There are so many interpretations of the term "dual-language education". Depending on the model to which your district or campus subscribes, you may be responsible for the instruction of one language for all subjects throughout an entire day or for specific subjects every day. However, due to lack of qualified personnel or a multitude of other reasons, YOU may be it! You may be responsible for instruction in both languages according to the day or subject, depending on the model.
If you have had any experience in this context, you know that it can be confusing both for you and your students. The question, "What language are we speaking?" can often be heard and just might be something you have asked yourself!
While it can be difficult to make the switch between the two languages, it is not impossible. One thing we know is that students respond to context and that response can trigger an appropriate reaction in their brains. For example, I am a tall (6' 1") Anglo woman. When I am consulting on a campus, I try very hard to observe and converse with students without disrupting the classroom environment. Yet, my skin and height make that a bit of a challenge! I find it interesting though that even Pre-K and Kindergarten children will automatically switch from Spanish to English when I bend down to observe their work. Since they have never heard me speak, they are using visual context to determine the best form of communication.
So, as dual-language teachers, our question should be, "How can we create contexts which indicate a shift from one language to the other?" It might be a visual sign that we flip and read aloud (see the four examples below).