Dual Language

AGC offers a two-way immersion Dual Language Program for students of different linguistic backgrounds. At AGC, all students —regardless of what language they speak at home— learn in two languages: English and Spanish.

Program Goals

  • Bilingualism and biliteracy for all

  • Development and maintenance of Spanish and English proficiency in listening, speaking, reading and writing

  • High academic achievement in content areas in both languages

  • Cross-cultural understanding & sociocultural competence

  • Development of linguistic metacognition as a language learner through translanguaging and the exploration of IB traits

Language is complex, and everybody’s journey in learning a new language is different. Below is an overview of AGC’s Dual Language Program per village.

Dual Language in Early Childhood

(Ages 3–5) — 90/10 Model

AGC preschoolers get immersed in the Spanish language in a 90/10 model. Teachers provide developmentally, culturally, and linguistically appropriate learning experiences to engage students through play and exploration, and it is through this immersion that students start learning and engaging in both languages. The emphasis is on oral language and listening skills, as well as being exposed to the basics of literacy in two languages. Earlier on, students recognize bilingualism and bi-literacy as a strength. Students start to develop their identity not only as language learners, but also as bilingual learners

While we model a strict separation of languages and we encourage and support students to be risk-takers and engage in a second language.

Dual Language in K–1

(Ages 5–7) — 80/20 Model

The focus continues to be on developing a healthy attitude towards learning a new language, as well as developing literacy skills in both languages so students can engage in all content areas. We continue to nurture and celebrate the joy of being in a bilingual setting, and how we can all learn from each other. Students are encouraged to participate in both languages.

The approach to language and literacy is differentiated. Younger students and students with lower Spanish proficiency are exposed to more developed language models and engage to the best of their abilities in oral language activities. They receive ample exposure to the language as they engage in activities like poems, books, songs, games and different opportunities to explore bi-literacy in different ways. We expose children to comparing and contrasting two languages through formal bridges (basic linguistics) and translanguaging conversations.

Older students or students with more advanced proficiency in Spanish have individual growth goals, and receive small group instruction in both languages. They now have an understanding of the language, and they are expected to participate in structured activities to use it. Teachers facilitate the development of metalinguistic skills to help students access both languages. All students engage in reading and writing in both languages. Emphasis is placed on syntax and vocabulary development through bridging and practice of the Dictado.

Dual Language in 2–3

(Ages 7–9) — 60/40 Model

All best practices from previous years continue, but additionally students learn to be “word detectives” independently. They learn skills that will help them figure out new words (cognates, prefixes, suffixes, etc.) and learn to look up words in dictionaries and thesauruses(online and paper) and keep a vocabulary log/journal. Students continue to learn more communication skills, learn more vocabulary, and start reading and writing simple longer Spanish texts. Emphasis is placed on syntax and grammar through bridging and practice of the Dictado. As language becomes more sophisticated, students need more encouragement to utilize Spanish in small and whole group settings. This leads to more strict expectations of holding a space in one language during instruction and work time.

Dual Language in Grades 4 and Above

50/50 Model

Language allocation is divided by subject in different units, maintaining that 50/50 balance. Students engage in the dual language experience in a more independent way. Independent translanguaging activities take place more often. Students engage in being word detectives and grammar is actively taught.

Students in 5th and 8th grade take the Chicago Public Schools Seal for Biliteracy Test. The State for Biliteracy is a recognition given by the district to students who have demonstrated a high level of proficiency in reading, writing, listening and speaking in a language other than English.