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Dual-Language Instruction

Academics at St. Procopius School are centered on our unique dual-language (English and Spanish), Catholic method of instruction.  The fundamental principle of our two-way-immersion dual-language program is that the core curriculum is taught in two languages to both native Spanish speakers and native English speakers.  In its pre-kindergarten programs, St. Procopius uses a 90/10 Spanish/English instructional split between languages, gradually incorporating more English instruction until an even split between English and Spanish is reached in the third grade.

In a dual-language instructional setting, there are no translations, nor are lessons repeated in the other language; each subject area for a given grade is taught solely in one language or the other.   As well, the concept of dual-language instruction does not involve Spanish being taught as a second (or foreign) language; rather, both English and Spanish alternate as primary languages of instruction in all subject areas.  Dual-language instruction is performed best by the use of language-arts-driven thematic concepts as an engine for learning—rather than the use of traditional, textbook-driven methods of instruction.  In order to expose students to the necessary vocabulary for any concept taught in either language, teachers end each unit of study with a “bridging” lesson. During this time, the teacher (or a team of teachers) will assist the students in bridging, which involves transferring the learned concepts and vocabulary from one language to the other. In this way, students construct knowledge about a given topic in both languages.

The benefits of dual-language instruction are numerous and have been well documented.  Students in dual-language programs whose primary language is Spanish demonstrate increased abilities not only in improving their proficiency in Spanish but also in developing the foundation for proficiency in English.  Conversely, students whose primary language is English develop cognitively and linguistically in ways that monolingual students may not due to the fact that they are augmenting their skills in basic language development by being immersed in Spanish-language instruction.

As a result of the language-structure skills developed by nurturing bilingualism and bi-literacy, students in dual-language programs have been shown to outpace monolingual students on tasks that call for divergent thinking, pattern recognition, and problem-solving.  Additionally, dual-language environments allow for the respect, preservation, and nurturing of multiple cultural heritages, with an emphasis on preparing students for not only accepting but embracing cultural diversity when they encounter it.

St. Procopius School is dedicated to providing dual-language instruction based in the Catholic faith.  We offer students and parents alike a singular educational experience that cannot be found anywhere else in the Chicago area.

Source Notes:

Cloud, Nancy, Fred Genesee and Else Hamayan, Dual Language Instruction: A Handbook for Enriched Education, Boston: Heinle, Cengage Learning, 2000

Collier, Virginia P. and Wayne P. Thomas, “The Astounding Effectiveness of Dual Language Education for All,” National Association for Bilingual Education Journal of Research and Practice, Vol. 2, No. 1 (Winter 2004): pp. 1-20