Texas A&M International University (TAMIU) recently dedicated its Dual Language Lab, fittingly welcoming guests in English, German Korean and Spanish.
“Multiple languages are a great part of our dynamic city and region and we are happy to dedicate a facility that will help us to research, study and train in dual language study,” beamed Dr. Miroslava Vargas, a College of Education associate professor who helped to develop the new Dual Language Lab.
Located in Dr. Billy F. Cowart Hall, the new Lab will focus on dual language exploration, study and training.
Dual language is a form of language learning in which students are taught literacy and content in two languages. While many programs commonly use English and Spanish, programs using other partner languages such as Arabic, Chinese, French, Japanese or Korean are also growing in usage.
Dr. Ray Keck, TAMIU president, professor of Spanish and long-time advocate of dual language, said dual language is an extension of bilingual education.
“It really is the logical and much more practical extension of bilingual education. Here at TAMIU we have been fortunate to have top researchers like Dr. Ramón Alaniz and Dr. Vargas who have long conducted research in this field and annually offer a conference here to relay the latest research findings. Now that research has a home and the potential for much more,” Dr. Keck explained.
Dr. Alaniz, a longtime TAMIU College of Education faculty member, said the Lab’s opening is an exciting opportunity.
“Our annual language conference here actually helped sow the seeds, both idea-wise and as financial start up, for this facility. It’s exciting to know that we’ve been able to dedicate a new home to this study. It has tremendous potential to tap into our community and region and become a signature research center,” Dr. Alaniz said.
He noted that while bilingual education usually aims to transition students out of their native language and, in the US, into English, dual language instead develops and maintains the student’s primary language while adding the second language.
Dr. Vargas said the new TAMIU Lab will offer a series of workshops in the future for elementary teachers, parents and those with an interest in the field. It will also focus on identifying local and regional opportunities for collaborative faculty and student research and eventually move forward with specialized online offerings.
“We’ll start small, but we will dream big. This setting will help make those dreams a reality,” Dr. Vargas said.
For additional information on the TAMIU Dual Language Lab, contact Drs. Alaniz or Vargas at 326.2698 and 326.2684 respectively, email firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com or visit offices in the Sue and Radcliffe Killam Library, College of Education, fourth floor.