Living in a world on the move, it may well turn out that tomorrow the next-door neighbors of a certain family will be persons who speak what to them is a foreign tongue. For political, economic and social reasons, as well as to further their education, people are relocating themselves in all parts of the globe. Perhaps there is already a foreign-speaking population where you live. Truly, East, West, North and South are meeting as never before. So if the children come running home with the exciting announcement, “Dad!
Mom! We have a new playmate who doesn’t even talk the way we do,” parents might seriously begin to consider teaching their children to speak another language. Before closing one’s mind completely to the prospect, however, consider this fact: Talking to native speakers is one of the best “teachers” there is. As one is acquainted with them, extending hospitality, an individual will also be able to learn something about their language, and this will enable the parents to teach their children.
Indeed, in a global brotherhood that the world is involved with today, it is essential for people to at least learn two or more languages that is widely used by people around the world. This is mainly to be able to catch up with the growing need for language experts in the professional world. However, the question is, when should bilingual education begin? According to Psychologist Dennis Coon, “the best time of teaching a person how to speak is from the belly of his mother beginning during the pregnancy years” (34).
How is this possible? It has been learned through research that children, even when they are still inside the uterus could already interact with the world outside. Moreover, as the infant is born, talking to him in straight words without baby talking seriously developed early speaking skills on many growing babies today. (Coon, 36) It is also according to the authorities that the most effective time of teaching a child to speak his language and at least another one is during the first four formative years of the child’s life.
Hence, it is indeed vital to start as early as first year of the baby’s life. A child’s first formative years is the highest capacity of a young mind to grasp the lessons being learned. However, some issues need to be addressed when bilingual education is being discussed. Scope of the Problem In many parts of educational development, bilingual education is treated as learning for non-American students. The use of their native language along with the inculcation of English to their vocabulary is the main aim of this program.
According to educators, this is more likely an ESL program that would indeed assist foreign nationals living in the American territories to adapt to the society, especially with regards to children who are born in America. This would help the non-Americans to be ‘one’ with the American community in terms of language. To the educators, this is a way by which America could be able to overcome ethnic differences in the country. However, some language experts say that this is not an easy task for early childhood educators.
The fact is that at times, some students come to the American region with a fluency on their native language already and thus may not have so much interest in knowing other languages more. Aside form this, according to some ‘English Only’ advocates, “bilingualism would only lead to an ethnic line of division between the nationalistic views of the natives of America” (Internet). The Pros of the Issue on Bilingual Education Implementation
Many educators are indeed amiable that bilingual education is an essential part of learning especially with children who are of different ethnic society in the United States. Many professional early child education experts consider that through the utilization of bilingualism in the educational systems, children would become more concern and highly, in connection with their environment because of their language. The following are some of the facts that support the said claims of education experts:
• Children’s preparedness in facing the society with confidence lies in their ability to speak their thoughts in a way that their peers would understand them. Hence, for ethnic groups in the United States, learning n\bilingual language is necessary for them to be able to get along well with the American society. • Bilingual education has been proven to sharpen the minds of the young students. The fact that their thinking ability is still budding, learning languages is one of the best ways to develop a young person’s mind through challenging education.
• Understanding what the world talks about and being able to respond is an essential part of a person’s life. This factor of being accepted in the society in a simple way f being understood because of language is a great potential for producing confident individuals in the future. The Cons of the Issue Although the fine part of the programmed education has already been laid, not all educators agree of that the bilingual education program would simply do its purpose.
To them, the other side of the issue may bring disaster to the American society. How? The details regarding this are as follows: • Teaching the ethnic groups on the use of perfect English language may make their groups stronger that they would be able to rebel against the rules of the law at times that these laws would not be amiable to their wants. • Since the native language of the ethnic groups of the American Society would be used, it could be noticed that there could be a possibility of the lost nationalistic idea in teaching.
Some American students may want to learn other languages that may affect their own personalities. As obviously seen, these reasons of the bilingual education implementation’s ineffective effects to the American society may be true, yet at some points exaggerated. It could be observed that by being able to balance the values that bilingual education implies, the said system of teaching young students could as well be beneficial not only for the pupils themselves but also for the whole American community. What Early Childhood Educators Need To Know
There are necessary guidelines though that educators need to know when teaching bilingual education to children. The said guidelines are as follows: • Bilingual education helps in the mind-development of handicapped children. (Internet) If incase the class that an educator is supposed tot each involves handicapped children, he must be able to recognize that learning bilingual knowledge is vital for their growth and development as a person of ‘worth’, hence, he should continuously encourage them in learning their lessons well.
• Teaching bilingual education requires close interaction with the students, especially with those who are having a hard time coping up with the changes. This has to be done for the educator to be assured that the students under his supervision are learning something from his teachings. • Quality is more important than quantity exposure to the English Language. A child’s ability to speak correctly depends not on the times he is exposed to English speaking people but on the correct teachings of his educators in his class.
• ESL is taught more efficiently in natural situations. This means that children are forced to use English when they are faced with situations that require them to do so. With these guidelines, Early childhood educators would be equipped with the necessary points of consideration they have to remember during their teaching sessions. Resources for Early Childhood Educators To be able to meet the challenges of teaching bilingual education to young students, the government of the United States of America provided necessary resources that are available for teachers to utilize.
Aside form these, numerous books are also available for study basis on this issue. As for example, Peter Woods’ “Multicultural Children in the Early Years: Creative Teaching, Meaningful Learning” talks about the necessary factors of consideration that educators should remember upon meeting Multicultural Children in their class. Meanwhile, Tony Cline features several effective curriculum for bilingual education, which were used and proven effective by other educators in his book “Curriculum Related Assessment, Cummins and Bilingual Children”.
Likewise, Angela Carraasquillo’s “Teaching the Bilingual Special Education Student”, gives guidelines on the teaching methods that could be inculcated in the nature of teaching of the educators to their young students. Finally, Norbert Francis’ “Language and Literacy Teaching for Indigenous Education: A Bilingual Approach”, helps the educators overcome cultural differences during the entire course of bilingual education instruction processes. By utilizing the said resources, the educators would surely gain the necessary skills that are to be of good use during their teaching sessions with multicultural students.
Conclusion Indeed, teaching is an art. Moreover, the artistic approach of this art is further encouraged in teaching students of the bilingual education. Hence, to be able to gain success from the said aspect of teaching, educators must have the right disposition as well as inspiration and reason for teaching. The fact that they realize that they are able to help ethnic groups in the American regions to fit in the society, should make them see the importance of educating the children with bilingual education.
BIBLIOGRAPHY Maria Estela Brisk. (2005). Bilingual Education: From Compensatory to Quality Schooling. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc. ; 2nd edition. Colin Baker. (2006). Foundations of Bilingual Education And Bilingualism (Bilingual Education and Bilingualism). Multilingual Matters Limited; 4th edition. Olivia N. Saracho. (2004). Contemporary Perspectives on Language Policy and Literacy Instruction in Early Childhood Education (Contemporary Perspectives in Early
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