Bilingual Models

If you are looking to engage with a bilingual school, whether it is for your child to attend, or to work there yourself, it is important that you understand the bilingual model used by the school.


All Designated Bilingual Program (DBP) Schools offer partial immersion, where students are immersed into a classroom in which the curriculum is taught for between a minimum of 30% and 50% in the target language.


Despite this common thread, there is high variability on the model used to deliver bilingual education among DBP schools due to differences in student demography at each school.


For example, below is one academic model that highlights the diverse range of bilingual programs commonly found in English-speaking countries:



Below is a series of questions you can ask when researching about bilingual schools:

  • What - What is taught in English and what is taught in the target language? Do students get to experience all curriuculum areas in both languages?
  • Who - Who delivers the curriculum in English and who delivers the curriculum in the target language? Is it the same teacher or is it done by two different teachers? If it is more than one teacher, how do they work together? Who would be the go-to person (or home room teacher) for pastroral care concerns?
  • When - When is the class taught in English and when is the class taught in the target language? Are the languages split by the day, AM vs. PM, or by the subject? 
  • Where - Where is English used in the school and where is the target language used? Outside of the classroom, what is the school's explicit and implicit language policy on the use of English and the target language?
  • Why - Why has the model been designed in this way?

Leaders in DBP schools are more than happy and ready to answer the above questions.


If you are a parent, please remember that there is no such thing as the 'best' bilingual model. Which model works best for your child may depend on your child's personality, readiness for school, language and cultural background, and your aspiration and ambition for your child's bilingual attainment.


If you are a teacher looking to work in a bilingual school, we encourage you to do the research, read up on the school's School Strategic Plan, and evaluate for yourself whether you believe the bilingual model of the school matches your own educational philosophy.

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