Bilingual Education

Bilingual Education
Bilingual Education

Bilingual education is of paramount importance in most American schools and educational institutions, where English learner students are characterized by a wide diversity. They have difficulties in studying, because their native language is not English. National educators are doing their best to help these students to overcome the gap and make them feel more comfortable in their school environment. Bilingual education requires education of non-English students through English and their native language. School programs are composed in such a way that bilingual students are prone to study different subjects through their minority languages. Educational institutions offer such students instructions in their native language in order to help develop academic skills and improve their English. Many educators throughout the United States understand all difficulties of bilingual education. In order to meet the needs of non-English students, the authorities provide professional assistance and support.

The Identification of the Problem

Bilingual education comprises different forms of studies when two languages, both native and English, are available to students. The research asserts that bilingual education is an important issue not only in the United States. The use of the English language as an international means of communication makes it one of the most required languages in the world. Presently, English is not simply a foreign language, as it has become a global means of communication. English is the main language of international meetings, science, conferences, sport events and competitions, air traffic control, the Internet, and other important international matters. That is why it is worth noting that the issue of bilingual education is one of the main educational issues in the United States of America and some other countries. There are opponents of bilingual education, who are against the idea to teach non-English students by using two languages. They argue that English learners will be able to study the language, if they are immersed in it from the early age. Proponents of bilingual education stress the opportunity of students to learn a second language as a great advantage, which may be rather beneficial in their future career.

Typically, bilingual education requires students’ instructions in two languages. In the United States, for example, the main second language is Spanish. Educators and teachers have taken into consideration that most programs focus on Spanish and English. In the international context, it is admitted that it would be very helpful for non-English students to have more communication with English-only students. Native speaking peers may be the best language teachers for new-comers who practically do not speak English. As a rule, the level of English is different among non-English learners. The state and federal governments are developing different programs and tests for bilingual students. The ESL test, for example, gives the opportunity to define one’s level of the English language. Due to their knowledge level, students are provided with special training. The research asserts that most American educational institutions comprise multilingual students who have the required level of English. The knowledge of two languages is considered to be more advantageous. However, it can not be denied that training for such students is much more complicated and that universities today do not provide sufficient instructions for them, which leads to the search for support services for training, such as, where they seek help in solving difficult tasks.

Different Types of Bilingual Education

Bilingual education comprises different forms of studies, when two languages, both native and English, are available to students. The practice of teaching students in their own language has won the recognition during the last decades in the United States and other multinational countries, such as Great Britain, Canada, Germany, and some others. The research asserts that many educational establishments use bilingual systems and programs, but they differ greatly in their structure and approaches.

Some programs offer non-English students to master such subjects as social science, mathematics, and science in their native language, while they are supposed to learn English during additional classes. Many scholars argue that this type of bilingual education is not effective for English learners, who should be better immersed immediately into the English-speaking environment in order to master the language as quickly as possible. That is why many bilingual students are studying this way to the end of their school years. Educators are looking forward to better opportunities to implement more effective programs.

Another type of bilingual education is submersion. Many experts consider this type of learning rather effective and productive, because English learners are placed in the same classroom with English-only students and are supposed to do all tasks in English, though they may still learn English during extra classes. Many teachers consider that by doing so, non-English speakers can improve their proficiency in English. Some educational authorities note that this is not technically bilingual education, because the material is presented only in one language. Contrary to submersion programs, immersion programs offer English-only speakers to study a foreign language in special groups. They provide foreign language training for English-only speakers. The majority of students who attend these classes are of higher socio-economic status.

Two-way bilingual education is often practiced in groups of speakers with different languages. Thus, they have a perfect opportunity to practice both languages and improve their fluency. English as Second Language is well-known for foreign students who tend to continue their further education in colleges or universities. Participants are placed in a classroom with a special instructor who helps them to master English and prepare students for the ESL test.

Further Development of Bilingual Policies

The general public, policymakers, and educators have a great concern of ELs and are eager to provide them with their professional support. National kindergartens are the first stage of ELs’ studying process. Children take their first English Language Development Test there. Standardized tests are provided to estimate students’ level of the English language in order to continue further studies in schools and achieve scores of Basic or above in the English language and Arts.

Bilingual policies ensure the public that attention is paid to the improvement of educational programs for English learners. The government intends to consider such issues as the question of the implementation of new standards, accountability and funding, and the reclassification policy. These would help to achieve further development of the bilingual education policies. Thus, the federal and state governments provide extra financial support for schools with bilingual education. New funding would create better opportunities and new approach for reclassification of non-English students. In order to increase funding, policymakers are searching for effective tools to distribute the money within districts and schools in an appropriate and effective manner. Some authorities are worried about better outcomes and monitoring of these funds for long-term success. By implementing extra financing for schools with English learner students, the government authorities and teachers hope to maintain the future of bilingual education.

According to the research, it is not clear how much money is needed for the reclassification and funding of EL students. All authorities are sure that education of non-English students is more expensive than that of English-only students. Common Core Standards may help to solve this problem. Policymakers need to provide programs and policies that will help students to improve their educational level and be able to continue their future studies with ease. The development of new standards will be a good opportunity to link academic instruction.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Bilingual Education

The research asserts that there are numerous advantages and disadvantages of bilingual education. Many educators and authorities are debating about these advantages and disadvantages. The public school system is rather controversial all over the United States. Bilingual education offers non-English students good opportunities in their native languages to succeed in academic subjects. Many critics consider that this program is not effective, because it cannot involve ELs in the English class environment in an efficient and effective manner.

