Children’s Cultural Identity Formation: Experiences in a Dual Language Program

Keywords: identity, acculturation, bilingual education, dual language program, elemental education, childhood


The role of cultural identity in bilingual programs has been barely discussed in regards to SLA. This research focuses on providing relevant information that helps in having more knowledge about the experiences that an elementary student has during the second language learning process in a bilingual program within a multicultural context. This qualitative study took place in a Dual Language Program in a public elementary school, in Northern Virginia, USA, where 17 students were immersed in a 50:50 program, that is, 50% of classes were in English and the other 50% in Spanish The information was collected by using in person interviews, focus group sessions, and  participants and field observations. Receiving others’ influence; living situations as determiners of languages switch, and using two languages as a key aspect in self-esteem improvement, were the experiences which emerged as the ones which contributed in children’s cultural identity formation.


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Author Biography

Lina María Tenjo-Macías, Universidad Pedagógica y Tecnológica de Colombia, Colombia

holds a Bachelor’s degree in Foreign Language Spanish-English Education, from Universidad Pedagógica y Tecnológica de Colombia- UPTC, Colombia. She has an Associate’s degree in Liberal Arts and Sciences, General Studies and Humanities from the Northern Virginia Community College in the US. Since 2011, Ms. Tenjo has been working in the field of language acquisition, particularly focusing on Dual Language/Immersion education. Lina Tenjo holds a teacher’s license in Spanish as Foreign Language (Spanish K-12) in Virginia, USA. She was nominated by her colleagues as the Support Employee of the year in 2015 as an Instructional Assistant in an immersion program. In 2018, She was nominated again as the Teacher of the Year. She’s currently working toward an M.A degree in Bilingual Education and Curriculum. Lina Tenjo has long been an advocate for community service, and currently works with the Red Cross to provide bilingual education and hands-on instruction for smoke alarms and general safety.


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How to Cite
Rodríguez Tamayo, I. Y., & Tenjo-Macías, L. M. (2019). Children’s Cultural Identity Formation: Experiences in a Dual Language Program. GiST Education and Learning Research Journal, 18, 86-108.