Bilingual education is an exciting but challenging type of teaching because it utilizes two languages in academic training. The main problem, in this case, is the shortage of experienced teachers and resources to provide adequate training (Amanti, 2019). Indeed, according to Briceño et al. (2018), bilingual teachers became hard to find in the United States due to the shift to English-only education. Furthermore, this deficiency transformed into a vicious loop because a new cohort of bilingual educators cannot be prepared (Briceño et al., 2018). Moreover, people in this profession need to do additional work to translate and adapt academic resources (Amanti, 2019). Fortunately, the American government started to understand the importance of dual education because English is the second language for many people in the U.S. For example, the law was passed in November 2016, resulting in removing constraints on bilingual education (Briceño et al., 2019). Still, only twenty-five states and the District of Columbia issue special certificates for dual-language instructors (Briceño et al., 2018). The lack of teacher training and instructional materials are two primary obstacles in advancing bilingual education; thus, investments, consultations, and cooperation can mitigate this issue.
The first problem in bilingual education in many countries is the lack of teacher training. At the end of the previous century, cultural and political shifts globally and in the U.S. increased the demand for bilingual teachers. Indeed, “recruiting and developing bilingual teachers has become a matter of social justice” because many Spanish-speaking immigrants who studied in America started to realize the value of preserving their ethnic identity (Briceño et al., 2018, p. 2). The main issue arose from the shortage of bilingual educators who can provide proper academic training in two languages. Similarly, teachers in Georgia and Spain face the same challenges of insufficient grounding in dual language education (Amanti, 2019; Brady, 2019). Furthermore, many instructors claim that they never had special training sessions or courses for preparing syllabi for bilingual classes (Amanti, 2019). Moreover, Briceño et al. (2018) reported that the study participants were not enrolled in dual language training because they lacked awareness of such programs or were concerned about proficiency in their native language. It appears that countries with multilingual populations should raise awareness about bilingual programs among citizens to create equal opportunities for different cultures.
Another problem of bilingual education is the lack of proper instructional materials. Therefore, teachers often need to search, translate, create, and purchase for their money various resources to give students extensive knowledge in two languages (Amanti, 2019). Still, since learning English was the priority for Latinx children in the United States for a long time, their second language became a liability rather than an asset (Briceño et al., 2018). Therefore, there is a shortage of bilingual resources in the U.S., complicating the situation for learners and educators. Similarly, Georgian instructors who work with bilingual classes write or translate some resources because the provided materials are insufficient or too advanced for students’ background knowledge (Amanti, 2019). High-quality textbooks can be a significant aid for educators, especially in primary education. Thus, the lack of instructional materials in bilingual academic training creates obstacles for teachers because they need to spend their time creating new programs for schoolchildren. Indeed, this problem is enormous for any multicultural state because gaps in education result in the appearance of social issues, negatively impacting the country’s development.
Solving the abovementioned problems in bilingual education is essential for social equity in multicultural countries. Indeed, multilingual training is also challenging because instructors must adjust to different cultural backgrounds (Lopez & Velasco, 2017). For example, when American and Asian Indian students read the passage about wedding ceremonies of the two cultures, both groups had the faster acquisition of information related to their native culture (Lopez & Velasco, 2017). This experiment suggests the importance of considering ethnic backgrounds in bilingual education. The possible ways to resolve these issues are to build collaborations, provide additional consultation to dual-language educators, and supply funding to develop proper instructional materials. Therefore, encouraging co-teaching practices, sharing resources and experiences, and consulting about curriculum preparation creates a supportive and collaborative environment that allows educators to master their skills in bilingual academic training (Lopez & Velasco, 2017). Moreover, large media campaigns can raise public awareness about the demands of this sector, connecting professionals and interested parties to develop new instructional resources for bilingual classes. Furthermore, funding from governmental organizations or private entities can further facilitate this process.
To summarize, the main issues in bilingual education are the shortage of training for instructors and the lack of teaching materials. Indeed, educators in dual-language programs face similar problems across the globe. For example, bilingual teachers in the United States whose native language is Spanish but whose primary training was conducted in English are not confident in the correctness of their first language. Furthermore, they often are not aware of the existence of special programs for bilingual education. The instructors in Georgia and Spain also lack enough guidance in this field; thus, they must write materials for students in bilingual classes during their private time. Finally, resolving this issue appears to become critical for social justice in multicultural countries. Therefore, giving consultation, sharing experiences, bringing media attention, and providing financial aid to develop instructional materials can help resolve these problems in bilingual education.
Amanti, C. (2019). The (invisible) work of dual language bilingual education teachers. Bilingual Research Journal, 42(4), 455-470.
Brady, I. K. (2019). Possible teaching selves: The challenges of becoming a bilingual teacher. International Journal of Applied Linguistics and English Literature, 8(2), 145-154.
Briceño, A., Rodriguez-Mojica, C., & Muñoz-Muñoz, E. (2018). From English learner to Spanish learner: Raciolinguistic beliefs that influence heritage Spanish speaking teacher candidates. Language and Education, 32(3), 212-226.
Lopez, E. C., & Velasco, P. (2017). Supporting teachers of English learners via instructional consultation. In E.C. Lopes, S.G. Nahari, & S.L. Proctor (Eds), Handbook of Multicultural School Psychology (pp. 35-55). New York, USA: Routledge.