Quality Standards for Dual Language Programs

Checklist for Administrators

By Norman Sieweke

When establishing quality standards for a German immersion/dual language program, it is important for administrators and staff to

  • examine and discuss aspects of the language program,
  • reflect on areas of strength and areas for improvement,
  • assess the extent to which the practices of the school and school community support the intent for the program and its best practices,
  • understand where to access key supports and guiding information available,
  • engage in reflection about their programming practices.

This reflective process can:

  • increase staff knowledge, skills and engagement,
  • support collaborative planning, goal-setting and programming improvement,
  • foster the development of district, school and professional learning communities,
  • assist educators the in development of long-term plans and program vision,
  • support the alignment of school practices to the intent of the course,
  • enhance programming effectiveness and excellence.

Below are reflective questions. Each question is followed by a list of items for consideration.

Is there positive district support for our immersion program?

  • District priorities and goals exist that support our program.
  • Students and staff receive recognition for their skills and accomplishments.
  • Human Resources hires staff to the district who are proficient in the target language, second language pedagogy and knowledgeable in the target language culture.
  • District promotes our Bilingual/German immersion program.
  • District provides opportunities for professional learning to support bilingual programming.
  • District provides access to quality learning and teaching resources.

Is there positive administrator support for our immersion program?

  • Administrator provides opportunities for professional learning and staff development  to support bilingual programming.
  • Administrator assists us to ensure that the target language is the language of communication in our school environment.
  • Administrator provides sufficient resources and personnel to meet the needs of our program.
  • Administrator assists us to ensure that the mandated instructional time in the target language is provided.
  • Administrator advocates for and promotes our program and curriculum model valuing the target language and culture.
  • Administrator communicates the positive impact of second language learning on the development of English literacy, target language literacy, and mother tongue literacy.

Is our staff knowledgeable in second language pedagogy and able to engage students in comprehensive second language learning experiences?

  • Teachers use effective, current, and research-based second language pedagogy to engage learners.
  • Students are provided with a variety of regular, meaningful, functional opportunities for authentic engaging use of the target language.
  • We promote the inclusion of a range of students with diverse needs, abilities and interests.
  • Staff interact with students using the target language and expects students to respond in the target language.
  • Teachers employ quality assessment practices.
  • Teachers use quality progress reporting practices and report specific information about language learning progress.
  • Teachers provide a rich target-language learning classroom environment.
  • Teachers plan for the diverse needs of a range of learners.
  • Content areas are delivered in the target language.
  • Teachers are knowledgeable and skilled in planning for the teaching of content areas of curriculum through the target language.

Is our program connected to the community?

  • We engage and communicate regularly with the school community about the program.
  • We connect and collaborate with  the cultural communities of the target language.
  • We communicate and collaborate with other program sites to enable K-12 programming articulation for students.

Is the program an integral part of the school culture?

  • The program is evident in our school.
  • We provide sufficient funding for resources and experiences in the target language.
  • Schools provide for enriched language and culture experiences beyond the classroom.

Are quality learning resources used?

  • Resources used are aligned to the intent of the program outcomes.
  • Students have access to authentic and engaging resources in the target language.

Do students receive recognition for their language proficiency?

  • Students receive recognition for their language proficiency from the school, community, district and external organizations.
  • Language and literacy are celebrated in the school.

Norman Sieweke NS
Norman Sieweke is a consultant with the Institute for Innovation in Second Language Education (IISLE) at Edmonton Public Schools in Canada, and provides support for immersion/bilingual programs in the areas of literacy, pedagogy, assessment, resources, technologies, curriculum planning and teaching in the content areas.