Through daily language interactions, bilingual parents permanently shape their young children’s cultural understanding by embracing not one, but two cultures. Adapting to a second culture isn’t easy for anyone—especially young children, as their language skills are still developing.
This month, we’re featuring Maria Fuentes, a preschool teacher at Faith Early Learning Center in Ohio. When her coach Rozlyn nominated her, she wrote that Maria, “exhibits a true love of children which is observed in her daily interactions with them.”
Maria supports dual language learners (DLL) and talked to me about how she got into teaching, what is so critical about supporting DLL, and how she thinks about CLASS in conjunction with other assessment and monitoring tools.
Alberta Loosle is the education manager for Centro de la Familia de Utah. Centro de la Familia de Utah is a non-profit agency supporting the under-served community in Utah. I talked to Alberta about her work with the program and about using CLASS in DLL settings.
Often, when I am engaged in professional development focusing on vocabulary lessons with teachers in bilingual classrooms, I am asked “Should I speak to the child in English or Spanish?” My answer is never simply one or the other.
There is an emerging consensus that dual language learners are best served by dual language classrooms. This ensures that their home language is accepted, preserved, and deepened, which has notable academic and social/emotional benefits for children. Dual language classrooms can range from settings in which the teachers work with children and do some translation in their home language, to two-way immersion classrooms that spend half the day in English and half in a second language.
Since I joined Teachstone back in 2010, one of the most common questions I’ve been asked is, “Can the CLASS measure be used in classrooms that serve dual language learners?” I’ve had many conversations about this with CLASS users in the field as well as research colleagues at the University of Virginia.