics (77-88). Somerville, MA: Cascadilla Proceedings Project. Available on course Blackboard site.

Soltero-Gonzalez, L. Escamilla, K. & Hopewell, S. (2012). Changing teachers’ perceptions about the writing abilities of emerging bilingual students: Towards a holistic bilingual perspective on writing assessment. International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism, 15 (1), 71-94. Available on course Blackboard site.


Optional readings

Fortune, T. (2010). Struggling learners and language immersion education. The University of Minnesota. Available on course Blackboard site.

Montrul, S. & Potowski, K. (2007). Command of gender agreement in school-age Spanish-English Bilingual Children. International Journal of Bilingualism, 11 (3), 301-328.

Murphy, V., Macaro, E., Alba, S. & Cipolla, C. (2014). The influence of learning a second language in primary school on developing first language literacy skills. Applied Psycholinguistics, 36 (5), 1133-1153.

Potowski, K. (2005).  Tense and aspect in the oral and written narratives of dual immersion students.  In D. Eddington (Ed.), Refereed proceedings of the Seventh Hispanic Linguistics Symposium (123-136). Somerville, MA: Cascadilla.

Potowski, K. (2009). Forms and functions of code-switching by dual immersion students: A comparison of heritage speaker and L2 children. In M. Turnbull & Miles & J. Dailey-O’Cain (Eds.), First Language Use in Second and Foreign Language Learning (87-114). Bristol, UK: Multilingual Matters.