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Bilingual Program: Children Language Development Essay

This paper discussed on bilingual program that become one of the reasons parents choose schools for their children and its effect on children language development. As the impact of globalization English become a necessity for everyone in exploring and finding new things across the globe. Educational institutions see this as an opportunity to introduce bilingual program as a respond to the demand of society.

Keywords: Bilingualism, bilingual program, dual program

Background As the era of globalization is happening in every country in the world, foreign language become a necessity for today’s society. One implication of globalization is the emergence of new global opportunities on one hand and competition on individual aspects of lives not to mention nation on the other. One aspect of communication that is important and necessary for global competition is mastery of English and for that reason human resource in Indonesia needs to be prepared early. In respond to that demand, many educational institutions provide foreign language education for children includes bilingual program. Bilingual Definition

Bilingualism is related to the use of two languages or two language codes (Chaer, 2010: 84). Bilingualism is due to language contact between two groups of different languages, it exists in every country in the world, in all classes of society, and in all age groups. Therefore, it is difficult to find people who truly monolingual because language society are inseparable to other language societies (Grosjean, 1982: 1). The definition of bilingualism among experts has its own weakness. Therefore according to Grosjean there is no acceptable definition of bilingualism in general. Bilingual Phenomena

Schools that provide bilingual programs mean using two languages in their educational activities. Language that is often used in the bilingual schools in Indonesia is Bahasa and English. By applying the concept of bilingual schools and parents expect children to be more proficient in foreign language, especially English. Currently schools in Indonesia began to implement bilingual programs as a language learner program development. This program was in elementary, middle, and high school with a focus on improving English language skills in children.

Bilingual program today has been frequently used by parents as a focus of attention in finding proper school for their children. The existence of bilingual programs is the main variable that is considered by parents deal with the quality of a school for their children. This makes the parents enthusiastically try to maximize their children foreign language skills by putting them to school or to class with bilingual program. This phenomenon of English at school then makes Bahasa as their mother tongue and their first language being neglected, not only by school but also by parents. Many parents are more proud if their children receive a high mark on English subject than Bahasa. General Issues of Foreign Language in Indonesia

Based on that fact, some problems can occur. Start with question whether the bilingual education program in Indonesia is proper enough in language education for children given the circumstances of the decline in respect for their mother tongue, which is Bahasa. Next problem deals with internalize opinion of society that states that English proficiency is more important than Bahasa in the era of globalization and the challenges of vocational world. Another problem is the lack of love for the young generation toward their Bahasa. The language that they used in their daily life either kids or teenagers has been mixed with the language and style of foreign country. Often the children concept of ability and interest in Bahasa is lower than the ability and interests of children to English. They feel more educated and have a higher social class if they used English in everyday conversation. Problems on Bilingual Program

Language is essentially cultural, that is associated with culture. Learning context associated with knowing one’s self. A child will recognize himself through several stages. He will master the language spoken quickly around the neighborhood because of the language that is always heard. This awareness is called cultural awareness, which is understanding of one’s self and identity. If the child is aware of his identity he would know how to behave and present himself.

Bilingual methods thus cannot just be applied in Indonesia which adheres to the national language, that is Bahasa. Culturally, in Indonesia there are also multilingual conditions, namely the existence of the local language. Local language is a language that is often heard by children in everyday conversation in their communities. This situation makes the child can master the local language quickly and this ability is mastered easily. On the other hand English is not commonly used in Indonesian society in any part whatsoever so the child cannot just be forced to learn English.

Impact of premature bilingual programs that is imposed on children will lead to uncertainty and unclear concepts of language undersanding. For example is the confusion when a child begins to learn to read and write. like, the letter “a” in bahasa is pronounced “e” in English. Children will experience the ambiguity and confusion in the concept of language as there is a difference between the two languages that are learned. This problem occurs because Bahasa and English differ in structure and rules of procedure of the sentence. Children will find it hard to understand the concept and structure of academic language. Alternative Solution

Dual language program is quite different to bilingual program. The system of dual language teaching is to have other subject like biology, math, etc not only in Bahasa but also in English. Other technique of dual language is by setting “language of the day” Indonesian and English interchangeably. Thus the child can master the concepts of the language both in Indonesian and English. With this program children will learn to learn a language with longer period and occur in all aspect of his education in that one day.

Based on the research in Washington, United States, the kids who followed the concept of dual language, their academic ability will be strong, both in first language and foreign language. They are also more successful and highly paid when working at companies.

Dual language program seeks to balance the child’s language skills without ignoring the child’s first language. Children will be trained to master the concept of their first language first while English will be added slowly until they are accustomed to it. This method is more effective in improving children foreign language skills instead of using bilingual program which is involve force in it. Conclusion

Language is linked with the process of the formation of self-awareness and maturity of one’s culture. As a process, development takes time and cannot simply be accelerated. The study of language should be done gradually. Children must first master the mother tongue, which is Bahasa. They should have been introduced to the words in the first language well, including the concept of structure, grammar and vocabulary. If the understanding of the concepts has already been possessed by the child then he can be introduced to a foreign language. The child can now have reference in learning foreign language. He will interpret the concept of learning a foreign language that he already had in Bahasa.

Language can be developed due to train and practice in everyday life. English which is only learned in school without being practice in home is less successful. If parents expect the child good English skills, they should participate in the development of their children’s language. Parents can participate to teach and familiarize children in English by using English at home. The most important point is not to force the children that can create distress in learning language both from the school and from their parents.


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