Bilingual education is a form of education in which information is presented to the students in two or more languages. Schools use bilingual education to teach students that are not fluent in the English language, this method is use to help the student learn English. Bilingual education is used as bridge, which helps students to transit from their first language and culture, into the English language and the American's way of life or mainstream.
The bilingual education program was developed to teach English to native Americans and immigrant. There are different types of bilingual programs. Such
Transitional Bilingual Education: This is basically used to help the stundents not to fall behind by teaching them some subject in their native language for the maximum of 3 year.
Two Way or Dual Language Immersion: This program consists of having 50% native English speakers and 50% of the students will speak another language, and they will learn each other's language by interacting and helping one another.
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Dual Language: Such programs consist in having the students studying in 2 ways, fist is to teach some academic subjects in English and second is to teach literacy in their own language so they can improve their writing by doing it in their first language.
Late exit or developmental: In this program student are taught in a combination of both languages, after the literacy is developed, it can be transfer to the English language.
After reading these articles and finally understanding what it the real meaning of bilingual education and how much of a difficult situation the lack of this program could really mean for some individuals who are trying to learn the English language. It will be virtually impossible for foreigner students who don't have any English knowledge to learn the language and maintain their heritage without these proper programs. For example if a student that does not understand the English language is place in an English only class, this student is going to be force to an abrupt integration to the cultural and educational mainstream. This could lead the student to lose some or even all of his or her cultural values and adopt others.
Bilingual education has become an essential part of the United State educational system. Without this particular program a lot of individual would have had a hard time trying to get in to the mainstream of the American educational System and culture. In addition Bilingual Education is an advantage because it will help us while traveling outside the United States of America, visiting countries which have a different languages and being able to interact without the need of an interpreter, according to (Pillai), who is a true believer that bilingual education can be helpful to develop more effective communication skills, in today's world.
Being able to speak a second language gives you an advantage front of those who doesn't, knowing a foreign language gives us the chances of opening new doors in this globalize atmosphere that we are living today. Most of the jobs in big city like New York prefer to hire individuals who are bilingual. In some of the newspaper ads you can see the phrase "Spanish a +" or "Bilingual a must." This knowledge could be achieved thank to bilingual education. Another good and important quality of bilingual education is that it will help to increase creative thinking. Individual who are bilingual have also the tendency of thinking in a broader way, because they are thinking for both cultures instead of just one, their views are wider and more globalized.
Another amazing reason why to support Bilingual Education is the fact that children who are exposed to this program, get a real view of how the world really is, they get to see and experience people who are from different background and cultures. Therefore, a bilingual person may able to develop an ability to be more tolerant to individual with different ideology or point of views than his/her own. The use of bilingual education in the educational system is also good, because it give the students more choices for the future. For instance; according to an article I read call Advantages of Bilingual education, which refers that "if the country where you are a resident becomes unstable, if unrest or war breaks out, you will be able to move to the country/countries and communicate in their language." (Pillai) Which I think could be a real strong tool for the future of the students, since the world is becoming such as hostile place.
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Also According to an article wrote on ERIC Digest. When schools provide children quality education in their primary language, they give them two things: knowledge and literacy (Krashen). This is important since students can learn in their native language and transfer the knowledge to the English language.
I also understand that a lot of people are not in favor of the Bilingual Education Program, especially because of the price tag that this program tends to carry on. Some people think that bilingual education is only a waste of money, especially because the funds are being use to help foreigners who sometimes are in this county illegally according to (Backer) especially the way the economy is today, some individual are really in favor of the discontinuance of this program.
Some of the disadvantages of bilingual education are cultural identity and problem with learning, which could be interpreted that a lot of children in the bilingual education have cultural identity problem, that they have a hard time coping with their identity once place in the bilingual education program. He also think that bilingual education is a major cause of learning problem, it is believed that students who are bilingual have a hard time using their and developing the cognitive side of the brain.
Another negative aspect of bilingual education is that bilingualism in this country is often indexed with immigration "bilingual child" may imply "poor" or "uneducated" (Rizwan Ahmad). These particular views are often share by a vast group of people, who see the minority in this country as pest and also as a burden to the government. In some schools minority are also viewed as under achievers, lazy and sometimes even as dumb.
An additional negative effect of bilingual education is that the program doesn't have enough teachers with the adequate training necessary to teach these classes; as a result of this situation students are not getting the training necessary to improve their knowledge in the English language. This represents a huge problem for the students, because if they don't have a teacher with the sufficient knowledge to teach them the language, how are they going to be able to understand the messages or even the subjects that are being taught.
Opponents of bilingual education also point out that the program in not only costly and inefficient, but it also has a devastating dropout rate. Those students are not getting sufficient and adequate understanding of the English language, by having their classes taught in their native languages. This could be the main reason why students are dropping out of school. They don't believe that they are getting an adequate education to be successful in the future. Meanwhile the dropout rate for other school populations has declined, over the last 25 year the overall Hispanic dropout rate started higher and has remained between 30 and 35 percent.(Porter) wich is believed to be one of the higher indication that the bilingual education program is not delivering satifactory results.
according to michigan university one the main problems with individual coming from diferent part of the world to the united state and joining the bilingual education program, is that is extremely hard for them to let go of their culture and this is why it take them longer to be part of the mainstream. "They want to live as a part of mainstream society but are unwilling to change or give up their language or culture." (Michigan)
I am definitely in favor of Bilingual Education, is amazing all the knowledge that children who come from different parts of the world can gather, by being place in this program. Remember that the creation of these programs is to unlock the full potential of these children who first language is not English and to integrate them in to the cultural and educational mainstream. Once they begin to understand English the student will be able to get better grades in school and their self-confidence will increase greatly. As a result of this the students will have a better chance in the educational mainstream.
I also support this program because give the student the facility of learning multiple languages and to develop their knowledge in a more global perspective. Knowing three to four languages is prevalent in many parts of the world, so I think that thanks to bilingual education our children will be able to learn and compete in a rigorous and complex market like the one we are facing today, so globalized and diverse. We all need to understand that a second or even a third language is essential now a day to be successful, we probably don't see it this way right now, but our children will, since technology is uniting continents; the need to speak an additional language will undoubtedly essential to function in future societies.
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I definitely support the bilingual education; this should be implemented all over the country, should be a requirement to graduate high school in order for student to pass has to be able to speak a second language fluently. This will help students to integrate not only in America's mainstream, but in the global one.
Backer, C. (n.d.). Parents and teacher Guide to Bilingualism (second edition) Multilingual matters. Cleveton.
Krashen, S. (n.d.). Why Bilingual Education? Eric Digest.
Michigan, U. o. (n.d.). Arguments For and Against Bilingual Education.
Pillai, P. (n.d.). Advantages of Bilingual Education.
Porter, R. P. (n.d.). The Case Aginst Bilingual Education.