The goal of the dual language program at Moylan Elementary School is to develop learners who are truly fluent in two languages. Children whose first language is English are partnered with children whose first language is Spanish. Partners are encouraged to assist each other in language acquisition.
Children begin their day in adjoining classrooms. The morning is spent in instruction in the child’s dominant language, but in the afternoon and during social times students with their partners are exposed to programs and activities in both languages. The teachers use many visual aids and props to encourage dual language use.
While kindergarten teacher Vernice Duke is reading a story about different colored balloons — red, green, yellow — partners may share their language with each other — rojo, verde, amarillo.
The program encourages understanding and appreciation of linguistic and cultural differences while nurturing pride in one’s own heritage. Parents are active partners in the program and have developed cross-cultural friendships, as have their children.
The program began last year with 40 kindergarten students. Those students moved on to first grade as a new group began kindergarten. Next year the program will expand again as the original students move on to second grade. The success of the program is shown by the low mobility of participants and the large numbers of students who achieve perfect attendance each month.
Maria Hernandez and Vernice Duke will be featured next Monday and Wednesday and again on April 17 and 19 on my TV show, “Brad’s Beat,” on Hartford Public Access Television. The program is shown on Channel 22 in Hartford at 7:30 p.m. On April 10, 12, 24 and 26 the discussion of the dual language program will continue, followed by a segment with two of the people who assist behind the camera in the production of “Brad’s Beat.”
Madelyn Williams, a 1992 graduate of Weaver High School, and Fania Alabre, a junior at Weaver, have volunteered to staff the control room during the taping of my shows. Madelyn has completed one year of the communications program at Manchester Community College. Fania is taking journalism at Weaver and plans to continue her study of communications after graduation to prepare for a career as a journalist.
Hartford Public Access Television is offering training in television production to people who wish to learn how to produce a television program. Completion of the course will enable participants to produce their own shows. For more information and an application, please call the station at 860-549-1890. If you have comments or suggestions for “Brad’s Beat” programs, please call me at 860-247-0759.