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Who Are Dual Language Learners?movement scarves

Many terms are used to refer to young children who are being taught in a language other than their primary language. Two terms commonly used are English learner and dual language learner.

The California Preschool Learning Foundations, Volume 1 (CDE, 2008) defines English learners as “children whose first language is not English and encompasses children learning English for the first time in the preschool setting as well as children who have developed various levels of English proficiency” (p. 103).

The Desired Results Developmental Profile (DRDP) includes specific measures for assessing the English language development of children who are learning English as a second language. These measures are completed for any child who lives in a home where English is not the only language spoken.

The Office of Head Start defines dual language learners as children who “acquire two or more languages simultaneously, and learn a second language while continuing to develop their first language. The term "dual language learners" encompasses other terms frequently used, such as Limited English Proficient (LEP), bilingual, English language learners (ELL), English learners, and children who speak a Language Other Than English (LOTE)” (OHS 2009).

California Department of Education (2008). California preschool learning foundations, Volume 1  Sacramento, CA: Author. 

Office of Head Start (2009). Definition of dual language learner 


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