Considering the diversity nature of students in any classroom scenario, it is important for the teaching orientation to adopt a variety of mechanisms, which will ensure there is satisfaction of all learner needs. In addition, because the quest for education goes beyond national borders, it is important for different governments to adopt appropriate teaching mechanisms in their educational curriculums, which are important in ensuring the set curriculum meets both the local and international students’ needs.
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On the other hand, it is important for all individuals or governments to note that, most nationalities base their curriculum on the English language; something that is discriminatory to some extent, on students whose primary language is not English.
Considering this, and the fact that any educational curriculum; regardless of the country, aims to achieve equality and prepare learners for future their roles; in a competitive and ever-changing job market, it is important for governments to accept the bilingual education concept. This is because it, integrates the cultural diversity concept, which is essential for survival in any cultural environment (Spring pp. 204-215).
Why Adopt Bilingual Education
Majority of schools, colleges, and higher learning institutions; be they national or international, offer educational curriculums, whose language of presentation is primarily English. Considering this, one question always lacks appropriate answers; do such curriculums encompass the needs of learners whose first tongue is not English?
Although majority of individuals may argue that, some schools have English orientation classes for such students; still another question arises; what is the appropriateness of such orientation programs, considering their straining nature and time needed for such programs? Yes, the argument that majority of bilingual programs lack appropriate measurement criteria, and that most of them have additional costs is right; however, is the cost worth the quantity of knowledge learnt, in case a government integrates such a course in its curriculum?
One main objective, which any educational curriculum should aim to achieve is promotion of learners’ inherent abilities, hence, making it a necessity for such programs to integrate the diversity concept in all their curriculums. From an ethical dimension or humanly arguing, it is utterly wrong for any educator to constrain learners’ inherent abilities, only because an educational curriculum discourages the adoption of bilingual education.
This is because; failure by such curriculums to provide the language diversity concept not only violates learners’ educational rights, but also to a larger extent affects the nature of relationships between different nationalities, societies, and families (Baker pp. 99-112).
Cultural diversity is one of main concepts, which determines the productivity of any society, whereby communication is necessary. Therefore, because language plays a central role in any cultural scenario, it is important for societies to encourage the integration of other languages in their cultural practices. This is because; such integrations are very important and counter-productive not only to the natives of such minority societies, but also to the host communities.
This is due to the fact that, such integrations give such communities opportunities of actively participating in global social-economic activities. On the other hand, it is important to note here that, such integrations are crucial elements for globalization to achieve its goals (Porter, pp. 87-93)
In all spheres of life, it is very important for individuals, governments, and even organizations to respect all individuals’ rights, where learners’ educational rights are not an exception. National identity is one of the primary concepts that any society should embrace; hence, making it necessary for all policy makers to encompass the bilingual concept in any curriculum formulated.
In addition, Mother tongue languages are primary aspects of any cultural identity; hence, discouraging adoption of such a concept to some extent, may contribute to racism; because of the cultural superiority concept within most global societies.
On the other hand, the concept of bilingualism is very important, when it comes to development of ability in learners. This is because; the entire concept gives learners an opportunity of having a deeper comprehending of concepts as they go through all the stages of learning. In addition, the concept is crucial in the language developing process, for it gives them a chance of contrasting what they know and what other language expresses, as concerns the organization of reality.
It is also important to note that, mother tongue forms the basis of any “foreign” language development. This is because; research findings show that, native languages give a foundation for vocabulary formation, owing to the fact that, there exists a great interdependency between an individual’s primary and secondary language (Baker pp. 143-156).
The argument by many antagonist of bilingual education that, adoption of such a system may have negative impacts on the development of primary institutional language is wrong. This is due to the fact that, success of any bilingual education programs depends on the adopted implementation measures, which are primary determinants of the nature of outcomes from such a system.
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In addition, such an argument may be wrong primarily because, there is some equivalence in learning of concepts in both languages. That is, concepts in the native languages give learners potentialities of developing academic abilities, which are crucial for second language concept acquisition. On the other hand, it is important to note that, most bilingual education programs run parallel to the normal English learning or such programs are only there to enhance or boost the acquisition of the secondary language.
Practically, it is very hard for any individual to learn new concepts without having to correlate them with previously acquired knowledge in such fields. Hence, in most cases, it is very hard for “foreign” students to learn appropriately in a foreign setting, communication being the primary determinant of any curriculum success (Baker pp. 261-284).
