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Immersion

Mission Statement

To expand opportunities for dialogue, information exchange, professional development and research initiatives among ACTFL’s dual language/immersion educators who work in and advocate for school-based, preK-16 language immersion programs throughout the U.S.

Background Information

ACTFL is one of a select number of national organizations dedicated to improving and expanding quality teaching and learning of languages. Since ACTFL began under the leadership of Emma-Marie Birkmaier in 1968, the organization has largely focused on foreign language learners of non-English languages at secondary and post-secondary levels. Today, a growing number of schools are choosing dual language and immersion education, as an alternative educational approach to language and culture learning. This program model encompasses preK-16, targets learners from a perse range of linguistic and cultural backgrounds, and is fundamentally shaped by the language and literacy demands of subject matter learning. Educators who work in dual language and immersion programs encounter a range of unique issues on a daily basis.

The Immersion Special Interest Group within ACTFL furthers our national organization’s ability to offer leadership and support for the rising number of preK-16 educators and administrators engaged in this type of programming. More specifically, we aim to:

  • Expand professional development and information exchange opportunities among dual language/immersion educators: Need to increase sessions and activities intended to meet the needs of dual language/immersion teachers, program coordinators, district/state leaders, etc.
  • Promote dialogue and collaboration to address issues unique to dual language/ immersion through research and best practice: Quality program continuity preK-16, assessment of language and literacy development of L2, struggling immersion readers/learners, integration of subject matter, language and culture learning, etc.
  • Strengthen national advocacy and support for quality implementation of dual language/immersion: Consolidate existing state-level organizational efforts and/or one-language-only groups in the field that include a focus on the needs of the language majority learner.

What is dual language/immersion education?

As a form of dual language education, school-based immersion programs are intensive, subject-matter-driven language programs that aim for academic achievement, bilingual/biliterate development and increased cultural proficiency. Use of a second language as a medium of instruction is one of several essential characteristics. Dual language/immersion programs target a range of learners, including language majority, language minority, heritage and indigenous learners. Program models vary according to learner audience and include one-way foreign language immersion, two-way bilingual immersion, as well as heritage and indigenous immersion.

Current Officers:

Chair: Maria Spicer-Escalante, Utah State University
Vice-Chair: Marybeth Fuller, Washington County School District
Secretary: Rita Stevenson, Davis School District

Read minutes from previous SIG business meetings. Access the Immersion SIG Online Community eGroup.

If you are already a member of ACTFL and wish to join this SIG, contact us. ACTFL membership includes one free SIG; individuals may join additional SIGs for $5 per year per SIG.

What Our Members Are Saying

ACTFL has always been a powerful source for learning and networking in our profession. As a member for over 25 years, ACTFL has definitely shaped the way I teach and learn.

Toni Theisen, Loveland High School