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Donación Garcia wanted what was best for his daughter Gabriella, so he enrolled her in an English-only classroom and declined his district’s offer to also provide instruction in Spanish, a language his family often uses at home.

“We thought she needed English,” said Garcia, whose daughter is now a high school freshman in Portland, Oregon.

His intuitive and widely shared belief that English immersion is the best way to learn the language is one of many obstacles to adopting the one approach that  decades of research  shows actually is the most effective way to help students learn English and catch up academically with peers.


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