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What is a Dual Language Learner?

Erika Flores, BS, MEd

April 27, 2020

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What is a dual language learner?

Answer

A dual language learner is a young child who is developing and learning in the social context of two or more languages. It's a child who might be hearing one or two languages at home and might be learning, hearing, and developing another language at school. It's a continuous process of learning two or more languages. In the past, you might have heard the term English Language Learner. That term is used more in the context of K-12 education where there's more of a focus of helping children learn and acquire the English language. The term Dual Language Learner is used much more in the early childhood sphere because of the emphasis on helping children to continue to develop their home language or home languages, while they're also developing and learning English. This is especially because much of the recent research shows many benefits that children can reap from knowing more than one language. You might also hear the acronym DLL, which refers to dual language learners.

 

This Ask the Expert is an edited excerpt from the course, An Introduction to Integrated Dual Language Learners (Birth to Five), in partnership with Region 9 Head Start Association, by Erika Flores, MEd.


erika flores

Erika Flores, BS, MEd

Erika Flores is the founder of ChildrenFlow, an organization whose mission is to empower young children’s development through evidence-based professional development to teachers, coaches, trainers, and administrators. She has over 20 years of experience in the early education field in various capacities and in different countries. Erika has brought her expertise to large statewide strategy and implementation programs, school districts, Head Start programs, non-profit organizations and to the private sector. Before founding ChildrenFlow, Erika worked at Teachstone as a Client Relations Director, at the University of Virginia as a Researcher, and at DePaul University as faculty teaching courses to graduate and undergraduate students. Erika has also taught young children in Mexico and the US. Erika earned her MEd from the University of Illinois at Chicago and her BS in Psychology from the Universidad de Monterrey.


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