Bilingual Education is a program set out to educate student in their first language and build their acquisition of another language. This can be built by core subjects being taught in their first language such as literacy which in the long run will build their background knowledge and make their second language comprehensible.
Their has been recent evidence against bilingual education. A LA study was done using 227 students in all- English immersion class. An article appearing in the Los Angeles Times on January 12, 1999 headline proclaimed: “LA students take to English immersion” and the first paragraph said, “ teachers are delivering promised reports that their children are learning English more quickly than anticipated.” The rest of the study demonstrates how only 13 interviews were collected within the Los Angeles Unified School District to present this evidence. This led them to believe that children were picking up “verbal English” but were still falling behind in their core studies.
The researcher states, “ The biggest problem in my view, is the absence of books, in both the first and second language, in the lives of students in these programs.” Those who report that they read more read better and write better (Krashen, 1993), and students who participate in free reading activities in school (e.g., sustained silent reading) show superior literacy development when compared to students who do not (Krashen, 1993: Elley, 1998). Free voluntary reading can help all components of bilingual education: It is a source of comprehensible input in English, and it develops knowledge in the child’s first language. Families that are economically and financially stable have more access to books. The average Hispanic family with limited English proficient children has about 26 books in their home (Ramirez, Yuen, Ramey, and Pasta, 1991). This is the total number of books in their home including cookbooks or dictionaries. Schools should provide more opportunities for enriching the print environment and bridging this great need to improve bilingual education.
I believe students need to have a print rich environment both in the classroom and in their homes. This will not only make them stronger readers but will help students not lose their heritage language. Instead, promote a strong basis for developing their second language. Conversational English can be learned everyday, but academic language needs to be learned at school.
A good bilingual education program develops the first language and aids the academic language that is taught in subject matters to increase English proficiency. By using their background knowledge students can transfer the information in their primary language and develop their second language. Students who are confident in their heritage language will see the benefits and not want to lose their first language. They won’t conform to their second language, instead will become more fluent in their L1 to improve their L2.
BILINGUAL EDUCATION, THE ACQUISTIONOF ENGLISH, AND THE RETENTION ANDLOSS OF SPANISHResearcher: Stephen KrashenOlga VelazquezED 593 Readings in Education
BILINGUAL & ENGLISH DEVELOPMENT:RESEARCHER: Stephen Krashen at the University of Southern California
BILINGUAL & ENGLISH DEVELOPMENT:INTRODUCTION Primary language Subjects Knowledge Literacy
BILINGUAL & ENGLISH DEVELOPMENT:EVIDENCE LA study 227 successful children English immersion SAT9 scores
BILINGUAL & ENGLISH DEVELOPMENT:CONCLUSIONS Argument: Absence of Books Conclusions: Free Voluntary reading Access to books in any language Enriching print environment
BILINGUAL & ENGLISH DEVELOPMENT:CONTRIBUTION Building a print- rich environment Heritage language Embracing their second language Academic language
BILINGUAL & ENGLISH DEVELOPMENT:SUMMARY Bilingual Education aids Academic English Literacy in first language transfers to English Background Knowledge builds English Loss of Heritage Language
REFERENCES: Krashen, Stephen. Bilingual Education, the Acquisition of English, and the Retention and loss of Spanish. A Roca (Ed.), Somerville, MA: Cascadilla Press, 2000. http://www.languagepolicy.net/archives/Krashen 7.htm Krashen, Stephen. 1993. The power of Reading. Englewood, CO: Libraries Unlimited.