Over the recent past, the topic of dismantling the bilingual education system in the U.S. has received different opinions from the American citizenry, some of which are genuine and some of which are mere assumptions that lack a rationale of expression. Primarily, bilingual education entails offering learners who are less proficient with English a chance of studying in their native languages (mostly Spanish), as they undertake some lessons in English as their second language.
Also, some bilingual education programs are dual-language programs, whose main aim is to enable students to be proficient in two languages. Considering this, the majority of individuals who argue for or against this system, rarely take into consideration the different types of bilingual education. The U.S. is a multi-cultured community that comprises of individuals of different races and ethnic backgrounds.
Also, annually, U.S. schools admit thousands of foreign learners, who are not English speakers. Therefore, denying these like learners an opportunity of being taught in their native language, as they learn English can jeopardize greatly their learning, because of the long periods that one requires to master a second language (Spring 204-215).
Moreover, noting the fact that education should prepare learners to work in different cultural environments, denying learners an opportunity of learning other languages, can be very detrimental to their future welthe lbeing in the competitive job market. Therefore, for purposes of appreciating cultural diversity, enhancing learning, and the fact that, the quest for education goes beyond national borders, it is important for the government to make bilingual education an official education system.
One primary goal of any educational curriculum is to mould all round individuals, who are ready to work in any cultural environment. In addition, a curriculum should also aim to enhance the development of the inherent learner talents. To achieve this, an education system should not constrain the development of learners’ abilities, by making it hard for learners to comprehend whatever they are learning, by forcing them to study in a “foreign” language.
Giving learners an opportunity of learning in Spanish as they master English, offers learners an opportunity of learning and understanding new concepts, which could be very hard to comprehend in English; a language they might be encountering for the first time. Also, allowing learners to learn in Spanish can greatly aid the learning of a second language, as it offers learners an opportunity of comparing the organizational reality of the two languages (Baker 99-112).
On the other hand, combining Spanish and English classes sets a firm foundation for learning the Spanish vocabulary, because of the interdependency in concepts between English and Spanish.
Majority of antagonist oppose these ideas because, most Spanish learners take very long durations before entering the main English classes. Yes, this might be the case; but most of them fail to recognize that, it takes longer for learners to orient themselves into English classes, as compared to teaching learners in Spanish while increasing their content of English classes as they go up the academic ladder.
In addition to aiding the learning of a second language and developing learners inherent abilities, as Porter (87-93) argues, it is important for an educational system to appreciate the significance of cultural diversity in society. Denying learners an opportunity to learning in their native language is a discriminatory practice that can promote racism, it is a promoter of racial inequality. The U.S. is a multicultural society with individuals from different ethnic backgrounds.
Therefore, making English the only language of instruction can mean that English speakers are more superior to other minority groups, as this will deny non-English speaking learners an opportunity of learning in their native languages, as they master English.
Also, refuting the significance of bilingual education is denying learners their fundamental right of accessing quality education; in a manner that they can easily understand concepts, and the right to national identity. Considering this, the government should safeguard every learner’s educational rights, by ensuring that the learning conditions are suitable for meaningful learning to take place.
Further, yes, to some extent, the argument by opponents of bilingual education that, adopting this system is an expensive venture that can demand an overhaul of the entire education system is correct. However, are the expenses worth the skills learned?
Majority of learners after completion their studies participate actively in promoting the social, economic, and political wellbeing of the U.S.; hence, why should the government deny them a chance of learning? It is purely illogical to expect non-English speaking learners to contribute to the economy of government that denied them a chance of enhancing their abilities when they needed it. Therefore, the government should promote fully the adoption of bilingual education.
On the other hand, the argument by most opponents of this system that, allowing learners to learn in two languages can impair the development of the main institutional language is baseless (Baker 261-284). This is the case primarily because; the success of an educational system depends on the methodology of its implementation. Moreover, teaching learners in two languages offer learners an equivalent mode of learning new knowledge.
Further, allowing learners to take part-time English classes along classes in their native languages can greatly aid the acquisition of the English syntax. Practically, it is very hard for learners to be proficient in a second language without having to correlate newly learned knowledge with concepts in their native languages. Therefore, bilingualism is very important in ensuring balanced learning among all students.
In conclusion, because, bilingualism promotes the acquisition of the second language, cultural diversity, and is an important learning tool, it is important for the government to put up measures, which will ensure states adopt this system and fully support it.
Baker, C. Foundations of bilingual education and bilingualism (4th e.d). Bristol: Multilingual Matters, 2006. Web.
Porter, R. Forked tongue: the politics of bilingual education. New Jersey: Transaction Publishers, 1999. Web.
Spring, J. The intersection of cultures: multiculturalism education in the United States and the global community (3rd e.d). New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2006. Web.