Resources for Educators - Blog

Jun 02
[Issue #7] 3 Tips to support Dual Language production in a Distance Learning Environment Written by Deedy Camarena

​​As we find ourselves in this distance learning environment, dual language educators need to continue with strong partner language support.  As research validates that students in dual language programs have consistently higher test scores than their English only counterparts,1-2 we need to continue our implementation of partner language instruction to strengthen their bilingualism. To support our dual language students while engaging in distance learning, here are three tips to consider.

Tip #1:  Stick with your language allocation plan:  Continue with your language allocation model.  If your model is a 90/10 model, then continue with that progression.  If 10% of your time is in English, and 90% is in Spanish, be consistent with the model in your instruction.  Keep this allocation of time in mind as you are designing your lessons.  Consider utilizing the resources students have at home, including parents and siblings.  This will help connect them with their families by practicing cross-linguistic transfer and building upon their assets, as supported by the EL Roadmap Principal 13.  Additionally, adding the Culturally and Linguistically Responsive and Equity lenses validate what the students bring to the table. 

Tip #2:  Amplify the partner language:  Students need consistent and continual practice to develop and grow in the partner language.  TV shows, videos, radio and podcasts are all resources that can be utilized to hear the partner language in an authentic context. An anticipation guide or a graphic organizer could be paired with these resources in addition to a synchronous follow up.  As you design lessons, use an equity lens, as not all students have the same access or time to spend on each assignment.  Dr. Jose Medina states “What will need to change is the way we lesson plan to serve emergent bilingual students, who now all have interrupted formal schooling, ... Only in this way, will we be able to effectively meet students' needs, regardless of any obstacles resulting from the COVID-19 school closures."4.

Tip #3: Provide many opportunities for input and conversation:  In order to provide input and conversation in the target language, students need a platform that allows for two-way communication.  Google Meet, Zoom and Skype are all free platforms readily used amongst educators.  However, it's never about the tool, it's how it's used for learning.  Planning for input and conversation is a must.  Some questions you may want to consider are: What is the best resource for input for the task at hand?  What do you want your students to produce?  Do you have protocols in place for effective and equitable two-way communication?  How will you assess them? How will you relay feedback?  Additionally, you may want to include opportunities to ask open-ended questions, assigning conversation buddies such as a community member that speaks the partner language, or the utilization of Flipgrid in order for the students to hear themselves speak, and respond to a classmates' Flipgrid post5.


1. Edutopia. The Dual Immersion Solution.  November 16, 2018.  Accessed May 28, 2020.

2.  Study of Dual-Language Immersion in the Portland Public Schools Year 4 Briefing: November 2015. Published November, 2015.  Accessed May 28, 2020.

3.  California Department of Education.  California EL Roadmap.  Publication date unavailable.  Accessed May 28, 2020.

4.  Education Dive. Dual language teachers try to 'stay the course' separated from classrooms.  Published April 15, 2020.  Accessed May 28, 2020

5.  Language Castle.  Fast 5 Gamechangers Empower DLLs With Conversations!  Publication date unavailable.  Accessed May 28, 2020. 


There are no comments for this post.