Yet two-way immersion instruction is not just an investment in these students' futures. It is also a link to their past. Many of our students come from households where Spanish or Mandarin was (and perhaps still is) frequently spoken. By helping these students to become bilingual and biliterate, the TWIN program is simultaneously connecting students to their heritage as well, linking them to their ancestors in meaningful ways. For we know that languages are outward expressions of cultures, belief systems, and values. Learning to conjugate verbs in Spanish or learning how to draw characters in Mandarin is more than language instruction. It is connecting students to who they are.
To learn more about two-way immersion and heritage languages, explore the website for the Alliance for the Advancement of Heritage Languages, supported by the Center for Applied Linguistics (CAL): http://www.cal.org/heritage/
-Mary Bridget Burns