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Maintenance/Developmental: Maintenance bilingual programs are designed to preserve and enhance a student’s native language while the student acquires a second language, English. The National Research Council has recently released a report (1997) on the state of research on language minority students. This report indicates that students with a strong backgroundin their home language are likely to develop higher levels of proficiency in English than those who do not have such a primary language advantage (August & Hakuta, 1997). While home language instruction assists the acquisition of English, the maintenance models emphasize fluency in both languages in school, as well as biliteracy and academic excellence. Maintenance programs are additive and basedon an enrichment model, which allows students to fully engage and participate in the instruction, as opposed to merely being exposed to it. Maintenance programs are organized in a homogenous group of students; i.e., all students have the same home language (Ovando & Collier, 1985). The emphasis is to continue native language instruction through 6th grade, at a minimum, and hopefully into secondarygrade levels. A late exit is an integral part of the maintenance program.


The maintenance model is recommended for English language learners due to its following strengths.

• Offers sociocultural benefits for language minority students. A well-implemented maintenance program provides non-English-speaking minorities with an equal educational opportunity (Crawford, 1999) byallowing them to develop and sustain their native language. The entire school community reinforces the home language as well as English.

• Cognitive–academic language proficiency is developed. Academic English is typically acquired over a period of five to seven years (Cummins, 1989), and it is made more comprehensible by using home language instruction. Contextual knowledge in the home languageaids in understanding in the second language (Krashen, 1996). Early reading acquisition in English is facilitated when a student is aware of the phonemic structure of their home language (Genesee, 1993), thus a strong ability in the native language helps support second language acquisition.

• Continued development in two languages. It is a fallacy that bilingualism handicaps children. In fact,research has shown that bilingualism provides endless cognitive advantages (Hakuta and Snow, 1986). In developing both languages, students are able to take advantage of positive transfer between native and second language development (Genesee, 1993).

• Students receive substantial language support in their native language. By supporting instruction in the native language initially andthroughout cognitive development, the learning process and success in the second language is amply facilitated and nurtured. It is much easier, as Krashen (1996) explains, to learn and to read in a language the student already understands. Once the student can read in his/her native language, for example, he/she can learn to read in other languages because literacy transfers to other languages. It is animportant aspect that academic outcomes are produced by the interaction of both developmental and instructional variables. 6 Bilingual Research Journal, 23:1 Winter 1999

Maintenance Bilingual Education:

Maintenance bilingual programs differ significantly from the previous models in both goals and outcomes. In maintenance programs, the learners aretransitioned into English content classes, and are given support in their first language, as in transitional programs. However, they also receive language arts in their native language, enabling them to become literate in that language, and they continue to receive content area classes in their first language as well, so that they become literate in both languages. The goal of maintenance bilingual...