Bilingual Education in Schools

By: Ashley Kamensky

What is Bilingual Education?

Bilingual education varies across school districts. This is predominantly because the number of immigrant families differ in areas. Bilingual education is taught in the students native language with some English instruction. These children are in elementary or secondary schools with a specific program created on their limited English proficiency.

Why is this Important?

The number of minority children are growing rapidly in the United States. Most of these children have one or more foreign parents, or they are born in another country. It is extremely important that the proper programs are implemented into our schools so that these native speaking children can gain the fundamentals they need in order to be successful in society. Native speaking children should not feel alienated just because they do not know English. If they understand academic content in their language, then they will gain the same content in English. They just need bilingual instruction, and schools who care enough to provide this to them.
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Bilingual Education

Although I have never been a bilingual student, I have done some field experience in some bilingual classrooms. I was able to observe children ranging from kindergarten to fourth grade. Most of these kids parents do not speak English or speak very little. These kids were speaking both languages but far more proficient in their native language, Spanish. I was able to see the progress of most of the kids in the class, and many have come such a long way in understanding the English language. These children were in a class called Transitional Bilingual program. This program is good for new students transitioning into American schools. They do not feel as intimidated and it is much easier for them to participate in classroom activities at their own pace. A fun game the children participated in was Bilingual BINGO which involved key vocabulary and pictures. The kids really enjoyed this game and were learning English at the same time. I do not plan to teach in a bilingual class, for one I am not bilingual. I wanted to observe this type of class to get a perspective as to how a day goes in this style of class. I was quite pleased with this Transitional Bilingual program.

The Importance of Comforting the Student

It is important these children get the desired assistance they need in order to adapt to their new environment. Each child learns at his or her own pace. Transitioning to a new school can be stressful, and if these children receive proper support from the school and teacher they can succeed. I highly stress we must get at least one parent involved, so that additional help can be given outside of the classroom. If that is not possible I would like to add a before and/or after school tutoring with a Bilingual teacher. Lets give these children the confidence and skills they need to achieve cognitively, linguistically, and culturally.