What Is Bilingual Education?
Bilingual education is when a person is educated in two languages. Generally speaking, bilingual education is used when talking about immigrants receiving at least partial education in their native tongue. For example, a Mexican family moves here and enrolls their child into school. Once in school, their child struggles because they don’t speak the common tongue (English) at a high enough level to keep up. Therefore, they are educated bilingually; partly in Spanish and partly in English.
What Is Bilingual Education: A Brief History Of Bilingual Education In The United States
Bilingual education in the US started in the 1960’s when congress passed the Bilingual Education Act of 1968. This attempt to solve the issue of immigrants falling behind in public school was the first real action taken to help improve the situation.
What Is Bilingual Education Today?
Bilingual education is still fairly common today with about 20% of people speaking a language other than English at home. However, answering the question ‘what is bilingual education’ has changed slightly these days. The United States, and other traditionally monolingual English-speaking countries, have slowly started to realize the importance of multilingualism. They are starting to allocate funds, resources, and starting new dual immersion schools and other institutions focused on teaching children another language. The role is starting to reverse, slightly, from non-English to English to English natives being educated in another language with the hopes that they learn that language.
The recent research is clearly showing many benefits of bilingual education. This bilingual edge is something that children in modern-day America will hopefully enjoy more in the coming generations than in the past generations.
What Is Bilingual Education Going To Look Like?
In a brief email interview I did with an expert a while back, Mr. Francois Grosjean claimed bilingual education will see a slight trend upwards in the coming years. He also, however, stated that we shouldn’t be overly optimistic. With only about 18% of children in bilingual education programs currently, we have a long way to go to truly become a bilingual nation.
Whether you are a proponent for or opponent against bilingual education in the United States, I don’t think the benefits of it can be denied. The negatives often stated are usually not true, antiquated, and even down-right deceitful. Slight drawbacks may exist in certain situations, however I like to liken this to something like working out. Is it fun to struggle through a workout and be sore afterwards? No. Is it fun to be healthier, happier, and better equipped to take on the modern world? Yes.
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