Research Proposal – Bilingualism: two-way immersion

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Research Question: What are the long-term effects of two-way bilingual immersion programs and how have schools implemented different variations of the model?

Relevance: Bilingual education is a controversial topic in the field of education. Today, schools are flooded with students that have limited English proficiency. In many cases, these students receive little assistance from schools when learning English and are forced lose a part of their heritage when their primary language is suppressed. Two-way bilingual immersion programs integrate native English speakers and native speakers of a different language for academic instruction through both languages. Unlike ESL where only language minority students are learning the dominant language, the programs designed by this model are options that benefit both language minority and language majority students. I am interested in researching what are the long-term effects and how do individual programs in different schools implement this model in their curriculum. Although studies have been conducted that examine the effectiveness of this model, many two-way immersion practitioners struggle with which approaches that are most beneficial. This topic sparked my interest because although I am bilingual, in my opinion bilingualism is looked down upon. I believe implementing bilingual education using the two-way immersion model in school’s curriculum will help produce better citizens for our society.

Research Strategy The main component of my research strategy was using two online databases: Google Scholar and Trinity Online Resources. First, I began my search using Google Scholar. I searched phrases such as “two-way immersion” and “two-way immersion bilingual program.” While reading the abstract of several articles, I decided it will be helpful to use articles that discussed the two-way immersion model itself so that I can get a better understanding of it and its goals. Then, I began to come across articles that focused on individual programs designed using this model which inspired me to look at a variety programs in different contexts and compare and contrast their approaches. When using Trinity Online Resources, I searched the same phrases in addition to “two-way immersion AND kindergarten,” “two-way immersion AND elementary,” “two-way immersion AND history,” and “two-way immersion AND change.” Searching these phrases gave me limited or no resources to look at.  Using Trinity Online Resources, I came across the book Realizing the Vision of Two-Way Immersion: Fostering Effective Programs and Classrooms. Because I am interested in using this book, I clicked on a link which directed me to the Center for Applied Linguistics and there found another potential source, Profiles in Two-Way Immersion Education. On the website, access to both books requires a fee and Trinity College does not have a copy in the library. If these sources are appropriate for my research, are there any other ways to have access to these books?



Alanís, Iliana. “A Texas Two-way Bilingual Program: Its Effects on Linguistic and Academic Achievement.” Bilingual Research Journal 24, no. 3 (2000): 225–248.

  • This article is a study that “examines a variety of student outcomes in the area of linguistic and academic development and determines whether students enrolled in a two-way bilingual program for a minimum of three years are achieving academically.”

Barnett, W. Steven, Donald J. Yarosz, Jessica Thomas, Kwanghee Jung, and Dulce Blanco. “Two-way and Monolingual English Immersion in Preschool Education: An Experimental Comparison.” Early Childhood Research Quarterly 22, no. 3 (January 3, 2007): 277–293.

  • This article discusses an “experimental study that conducted comparing the effects of dual language, or two-way immersion (TWI) and monolingual English immersion (EI) preschool education programs on children’s learning.”

Cazabon, Mary, and Wallace E. Lambert. “Two-Way Bilingual Education: A Progress Report on the Amigos Program” (January 1, 1993).

  • “This report describes research that was conducted on the achievement in mathematics and in Spanish and English language arts of Amigos (Amigos two-way bilingual education program) students and students in control/comparison groups.

Christian, Donna. “Two‐Way Immersion Education: Students Learning Through Two Languages.” The Modern Language Journal 80, no. 1 (March 1, 1996): 66–76.

  • This article discusses the current state of two-way immersion programs in the United States through a study of over 160 schools between 1991 and 1994.

Christian, Donna, Christopher L. Montone, Kathryn J. Lindholm, and Isolda Carranza. Profiles in Two-Way Immersion Education. Delta Publishing Company, 1997.

  • “This volume begins the process of documenting that experience by profiling two-way immersion programs in three schools that are implementing different variations of the model.”

Howard, Elizabeth R., and Julie Sugarman. Realizing the Vision of Two-Way Immersion: Fostering Effective Programs and Classrooms. Center for Applied Linguistics and Delta Publishing Company, 2007.

  • “Drawing on a decade of research, this book explores the question of effectiveness in two-way immersion by examining the development of bilingualism and biliteracy in elementary TWI students.”

Lindholm-Leary, Kathryn J. “The Rich Promise of Two-Way Immersion.” Educational Leadership 62, no. 4: 56–59.

  • This article discusses the benefits of two-way bilingual immersion programs and how they give students’ academic confidence and broader cultural awareness.

Senesac, Barbara V. Kirk. “Two-Way Bilingual Immersion: A Portrait of Quality Schooling.” Bilingual Research Journal 26, no. 1 (2002).

  • This article discusses two-way immersion programs in the context of the Inter-American Magnet School in Chicago.

3 thoughts on “Research Proposal – Bilingualism: two-way immersion”

  1. Good research question, but consider flipping the order: different implementation models, then long-term effects.

    Keep the focus on two-way, but consider expanding your question slightly to incorporate a few essential pieces to tell coherent story to readers about two-way bilingual ed, since it stands apart from ESL as well as “transitional bilingual” and “maintenance bilingual.” For example, some background questions:

    a) Do you know when & how two-way programs originated?
    see Crawford

    b) How has state or federal funding for two-way programs changed over time?
    look in EdWeek during the Clinton administration (1992-2000)

    c) Where do these types of programs thrive? (anything more recent than the Christian 1996 study? See Ed Week again).

    d) Did these programs peak in 1990s, or are they still growing in number? (connect to funding)

    Long-term effects may be easier to research since several studies focus on this. As we discussed, I like your approach to compiling all of the case studies of specific programs to yield a better understanding of what factors appear to be most influential for success.

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