In classroom scenarios, the achievement of learning objectives depends on the level of motivation of students. In addition, student attitudes also play an important role, when it comes to achievement of classroom objectives more so in learning of a secondary language.
Considering these facts, it therefore becomes necessary for government to integrate the bilingual concept in their education curriculum primarily because, mastery of the secondary language depends on learners’ attitudes towards the culture such a language is trying to assimilate them to, as concerns its concepts.
This goes hand in hand with self-esteem development in that, suppressing the expression of their native languages implies that, such learners will have low self-esteem towards learning due to likelihoods of inferiority concept (Corson and Cummings pp. 132-134).
In conclusion, although this form or education receives a lot of antagonism, it is important to note that, adoption of this teaching orientation is not only important to the minority groups within the society but also to the society itself. This is because; such a system guarantees any society’s native citizenry a chance of acquainting themselves into the global markets.
In addition, there is a lot that a native society can learn from such minority groups within its environs (concepts that most individuals more learners will find important in their future, as they endeavor to utilize their expertise in any global market). On the other hand, because the success of such programs depends on the implementation policies, it is very important for governments to reformulate and adopt workable policies, which must go hand in hand with enough funding and support.
Primary mechanisms that governments can use to ensure such programs succeed include adopting such programs using the immersion orientation; where an instructor can use a number of languages in expressing concept whereby, incase this fails, it is important for minority students to have support-learning programs.
Baker, Colin. Foundations of bilingual education and bilingualism (4th e.d). Bristol: Multilingual Matters, 2006. Print.
Corson, David and Cummins, Jim. Bilingual education. Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers, 1997. Print.
Porter, Rosalie. Forked tongue: the politics of bilingual education. New Jersey: Transaction Publishers, 1999. Print.
Spring, Joel. The intersection of cultures: multiculturalism education in the United States and the global community (3rd e.d). New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2006. Print.
A Synopsis of These Books
Baker, Colin. Foundations of bilingual education and bilingualism (4th e.d). Bristol: Multilingual Matters, 2006.
This book gives the foundation of most basic concepts associated with bilingual education and the concept of bilingualism. In its chapters, the author has critically analyzed how societies have interpreted this concept, and how such interpretations have affected the acceptance of the concept in such societies. To make the reader fully, understand the concept of bilingualism, the author explores the concept from four main perspectives namely: childhood development and bilingual education, concepts of bilingual education and general effects in a classroom scenario, the ideological perspective, and the political concepts associated with the concept. Through these different interpretations, the author makes the concept clear to the reader hence, posing a challenge to the reader on whether to accept the concept or not.
Corson, David and Cummins, Jim. Bilingual education. Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers, 1997.
The book explores the interdisciplinary nature of language in relation to education whereby, it presents current research findings on bilingual education; hence, clarifying most issues that individuals associate with bilingual education. To educate the reader on the concept of bilingual education, the authors of the book have explored the concept from a multi-cultural dimension, by comparing the success and failures of this form of education in various countries. In addition to adoption of bilingual education to a classroom of “normal” learners, the author explores the concept from a perspective of learners with disabilities; hence, clearly illustrating the importance of such form of education in all classroom scenarios. On the other hand, the book also has discussed mechanisms, which governments can use for this form of education system to work hence, not only is the book valuable to students, but also its important to other scholars and policy makers.
Rosalie. Forked tongue: the politics of bilingual education. New Jersey: Transaction Publishers, 1999.
This book offers fist hand information on failures of bilingual education. Through analyzing her personal experience in a school and class that used the bilingual education orientation, the writer presents a strong argument in opposing this form of education, although at some point she supports it. Although to the author, such a system is cumbersome, the book explores ways in which schools can integrate concepts of bilingualism in their daily endeavors, as schools endeavor to embrace the equality concept. In addition, the book discusses the role of politics in either failing or making sure the system succeeds in whichever country the system is operational hence, a good book for both learners and policy makers.
Spring, Joel. The intersection of cultures: multiculturalism education in the United States and the global community (3rd e.d). New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
The books main objective is to provide a guideline to policy makers and schools, on how to implement the bilingual education concept successfully. It achieves this by exploring this concept from a multi-cultural perspective; whereby, the author discusses both the cultural and educational significance of bilingual educations. This books can be an important resource to teachers who teach in schools, which have adopted this form of education primary because, it gives guiding tips on the implementation of this form of education is any multi-cultured classroom.