In 2001, I arrived in Jackson Heights, Queens, at the age of 15 I was thrown into a bilingual class at Newtown High School. It took me a couples of days to realize that bilingual was just a title. My classes were all in Spanish. How was I supposed to learn in that setting? The bilingual education programs have promise students a good education in their native language, so they wont fall behind in their schoolwork. This program is to provide to teach English as a second language until the students are ready to be in all English class setting. Some people think that having bilingual program will not work but others think that it will work. However, from my personal experiences I believe that having bilingual education is not a good thing.
Among many other reasons, I object this program because of its discriminatory effect on non-English speaking students during the course of their education in the United States. The US is a country comprising many cultural and lingual backgrounds within the same population. English is inarguably the most widely spoken language in the country. This means that other languages and their speakers form minority groups in the state and therefore require special protection from the government. This is especially in the area of education. For growth in a multi-cultural society, the bilingual education program goes against the spirit of the constitution by providing for separation of resources for one group as opposed to the other. The First Amendment provides for the restriction of Congress to legislate on matters that put any group over another, whether religious or otherwise (Krashen, 2015). In my opinion, the creation of schools that teach in a specific language apart from English (and do not offer sufficient training in the English learning, as was my experience) amounts to discrimination based on race and cultural background. As such, this program should be scrapped in its entirety.
Furthermore, this separation of students till such a time as they would become conversant with the English language has adverse effects on the students. This is because the students being kept together speaking, for example, Chinese will be more likely to use Chinese in the course of learning. This means that the learning of the English language will suffer. In addition, such students will most likely be in the same class and have the same circle of friends. This means that the language of communication will most probably be their first language (Lipka, 2002). This means that the learning of the English language becomes quite challenging because of the comfort zone that the learners have in themselves. Scholars in the area have faulted the use of the first language in the school setting as this is an element of personal life that is being brought as a tool for public identity development. While the advantages have seen the absorption of many learners into the American system, beneficiaries fault the approach of the schools stating that it may hinder possible advancements that the child would have made in a different setting because of getting too used to the school environment by speaking their native language. Fluency in self-expression in the public is largely dependent on the ability to learn the public language. This is something that has been slowed down in bilingual schools. By reason of this, the learner has late development of their social skills in the foreign country.
Many parents in America also want their children taught in English regardless of their country of origin. This was according to a survey conducted by the Center of Equal Opportunity. Many parents thought that the children learning in English would increase their chances for equality of education as opposed to the bilingual approach used in such schools. A total of over 80 per cent preferred when coursework was taught in English, while 63 per cent of non-English speaking parents preferred when their children began learning in English as soon as practically possible. In my opinion, children are highly malleable and can quickly learn the English language once they move to the United StatesCITATION Ros98 \l 1033 (Porter, 1998). Furthermore, they are at the prime of the learning process and can easily accommodate a new language and norms. This opens us to the idea that there is a possibility that the children can indeed begin by learning in English, or going through Basic English classes as they engage in normal learning. This ensures that there is constant learning of the English language for them, rather than subjecting them to unnecessary delays that are occasioned through the bilingual learning process. Furthermore, my experience proved to me that the lessons were entirely in my local language. If this is the case in other bilingual schools, then I would say that the education system is highly underestimating the childs ability to quickly learn the English language. Parents are of the same opinion.
In conclusion, I would say that the bilingual system of schools should be scrapped because they delay the learning process of the child, especially in the English language, they are discriminatory in nature and a majority of parents dont think this program is beneficial.
BIBLIOGRAPHY Krashen, S. (2015). Why Bilingual Education. Retrieved from ericdigest.org: www.ericdigest.org/1997-bilingual.html
Lipka, S. (2002). The Battle over Bilingual Education. Retrieved from The Atlantic Online: www.theatlantic.com/past/docs/unbound/flashbks.html
Porter, R. (1998). The Case against Bilingual Education. Retrieved from The Atlantic Online: www.theatlantic.com/past/issues/98may/billing.html
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