The Implementation of Two-Way Immersion Programs

Kara Jankowski


As society becomes more global, educators are searching for models of education that provide students with the ability to be competitive in the global marketplace. Bilingual education offers students the opportunity to learn two languages while maintaining student achievement in other content areas. One option of bilingual education is called two-way immersion (TWI) programs. TWI classrooms are comprised of students who are native speakers of two different languages. Together, these students communicate in both languages, while receiving instruction in both languages as well. These programs have been shown to be effective in teaching two languages without lowering student achievement. Bilingual education also takes advantage of children’s natural ability to acquire language. Being exposed to language at a young age is much easier than learning another language after the age of ten. TWI programs in elementary schools provide the language learning supports needed to become bilingual without detriment to other areas of content learning.

Now, the question that remains is the feasibility of implementing these programs in the United States. Societal attitudes, budget concerns and the availability of qualified teachers could pose to be challenges for TWI programs to expand. By examining these possible challenges through qualitative research, the researcher compiles evidence indicating whether or not TWI programs can be implemented practically. With this understanding, policy makers and educators can decide to implement and fund more TWI programs in the United States.