HoLa uses Two-Way Immersion (90-10 approach) to provide a traditional core curriculum through instruction in both Spanish and English, with a range of opportunities for creative expression and experiential learning. Teachers in immersion classrooms utilize a variety of innovative strategies to facilitate comprehension and communication, integrate linguistic and academic content within a single lesson, and differentiate instruction.
Two-Way Immersion (TWI)
Considered the most effective model of dual language education, TWI brings native Spanish-speakers and non-Spanish-speakers together with the goal, for all students, of achieving academic excellence while becoming bilingual and biliterate. Students acquire knowledge and skills in all core content areas through instruction in both languages, with the added benefits associated with learning a second language at a young age. HoLa implements TWI following the 90-10 approach.
90-10 is the approach to dual language classroom instruction that has demonstrated the highest levels of academic achievement and linguistic development for both native Spanish-speakers and English-speakers alike. 90-10 refers to the proportion of time teachers utilize Spanish vs. English as the language of instruction (90% Spanish / 10% English). HoLa will utilize a graduated 90-10 approach, whereby the majority of instruction (90%) will take place in Spanish for grades K and 1, with the ratio gradually tapering to 50% English and 50% Spanish in grades 4 and 5. (The exact breakdown is 90-10 for K and 1st grade; 80-20 for 2nd grade; 60-40 for 3rd grade; and 50-50 for 4th and 5th grades.)
HoLa students will:
• Develop high levels of verbal and written proficiency in both Spanish and English
• Achieve grade level (or above) academic performance and mastery of core content across all subject areas, in both Spanish and English
• Take advantage of the optimal window for learning a second language
• Benefit from an academic and competitive edge in continued education and the workplace
• Reap the many cognitive, academic and social benefits of bilingualism and biliteracy
• Develop positive cross-cultural attitudes and behaviors
HoLa students are required to take the same standardized achievement tests as students in the Hoboken Public Schools and other districts across the state, along with program–specific measures of academic achievement and linguistic development.
The HoLa program is fundamentally academic, and addresses the same New Jersey Core Curriculum Standards as all public schools in NJ. Bilingualism is a key goal that will result from specific teaching strategies in an immersion setting. The language component does not replace instructional time; rather, academic content is delivered primarily in Spanish in the early years so that language is a tool of instruction, not a subject in and of itself. Teachers will all be trained and certified in dual language education and will have mastered the classroom strategies that have proven effective in immersion settings. Language lessons are incorporated intrinsically into content throughout the day and strategies facilitate communication and understanding even when students are first exposed to a second language—but none of this is at the expense of academic content (rather, they are complementary). Differentiation of instruction is key in any classroom, but especially so in dual language classrooms. Immersion classrooms are rich, dynamic learning environments where students are challenged and stimulated on many levels: cognitively, academically, creatively and linguistically.
Both English- and Spanish-speakers perform at comparable or superior levels compared to same-language peers in other educational settings. On norm-referenced standardized tests of reading and math achievement in English, native English-speakers outscore their peers in English-only classrooms. English language learners who learn English in a TWI program score significantly higher than their English language learning peers in other kinds of programs and also perform on par with native English-speakers in English-only classrooms ( Lindholm-Leary, 2005; Lindholm-Leary & Borsato, in press).