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Authentic Language Opportunities: An Alternative Dual Language Model (ADLM).

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This paper addresses an important topic--the isolation and or lack of inclusion of immigrant children in U.S. schools. Immigrant children constantly pour into U.S. schools and, especially as newcomers, their opportunities for authentic interaction with mainstream peers are limited. How can schools provide authentic language opportunities for linguistically different peers? What else can schools do to tap immigrant students as resources for language learning and cross-cultural education? It details the study of language practice between adolescent Spanish Learners and English Learners who participated in an alternative dual language program at a middle school. Three dyads of English Learners and Spanish Learners met once a week for two months to practice language. The participants practiced in Spanish for thirty minutes and then English for thirty minutes and rotated the languages weekly. Journal entries, interviews, audio- and videotapes of peer interaction were triangulated to explore emerging themes. The study revealed how the participants went through various stages of Language Apprehension, Language Initiation, and Language Acquisition during peer interaction as they built their confidence and language skills. Additionally, students preferred to play games than attempt conversations, conversations unfolded around personal, familial and social topics, dyads in proximity to one another influenced the activities they chose to do, regrouping of dyads caused disruptions, and students used a variety of strategies to negotiate meaning. Most importantly, the alternative dual language program empowered students as they became guides and teachers, exchanging ideas through language as well as developing friendships and pride in their native languages. Educators need to take a serious look at the alternative dual language model (ADLM) and how it may provide a venue for promoting not only language and cultural sharing but inclusion. (Contains 5 tables.)

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Article Details
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Author:Winstead, Lisa
Publication:ERIC: Reports
Article Type:Author abstract
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Apr 9, 2006
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