Main Objectives and Effectiveness of Bilingual Education

(1) Title – Main Objectives and Effectiveness of Bilingual Education.

(2) Thesis – Today, bilingual education, being the most preferred method of instruction to limited-English-proficient children, helps non-English-speaking young people to form multicultural competence, to realize their cultural and ethnic identity, to develop personality, and to overcome learning difficulties they can face in school.

(3) Bilingual education is the use of the native language to instruct limited-English-proficient children. The main objectives of bilingual education are to teach non-English-speaking pupils to read and write in their native tongue and to teach them the content of their native language, gradually transposing them to English (Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, 1987). This kind of bilingual education is called transpositional, and apart from it, there are some other bilingual approaches to education. Although bilingual education is rather controversial, it is accepted at all levels of government and is considered the most preferred method of instruction to English learners. Still, the questions like why bilingual education works and what objectives it has are carefully considered by scholars.

(4) In recent decades, a tendency to multicultural education in the USA has become more urgent, and that is why the search for the most effective educational approaches is more substantial and grounded. What is more, it is necessary to understand the purpose of these approaches with all their advantages and disadvantages as the main task of educational system is to make the process of learning effective and meaningful.

(5) One of the most important ways for realization of the main educational objectives is the formation of multicultural approach to the language learning. Bilingual education plays the key role in multicultural society as it deals not only with language and knowledge but with other aspects of public life as well. Bilingual education is closely connected to the civil rights because it guarantees the education in the native language. Of course, language cannot be learnt without learning the culture of people who speak it. Language reflects not only the lingual fragment of reality but also the lifestyle of the certain ethnicity, national character, system of values, mentality, and collective conscious in general (Hakuta, 1986).

Thus, bilingual education is essential for the formation of multicultural competence. For minorities, bilingual education is a kind of specific circumstance that helps them to realize their cultural and ethnic identity, to develop personalities, to improve and simplify the process of social mobility/adaptation, to overcome learning difficulties.

Bilingual education gives children from English-speaking families an opportunity to learn a second language, to get acquainted with new cultures and new social environment. Language learning is accompanied by learning culture of another ethnicity, and it develops respect and tolerance towards others.

Nowadays, bilingual education is being improved, and among the measures taken are the formation of the society, which is competent in languages, the distraction of barriers on the way to perfect mastery of English, developing of multicultural competence of teachers, the expansion of the usage of bilingual programs, and attracting pupils with different levels of English (Von Maltitz, 1975). Besides, it is important to attract the attention of society to political and economic advantages of bilingual education.

There is no doubt that comparing to monolingual education and other alternatives (submersion, English as a second language, and structured emersion), bilingual education has many advantages (Epstein, 1977). First, it stimulates and develops bilingual worldview and has positive impact on the preservation of the extinct languages of small minority groups. Second, bilingual education increases the status of ethnical minorities and strengthens their positions in the society. Besides, it can indirectly influence the motivation of pupils and decrease the number of those pupils who leave schools.

Summing up, bilingual education is one of the most effective programs for learners who speak English as second language. It develops respect to the language diversity, other dialects, cultures, ethnic groups, and religions. The usage of intensive methods in bilingual education saves time and leads to the intensification of educational process (Burkheimer, Conger, Dunteman, Elliott, Mowbray, 1989). It is true that intensive learning of English promotes mastery in international competence. The impact of bilingual approach on the educational system in general is obvious as American scholars evaluate its results, understand the existing problems, and search for their solutions.

(6) This research was guided by the following questions:

  • What is bilingual education?
  • What are the main objectives of bilingual education?
  • Why does bilingual education work?
  • Is it effective?
  • What are the alternatives of bilingual education?
  • What are the advantages of bilingual education comparing to other approaches?
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