Bilingual Education

This essay has a total of 3378 words and 16 pages.

Bilingual Education

Table of Contents

I. Abstract

II. Chapter II Literature Review

A. Background information on bilingual education

B. Two-way bilingual programs
1) Criteria

2) Literature of Review

III. References


While the debate on benefits of bilingual education in the United States has continued

and different programs to improve bilingual education have been developed, the two-way

immersion program may be the most effective, in terms of English achievement. The

two-way model promotes achievement both academically and linguistically for both

language majority and minority students in the same classroom. This model has been

Receiving attention among educators and will be the subject of this review of bilingual


Chapter II Literature Review
With Hispanics making up more than fifty percent of the language minority
population of the United States (cited in Winster, Diaz, Espinosa, & Rodriguez, 1999),
Spanish remains the most prevalent target language in U.S. bilingual programs Christian,
1996). There are more than thirty million language minority individuals that reside in
the United States, with an estimated projection of forty million by the end of the century
(Fitzgerald, 1993). Christian (1996) indicates that there is a growing concern for the
target language maintenance and development. With English being as powerful and
dominant as it is, the minority language is fighting for its very survival especially with
adolescent students. The students must negotiate between their bilingual system and
other complex systems such as peer interactions, self-esteem, and the education system
itself as a whole to keep the minority language alive (Soto, 1992).
Societal attitudes towards two languages by native English speakers are attributed to
the lack of progress in Spanish (Graham & Brown, 1996). The debate about the benefits
of bilingual education in the United States has continued for more than twenty years
During this time the focus has been to help those students identified as being L.E.P. or
limited in English proficiency by obtaining the best programs that will help them succeed
in school (Medina & Escamilla, 1994 ). One of the major sources of controversy in the
field of bilingual education is when to move students into English-language instruction
( Gersten & Woodward, 1995 ), and which types of programs with which types of children
are most effective in facilitating English language acquisition and/or native language
maintenance (August & Hakusta, 1997; Garcia et al, 1995; Hakusta & Gould. 1987; cited
in Winster. Diaz. Espinosa. & Rodriguez. 1999).

Two-way bilingual programs
The earliest two-way programs began in the 1960's and 1970's. "Immersion programs
were a radical educational experiment when they were first introduced" (Genesse, 1994). It has only been over the past decade that there has been greater interest in the two-way immersion model. The increasing interest in the two-way immersion model is most likely due to the convergence of bilingual education research. It has indicated that extended native language development has positive educational outcomes for language minority students. Research on the most effective forms of bilingual education (usually in terms of English achievement) suggests that two-way programs may be the best. Two-way bilingual education has been described in a National study as "the program with the highest long-term academic success" (Thomas & Collier, 1997, p. 52). "Two-way bilingual education programs show strong potential for high academic achievement by lessening social distance and unequal social status relations between majority and minority language students"(Gonzalez & Maez. 1995).
The students' success in these programs is undoubtedly due to a number of factors. These include opportunities for linguistic minority students to assume strong peer leadership roles in the classroom, an emphasis on grade- level academic instruction in both languages, sustained support for and use of multicultural curricula, and opportunities for non-English-speaking parents to form close partnerships with the school staff as well as with other parents
Students are learning through two languages in programs that aim to develop dual
language proficiency along with academic achievement. Because the two-way model promotes and language minority students in the same classroom, it has begun to receive attention of the national. state. and local levels as an effective way to educate language minority and majority students Lindholm, 1992; Christian, 1996).
A set of factors have been identified by Lindholm ( 1990).
These factors are essential forsuccessful two-way immersion education
The criteria that have been identified are:
1. Programs should provide a minimum of 4 to 6 years of bilingual instruction to participating students.
2. The focus of instruction should he the same core academic curriculum that
students in other programs experience.
3. Optimal language input (input that is comprehensible, interesting, and of
sufficient quantity) as well as opportunities for output should be provided to
students, including quality language arts instructions in both languages.
5. The target (non-English) language should be used for instruction a minimum
of 50% of the time (to a maximum of90% in the early grades) and English
should be used at least 10% of the time.
6. The program should provide an additive bilingual environment where all
students have the opportunity to learn an L2 while continuing to develop
their L 1 proficiency
7. Classrooms should include a balance of students from the target language
and English backgrounds who participate in instructional activities together.
8. Positive interactions among students should be facilitated by the use of
strategies such as cooperative learning.
Characteristics of effective schools should be incorporated in to programs
Such as qualified personnel and home-school collaboration (cited in Christian,
1996, p.68).
"Two-way bilingual programs have attempted to provide the opportunity for both
language minority and majority children to develop biliteracy by including English speakers as part of their student population. The goal of most two-way programs is to bring Spanish
speakers and English speakers to full bilingualism" (Jones, 1994, p.81 ). Two-way immersion
programs provide an effective approach to educating the growing number of nonnative speaking students in an additive bilingual environment that promotes L 1 and English language development, as well as academic progress (Christian, 1996 )
The two-way immersion programs provide content area instruction and language
development in both languages. In order to achieve the full benefits of two-way immersion
education, students from the two-language backgrounds are in each class, and they are integrated for most or all of their content instruction. Two-way programs provide an environment that promotes positive attitudes toward both languages and cultures and is supportive of full bilingual proficiency for both native and nonnative speakers of English Christian, 1996).
The distribution of two-languages of instruction varies from program to program.
"The languages are typically kept separate in one of three-ways (or a combination of them): (a) by content area (e.g., social studies and math are taught in English); (b) by time (e.g., instruction is in each language on alternative days ), ( c ) by person ( e.g., one teacher uses only Cantenese and another uses only English)" Christian, 1996, p.70)
Bilingual/immersion has been constructed on four theoretical and conceptual building
blocks to meet the language and academic needs of both native and nonnative speakers of
English. These include "1) social context of language education, 2) effective schools, 3)
language development and 4) relation between language and thought"(Lindholm. 1992. 0.196)

