Case Study for Bilingual Education
Case Study for Bilingual Education
Language is an important part of the human civilisation. For many years, language is considered as the main tool for communication for almost all levels of man, all races, gender and age. The everyday life of man is confronted with knowledge. It is a fascinating necessity as it varies from culture to culture yet many still struggle to learn the language of another just to communicate with the person native of the language. Today, many people use different language, whether native or foreign, to communicate with other people from different race. People tend to use different languages to communicate to other people with different cultures. Some people argued that being bilingual or multilingual is an advantage. But how can we say that a certain individual is a bilingual? Is there any factor to consider that he/she is a bilingual/multilingual? Is there really a need to have a bilingual education? Bilingual education, though sometimes controversial, was found nationwide. In Pennsylvania, German Lutheran churches established parochial schools when public schools would not teach in German; in 1838, Pennsylvania law converted these German schools to public schools. Then, in 1852, a state public school regulation specified that "if any considerable number of Germans desire to have their children instructed in their own language, their wishes should be gratified." (1977). Actually, bilingual education is an instruction in two languages and the use of each language as a medium of instruction for any part of, or the entire school curriculum.
Apparently, provides a good distinction of a multilingual individual:
“A multilingual person, in the broadest definition, is anyone who can communicate in more than one language, be it active (through speaking and writing) or passive (through listening and reading). More specifically, the terms bilingual and trilingual are used to describe comparable situations in which two or three languages are involved, respectively.
Multilingualism could be rigidly defined as being native-like in two or more languages. It could also be loosely defined as being less than native-like but still able to communicate in two or more languages.
Multilingual speakers have acquired and maintained at least one language during childhood, the so-called first language (L1). First languages (sometimes also referred to as mother tongue) are acquired without formal education, by mechanisms heavily disputed. Children acquiring two first languages since birth are called simultaneous bilinguals. Even in the case of simultaneous bilinguals one language usually dominates over the other. This kind of bilingualism is most likely to occur when a child is raised by bilingual parents in a predominantly monolingual environment. ()”
Bilingualism is common in the Ancient World, especially with the Ancient Greece. Latin prevails among the European communities due to the scope of the Ancient Roman Empire. Starting in the sixth century B.C.E, ancient Greeks, for example, penetrated and dominated large areas of the Mediterranean. While they preserved and promulgated Greek language and culture through schooling, they had no interest in replacing local languages with their own (1977).
A helpful definition of bilingual education contrasts it sharply with ESL education. Bilingual education differs from ESL in important ways. Bilingual education uses a non-dominant language as the medium of instruction during some substantial part of the school day ( 1997). On this definition, true bilingual education is only rarely available in English-speaking countries, apart from the extensive French-English bilingual education found in some parts of Canada.
Perhaps the most critical policy decision to be made in any school system is the choice of the language used as the medium of instruction for children. This paper addresses the importance, on social justice grounds, of providing bilingual education to minority language students up to the middle years of childhood or, at the very least, the importance of providing education that fully respects children's minority first languages. It also discusses the range of best practices for teaching English as a Second Language (ESL), and for the education of established linguistic minorities, and the signing Deaf.
Nevertheless, there are important sociological differences that distinguish dominated social class groups from linguistic minorities. For example, most users of a non-standard variety are similar to one another sociologically. In other words, they tend to be members of certain social or racial strata or they inhabit some relatively isolated social space, like an inner-urban environment, or a remote rural region. But in the modern world, the same things apply only rarely to linguistic minorities.
Today, different groups of speakers of a single minority language can extend across the full range of social classes in a society. And the more affluent among them are likely to be fully bilingual in both the dominant and the minority language. Furthermore, speakers of minority languages are often more dispersed geographically than the users of a non-standard variety. Although a chief factor that supports the existence of a minority language is the opportunity it allows people to communicate with family and neighbours, lack of contact with kindred speakers can be offset by the bilingual proficiency that minority language users have to develop. Fluent bilinguals can keep their minority language for use in settings where they feel comfortable about speaking it.
Moreover, many minority language users are distinguished from non-standard speakers by the strong political links they form with fellow-speakers in order to ensure their minority voices are heard. In doing so, they often manage to resist complete dominance by the majority language, and to avoid linguistic assimilation. In contrast, the working class speakers of non-standard varieties are usually without much political power or social organization. Finally, the speakers of immigrant minority languages often have economic links and family connections with people in other countries who use the same language, especially links in the source country for their language
Actually, situational factors are closely related. Language use (linguistic factor) often depends on societal attitudes to the language (social factor). When youngsters become aware of negative attitudes toward their heritage language, they refuse to use it. Restrictions imposed on children due to gender (social) often have their roots in family values (cultural). Negative attitudes toward ethnic groups (social) arise from unfavourable political relations with their countries of origin (political). Financial status of families (economic) may depend on government policies toward particular immigrant groups (political).
