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Bilingual Education and Bilingualism - Article Example

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Bilingualism is defined as the ability to communicate naturally, confidently and effortlessly in more than one language in all areas of life. As a result, individuals that are fluent in more than one language are called bilingual and they have numerous advantages in, personal and cognitive areas, as well as communication and cultural benefits.
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Bilingual Education and Bilingualism

Download file to see previous pages... Among other benefits, bilingual people are also better able to deal with distractions, and the learning of other language improve listening skills and memory (Bilingual Families Perth, 2003; Kern, 2006; Benefits, online website)
If thinking of communication and cultural benefits the list of advantages is abundant, especially today when the world is so well communicated through the technology and the media transportation. The study of other language gives the perspective and understanding of other cultures and traditions around the world. Furthermore, worldwide business requires more and more professionals that are proficient in more than one language.
There is a big debate among educators and politicians on the best way to introduce the second language to the children. This has been especially important in some USA regions where the Spanish Latin American children are migrants with no previous knowledge of English and attending school with no understanding of the language. The main debate in this aspect goes to which is the fastest and better way to teach the English language to the non-speaking migrant children.
There are
There are different approaches to face this learning process, and the bilingual method of having both, first and second language simultaneously vs. only English, are the most important ways to consider. The bilingual method of having first and second language simultaneously has different ways to be implemented, according with the program on which the children are exposed. Some have different percentage of hours with the first and second language, equal number of hours in both, or only some classes in both languages. The second method, on which the only one allowed in the classes is English, has the first language only for clarifying some concept, but the final reply from the student must be in English. This second approach is the one that is more controversial in some USA states. More specifically, the states of California, Arizona and Massachusetts have passed a policy requesting that migrant children should be taught English by being taught in English using the all English approach of Structured English Immersion (SEI) program (MacSwan & Pray, 2005). The politicians that support this policy are convinced that young immigrant children can learn very fast a second language (English in this case) if they are heavily exposed to the language at school. The ambition of SEI program is to allow the children to become capable and skillful enough in English to do well in all classes and social opportunities. The skills taught through this approach include reading, writing, listening and speaking. In this program it is expected that teachers are able to understand the first language of the child, as a way of clarification and/or interpretation of key concepts. The child is also allowed to address the teacher on his/her first language, but the final answer or reply must be in English (English First ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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