Languages Across Borders: Building Cross-Linguistic and Cross-Cultural Networks in High School


Schools typically offer adolescent immigrant students classified as English language learners (ELLs) restricted opportunities to fully develop their linguistic repertoires and academic potential. Adolescent ELLs are often isolated from English-dominant students through tracking and other means, but supportive peer interactions between these groups of students are correlated with improved academic engagement and achievement for adolescent ELLs and their English-dominant peers.

The Language Across Borders (LAB) pilot project is designed to improve linguistic, academic, and psychosocial outcomes for both Spanish-dominant learners of English and English-dominant learners of Spanish through an extracurricular dual language program. Specifically, it aims to increase ELLs’ social connections with peers and school while also increasing opportunities for Spanish-dominant and English-dominant students to develop bilingual expertise and positive youth development outcomes through strong school-based relationships.

Current publications from this project:

Kibler, A., Atteberry, A., Hardigree, C., & Salerno, A. (2015). Languages across borders: Social network development in an adolescent two-way dual language program. Teachers College Record, 117(8), 1-48.

Kibler, A., Salerno, A., & Hardigree, C. (2014). “More than being in a class”: Adolescents’ ethnolinguistic and social insights in a two-way dual-language program. Language and Education, 28(3), 251-275. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09500782.2013.822880

Salerno, A., & Kibler, A. (2017). Building bridges: A dual-language experience for high school students. In E. Barbian, G. C. Gonzales, & P. Mejía (Eds.), Rethinking bilingual education: Welcoming home languages in our classrooms (pp. 136-142). Milwaukee, WI: Rethinking Schools.