According to the research, the advantages of bilingual education are numerous and reasonable. First of all, bilingual education helps students to plunge into the English-speaking environment. Proponents consider educational programs for non-English students to be helpful in regard to academic achievements. Most of these students are likely to better succeed in different disciplines if they are able to understand the subject matter. This knowledge will ensure that they will stay at an equal level with English-only students.

Students who need bilingual education are mainly immigrants from various countries. They have difficulties with assimilation into a new cultural and language environment. Parents with strong traditional values appreciate bilingual education, which gives their children the opportunity to keep their own culture, traditions, and their native language. The knowledge of two languages can also be beneficial to be successful in the USA.

Many opponents of bilingual education consider that there are more disadvantages than advantages in school programs for EL students. A great number of critics argue about the resistance of non-English students to better assimilate into a new country. Therefore, relying on their native language, students have problems with the English language. There is an opinion that this may slow down the process of assimilation and integration into the social environment. Because of the language problems, students often stay apart from their English-speaking peers and school activities. Special educational programs that are developed for bilingual students are dependent on students’ native languages. They are developing this dependency refusing to master their English skills and abilities in writing, reading, and comprehension. These are the main difficulties which teachers and bilingual students face in the process of studying. This is also the main reason behind low academic results in different subjects. Many scholars argue that these programs are ineffective and should be improved in the nearest future.

Despite the fact that bilingual education has a positive and supportive effect on students and their future academic and social growth, politically motivated opposition has prevailed in most American states. Many politicians and educators argue that bilingual education discriminate children. According to the Bilingual Education Act (1974), the federal and state governments should be responsible for bilingual education in order to provide bilingual students with an appropriate education. By implementing new programs, the authorities tend to improve English learners’ academic skills and abilities, maintaining them with professional assistance and support.

Teaching Strategies and Practices

Bilingual students have become a challenge to teachers; thus, there is a need to work out specific strategies and practices in order to help students to master various subjects in two languages. The research asserts that in a bilingual school, teachers have to find out some proper strategies in order to incorporate the process of studying that relates to both cultures and languages.

Bilingual students are supposed to stay fluent in both languages. Classes like history and social subjects must reflect the dual approach, which is not a single point of view. This gives the opportunity for bilingual students to incorporate in a new culture and language and stay aware of their own history and traditions. Teachers must take into consideration that such an approach would be rather productive and effective in their work.

Many authorities have proposed to analyze school failures of bilingual students in order to suggest better strategies within bilingual education. Corresponding strategies must empower minority students to increase their academic achievements through the incorporation of their native culture and language. School authorities have to corporate with students’ communities and families in order to achieve their educational and social goals. Improved programs should be implemented in the process of studying in a collaborative and effective manner.

Swain insists that it is important to discover successful second language teaching strategies and practices through classroom experimentation. Different experimentations have been held in different schools throughout the USA, and they gave positive results. Educators who discover better methods in bilingual education are supposed to share their ideas and insights with their colleagues in order to achieve mutual educational goals. Bilingual teaching and learning socialization patterns must be incorporated with those typically operational in schools. The available information asserts that bilingual education would be more effective when compatible with cultural patterns of students. It is worth noting that these cultural patterns differ in social organization, motivation, cognition, and sociolinguistics. It is important to identify how a culturally compatible school environment can be realized in multicultural classrooms and the whole schools. The main forms of bilingual teaching should be instructional conversations, teacher-student dialogues, and joint productive activities that provide better communication between students and teachers.

Future Trends in Bilingual Education

As the population increases and technology is constantly developing, the country’s bilingual education system must adapt rapidly to keep up with the times. The policy debates in regard with bilingual education are in progress all over the states now, and these debates are likely to continue in the future. Many educators, researchers, teachers, and parents doubt the effectiveness of bilingual education. According to test scores and English language acquisition, the results have not improved in many cases. Moreover, bilingual education is expensive, which makes a critical part of the policy debate. Education of non-English students is important for future domestic economic growth and competitiveness of the United States in the global market. Interactive bilingual education of non-English learners must be put at a higher level. Educators, researchers, and federal and state governments have to implement new programs that will improve educational strategies and forms of bilingual education.

The research asserts that ineffective bilingual education may have serious negative results in the future. It is worth mentioning that the majority of English learner students in the United States are Spanish. The biggest number of them is located in California and Texas. The poverty rate among non-English students in California, for example, is between 74 to 85 percent, while among native school-aged children, this figure is 21 percent. The federal government is searching for ways to improve this situation in all American states. Being the country of immigrants, the United States will certainly have problems with bilingual education in the future. That is why it is important to figure out what models or groups of models may be the most suitable for bilingual education in each separate American state.

Bilingual education is of paramount importance in most American schools and educational institutions, where students are characterized by a wide diversity. They have difficulties in studies, because their native language is not English. National educators have been doing their best to help these students to cope with their problems and make them feel more comfortable in their studying process. Bilingual education requires education of students through English and their native language. School programs are composed in such a way that bilingual students study different subjects using their minority languages. Educational institutions offer such students instructions in their native language in order to help them develop academic skills and improve the level of English. Many educators all over the United States understand problems and difficulties of bilingual education. In order to meet the needs of non-English students, the authorities provide professional assistance and support.