Cortes (1986) and Troike (1978) state that the social context of language education refers to the attitudes and policies that are held regarding the language education program and its
participants, can positively or negatively influence a programs outcomes ( cited in Lindholm,
"Bilingual/immersion education, then, is built on providing the language learner
with the most positive social context in which both linguistic minority and majority
students can benefit from an additive bilingualism environment; in which students
develop in a social context in which both languages and cultures are equally valued
and all students are treated equally; and in which students are integrated in a natural
fashion to promote positive cross-cultural attitudes and psychosocial development,
and higher levels of second language development and academic development"
(Lindholm, 1992, p.200 & 201).
Edmonds (1983), Linney and Seidman (1989), have identified several characteristics of
effective schools. These include "( I ) a principal who is a good leader and shows leadership
through concern for the quality of instruction (2) an instructional focus that is understood by all (3) an orderly and safe environment conducive to teaching and learning (4) teacher expectations and behaviors that demonstrate to the students that the students must obtain at least some minimal level ofmastery (5) the use of student achievement as the basis ofprogram evaluation' ( cited in Lindholm, 1992, p. 201). Successful bilingual/immersion programs, then require effective and supportive administrative leadership teachers with high expectations for
achievement of all students, and actual integration within the total school program. In addition, they must be viewed as long-term enrichment programs, as opposed to temporary compensatory programs, and receive an equitable share of resources. High quality educational materials in both languages and appropriate staff training are also essential for an enrichment program to develop high levels of student competence in two languages Lindholm, 1992)
Genesee (1987) states that individuals who begin second language learning early are
more likely than those who begin later to achieve native-like levels of proficiency in their second language particularly if given exposure to the language in extracurricular settings (cited in Lindholm, 1992). Bilingual/immersion education is grounded in language acquisition research in several respects. First, it is based on the premise that considerable language learning can occur naturally during non-language arts classes, such as mathematics or social studies which is similar to first language acquisition in which children communicate with each other about non- language related issues (Genesee,1984, cited in Lindholm. 1992). Second the learner can progress according to his or her own rate and style again in much the same way that first language learners do (Genesee, 1987, cited in Lindholm. 1992)
Third based on research regarding language learning and age, it has been argued that early immersion in a second language can facilitate a child's second language learning by taking advantage of his or her special neurolinguistic, psycholinguistic, and cognitive capacities to learn language (Genesee 1984; Lambert, 1984

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