Bilingual education has become very popular recently, with perhaps the most compelling reason for bilingual education being the concept of educational equality in our country. How is it possible for someone to get a great education if he or she does not fully understand the language in which the classes are taught? Won’t that student become a second-class citizen? Should we just let that happen, or should we teach them in their mother tongue and take care of assimilation at a later date? The fact is that there are many pros and cons on the subject.
On the plus side, there are many benefits to having students learn another language at a very early age. It has been proven that children who learn to speak another language early in life have an easier time grasping the vocabulary, grammar and nuances of both languages. It has also been shown that the same students can move on to learning a third and fourth language just as easily. The reasons for this are many, but one of the main reasons is that many languages have their roots in a single ancient language, such as Latin or Greek. As nationalities developed, their languages changed but retained many words and word structures. Even as the world shrinks and everything becomes more global, it becomes more and more important to be able to communicate in more than one language.
There is no denying that elementary school students should receive bilingual education. Waiting until high school will only make it harder for the kids. Once a student is comfortable with a second language, it is much easier for him or her to master it as they get older. It is also a good thing when students learn about the culture of different countries, which is enhanced by learning the language. Studies have proven that being able to speak multiple languages does not confuse the mind. In fact, it helps to develop it faster and lead to a well-rounded future.
On the negative side, there are people who think bilingual education is a bad idea because it robs us of a sense of national identity. The United States has always been known as the “melting pot” of cultures, where everyone is treated equally and every culture is assimilated into the primary culture of the United States. Historically, newcomers to this country have been forced to learn our English language and many of our ways of life, while at the same time contributing parts of their historical culture and thereby enhancing the culture as a whole. The argument is that by retaining the language of their old country, they are no longer as easily assimilated into that country.
Bilingual education is a concern in other countries as well as in the United States. For example, there is currently a movement in France to ensure that French remains the dominant language and that all citizens learn to speak French. Similarly, many people in the United States feel that we have gone too far as a country in making all other cultures comfortable by printing everything in their native language. The issue raised is that the newcomers don’t have to learn English as everything is printed in multiple native languages. And if they don’t learn English, they will never be fully assimilated into the United States. By creating nationalist cliques in this way, some people say that we may be creating the same kinds of societal problems found in other parts of the world that those who immigrate to the United States often run away from. My personal belief is that children from other cultures who speak other languages at home need to become familiar with English and that English should be the required language for all government affairs.
In summary, bilingual education is not a way to take anything away from American students. In fact, it’s just the opposite. Language is an important part of the learning process. Young students are able to learn a second language early on, which will benefit them greatly in the future. This is why so many school districts are introducing bilingual educational criteria in the lower grades. However, let us all recognize that there are issues we must address in bilingual education, and our schools and society must address these issues fully.
Thanks to Grace McKenna | #Advantages #disadvantages #bilingual #teaching