LA 5.2: Worksheet - Program Model Summary 3


In these programs, the target language is used for most instruction and there is no explicit ESL instruction. Essential features are linguistically homogeneous classes, bilingual teachers, content area instruction in L2, with L2 acquired through authentic and meaningful interaction.

Student Population

Relationship to School

Exposure to English Speakers

Students are from the same homogeneous L1 background. In the U.S., students are usually from immigrant and non-middle class families without full development of L1. (In Canada, they come from middle class backgrounds—findings across the countries cannot be compared.) Teachers and the non-native speakers in the program provide models of L2 use. Sometimes L1 is not allowed in the classroom.

Teacher Population

The teacher is bilingual (or at least has receptive skills in L1 of students) and has a bilingual or ESL teaching credential. Teachers understand and value the students’ L1, but teach and respond to students in L2. Content must be made concrete. (Sometimes teachers structure these programs more like sheltered English programs.)


Instructional Costs

These programs require at least one bilingual teacher credentialed in ESL. They may require simplified subject matter.

Program Length

These programs usually last through elementary school.

Linguistic Emphasis

(L1=primary language, L2=English)

Theories of Language Learning

Native Language Support

These programs are based on the theory that the process of acquiring L1 and L2 are similar and language is learned when used for authentic purposes. Initial learning need not occur in L1 as long as L2 is comprehensible. Teachers understand and accept the students’ L1 but teach in and respond in the target language.

Academic Emphasis

Content and Language

Teachers use content to teach language and language to teach content.

Sociocultural Emphasis

C1=1st Culture

C2=2nd Culture

In theory, this program model adheres to a pluralistic concept of language and culture. Since L2 is the language of instruction and the use of L1 is discouraged, students may perceive their own language as less.

Cognitive Emphasis

Students learn academic content and social language in L2.

% of Achievement Gap Closed by End of Schooling

(based on data-analytic research)

In the United States, the program often results in negative academic and self-esteem progress. In fact, students may be 2 to 3 grade levels below their peers in academic performance in partial immersion programs.