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Bilingual Education Curriculum - Essay Example

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In 1900, Kloss (1998) reported there were about 600,000 elementary school children instructed either in part or in whole in German and no legislation aided English to survive. There are more languages spoken in the United States today (Crawford, 1998) with English growing to become the global language…
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Bilingual Education Curriculum
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Download file to see previous pages It is then necessary to lay down the reasons why despite several convincing arguments on the effectiveness of bilingual education, the arguments and debates continue. And to shed light on the cloudy controversy, Crawford (1998) presented the ten misconceptions or common fallacies about bilingual education as follows:
1. English is losing ground to other languages in the United States. More of a panic view than an empirical one, Crawford (1998) acknowledged that there are more world languages spoken in the US now more than ever but quantitative, he argued and not a qualitative change from earlier periods. He pointedly added the concentrations of non-English language speakers common in the 19th century provided for by laws authorizing native language instruction in several states and territories. Children in big cities and rural areas attended bilingual and non-English schools with a diversity of French, Norwegian, Czech or Cherokee while "English survived without any help from government such as official-language legislation," (Crawford, 1998).
2. Newcomers to the United States are learning English more slowly now than in previous generations. Another unfounded belief, Crawford (1998) argued that recent immigrants "appear to be acquiring English more rapidly than ever before" while minority language speakers grow, bilinguals fluent in both native and English language "is growing even faster. Waggoner (1995) reported that between 1980 and 1990, the number of immigrants who spoke non-English languages at home increased by 59%, while the portion of this population that spoke English very well rose by 93% . Likewise, Crawford (1998) added that only 3 percent of US residents reported speaking English less (as compared to well and very well) while only a very insignificant portion spoke no English at all. Also, Veltman (1998) found that about 3 in 4 Hispanic immigrants were reportedly able to speak English on a daily basis after 15 years of residency, and that 70 percent of their children became monolingual English speakers
3. The best way to learn a language is through total immersion. Rodriguez (1982) and de la Pea (1991) were often cited to have "succeeded in school without a special program and acquired a very high level of English literacy," (Krashen, 1997) but it was found out, both had substantial advantages. Rodriguez grew up in an English-Speaking neighborhood in Sacramento, California instrumental in his informal immersion from classmates while de la Pea had the bilingual education advantage in Mexico until fifth grade, and was placed two grades backwards in his schooling in the United States. Crawford (1998) further argued "there is no credible evidence to support the "time on task" theory of language learning-- the claim that the more children are exposed to English, the more English they will learn" emphasizing quality over quantity of exposure while Krashen (1996) pointed out that second language input must also be comprehensible to promote second language acquisition. Crawford (1998) added that children left alone to learn on their own in an all-English classroom setting with little or without help via native lessons, English learning will be of little use. And that native instruction will make learning ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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