These factors affect students through the institutions with which and people with whom they frequently come into contact, called filters. Situational factors colour the advice, attitudes, and pressure that family, peers, and school personnel bring to students. The neighbourhood is the social context students experience daily, and the media are the most accessible way to bring the views of the larger society to children.
The manifestation of these factors is fluid, changing over time and varying from place to place. (1990) maintained that historical background influences societal factors. Today's attitudes toward an ethnic group may be very different from those evident in the past. Present attitudes toward Japanese immigrants contrast sharply with those held at the time of World War II. Research on the academic achievement of students from different ethnic groups reveals differential performance of whole groups in different countries. For example, Finns tend to do poorly in Sweden but not in the United States, whereas Koreans excel in most countries except in Japan.
While the political and ideological debate over language choice for instruction rages, the number of bilingual students in the United States steadily increases. Bilingual programs only serve a small percentage of bilingual students. 1 Many more attend ESL classes, and a majority of bilinguals with low proficiency in English are enrolled in mainstream classes ( 1998). Some students experience success in school, but many do not (2001). Educators, linguists, and social scientists have over the years offered explanations and possible solutions. Blame has been attributed to the students themselves, their homes, schools, or even society. At first students who failed were labelled alingual or nonspeakers because they lacked fluency in English. Later studies attributed failure to the mismatch between the children's language at home and English as the predominant language of instruction ( 2001). By the late 1960s, introduction of the home language in school was considered the solution giving rise to bilingual programs ( 1990).
Presumptions about the students' culture were also offered to explain students' failures. From claims of "cultural deprivation," which branded differences as deficits, researchers moved on to explore discontinuities between students' home and school environments. The way students were enculturated. to learning at home markedly differed with schools' expectations ( 1998). The hope was that by incorporating students' culture in the curriculum and methods teaching, educational performance would be enhanced (1990). A first-grade Spanish-speaking teacher engaged the students in playing a language game as part of the language arts lesson. She allowed for student collaboration, talk, and even maintaining discipline. Although the game assumed competition, the students helped each other without regard for their own chances to win. Language use in this classroom and the nature of the interaction among participants (including the teacher) "seems to match the general language use of the community surrounding the school" (1998). In contrast, the same students working with a teacher unfamiliar with the students' language and culture became quickly bored playing a comparable game. The lesson was rigid and limited to the teacher giving directives and asking questions. Efforts from students to help each other and maintain discipline were misinterpreted, resulting in reprimands and lack of participation from a student who knew no English.
(1995) observed students who succeeded academically in spite of the fact that schools ignored their language and culture. These students were recent immigrants from China, India, and Central America. These families moved to offer their children a better education and better socioeconomic opportunities. Motivated by their hope for the future and a sense of duty to their parents, who sacrificed so much, these students performed admirably in school. Language minority students who are not immigrants and who have seen the doors of success and upward mobility closed to their community generation after generation have no basis for hope in the future. For groups that have been traditionally neglected, the incorporation of their language and culture shows a sense of respect, which in turn breeds trust between school and community. Trust for the intentions of the schools to educate is an important variable ( 2004). Students can succeed in schools that do not consider their language and culture if parents and students trust that these schools are sincerely interested in providing a good education. Erickson gave Catholic and Muslim schools as examples. From this, identifies the advantages and disadvantages of bilingualism (see appendix). The child’s identity, networks of friends and acquaintances, schooling, employment, marriage, preferred area of residence, travel and thinking can be affected by being bilingual, multilingual or monolingual can affect a child's identity. ().
For (2004), neglect of home language and culture may be significant, but more significant are inadequate teaching methodology, unfair assessment, and lack of communication with the community, "result[ing] in the personal and/or academic disabling of minority students" ( ). ( 1987) demonstrated in her research with bilingual high school students that structural and interpersonal barriers block students' integration into mainstream America.
This isolation limits students' chances to develop English and progress academically. (1999) extensive study of Native American communities in the Southwest concluded that linguistic, cultural, economic, political, social, and psychological factors need to be considered to understand educational situations and make decisions on educational policy. Configuration of the languages, strength of religion and culture, employment, government policy, national ideology, socioeconomic status, and attitudes toward languages all need to be taken into account when planning a bilingual program.
Collectively, the research on variables influencing the education of language minority students indicates that multiple situational and individual factors affect students' school performance. Situational factors including linguistic, cultural, economic, political, and social--influence how students of a particular ethnic group are viewed by educators and peers, which in turn determines students' and their families' expectations of schools and how much schools provide for them.
Personal characteristics--especially language, culture, and educational background--influence how bilingual students function in school. Bilinguals' families play a pivotal role in language development, identity formation, and achievement motivation. Educators need to understand how situational factors, personal characteristics, and families affect individual students' education. The type of education schools provide ultimately determines the educational success of bilingual students, but knowledge of such external and internal factors can help school staff better support bilingual learners and their families and understand how these factors are influencing school policy and practice.
The learning of different language is important in today’s setting. The emergence of bilingualism has become a necessity in this period. Recent works on this subject has constantly presented in the literature. This is especially true for those still in schoal, 2000) This apparent need has prompted educational institutions to create several different second language programs that would be able to help students in their learning needs. (2000) further stated that in doing such actions in the educational system, it is inherent that a “language-competent” society will come about.
More often than not when English or any other second language is taught in the classroom setting as a foreign language, the classroom grows to be an imperative background where learners strengthen and build up their language learning. Nonetheless, a number of learners are not disposed to acquire a certain level of risks and interact and participate in the said language classrooms. Consequently, this may hold back their language development.
Communication with the whole family and community
Being bilingual creates a bridge between generations - with grandparents, for example, who may speak Welsh while their grandchild could grow up predominantly speaking English. Being able to communicate between generations helps to build a sense of belonging to the extended family.
Being able to speak Welsh also allows young people who speak Welsh to play a full part in community life in those areas of Wales where the language is widely used.
Where parents each speak a different first language, a child who is bilingual can communicate freely with both, developing a close relationship with each parent. At the same time, both parents are passing to the child a part of their past and their heritage.
Access to two cultures
One of the advantages of being bilingual is having access to two cultures - two different worlds of experience. With a language comes idiom and sayings, folk stories and history, poetry, literature and music, both traditional and contemporary.
Reading and writing in two languages means a bilingual person can enjoy literature in both original languages. This can create a deeper understanding of different traditions and ways of thinking and behaving. The pleasures of reading novels, poetry and magazines and the enjoyment of writing to friends and family are all doubled for bilingual people.
Security in identity
The Welsh language is one of the few things that differentiates Wales from the rest of the UK, and it can be a powerful link between Welsh people everywhere. Everyone in and from Wales can be proud of the language, even if they don't speak it. It belongs to us all.
Tolerance of other languages and cultures
Because two languages give people a wider cultural experience, they often have a greater tolerance of differences in cultures, creeds and customs beyond their own experience.
Benefits for the brain
Research has shown that having two well-developed languages can give people particular advantages in the way they think:
Creative thinking: bilingual children have two or more words for each object and idea, and different meanings are sometimes attached to words by the two languages. This means a bilingual person may develop the ability to think more flexibly not only about words, but about everything.
Sensitivity: bilingual people have to know which language to speak with whom, and when. They therefore appear to be more sensitive to the needs of listeners than monolingual people.
IQ: research from around the world shows that bilingual people tend to do better at IQ tests compared with monolingual people of the same socio-economic class.
reading: bilinguals are less fixed on the sound of words and more on their meaning. Canadian researchers have shown this gives a head start in learning to read.
Children who have two languages tend to do better in the curriculum and to show slightly higher performance in tests and examinations - research from bilingual education systems as far afield as Canada, the USA, the Basque country, Catalonia and Wales shows this. Analysis of examination results in Wales shows that children taught in Welsh medium schools consistently outperform their English-medium equivalents.
Third languages easier
There is growing evidence that bilinguals tend to find it easier to learn a third language. For example, children from countries like Holland, Denmark and Finland often speak three or four languages with ease.
There are growing economic advantages of being bilingual in Wales. A person with two languages will have a wider choice of jobs, as Welsh speakers are increasingly needed in the retail sector, tourism, transport, public relations, banking and accountancy, administration, translation, secretarial work, marketing and sales, the law and teaching. Being bilingual is not a guaranteed meal ticket, but it gives people an additional valuable skill!
Being able to switch naturally between languages make a child feel good about themselves and their abilities. A sense of real ownership of both Welsh and English can do wonders to help raise a child's self-esteem.
When a child's two languages are both poorly developed, and a child can't cope in any part of the school's curriculum, bilingualism can be a cause. Even then, the 'blame' should not go to the bilingual child, but often to societal circumstances that create under developed languages in a child. Problems may also arise in other areas of the curriculum when older children are expected to study other subjects in a language in which they are under developed or below the level demanded in curriculum activity.
Increased parental input
Raising a bilingual child can be more of an effort for their parents. You'll need to engineer a child's bilingual development thoughtfully and creatively - especially if you speak one language yourself - allowing both languages to flourish.
Occasionally, children can feel confused about who they are: if they speak Welsh and English, are they Welsh, English, British, European, Anglo-Welsh? For many parents and children, this is not a problem - they may speak two languages, but they are resolutely identified with one ethnic or cultural group. There are some bilinguals who feel both British and Welsh, and they don't mind being 'culturally hyphenated'! There will be a few others who feel uncomfortable moving between two identities.
Search Our Library. Search by Keyword, Author or Title