Bilingual Education

What we can do as future teachers to better education

By: Jennah Gonzales

Don't show different treatment because of culture

I grew up in San Antonio, Tx. A predominately hispanic populated city, and not that much diversity. In an area where a majority spoke spanish, it wasn't an issue for spanish speaking students to adjust since they had teachers and programs in place for them to learn. What I noticed however was that students from different backgrounds would struggle. Chinese or Indian wasn't a second language the majority, and included only a very small percentage of the students. I believe that bilingual education is of the upmost importance and no child should be short changed of learning because of their native language.

Why is it important?

I think it is important that we implement more bilingual programs , because we need to embrace the beauty of other languages instead of making student feel alienated for only knowing one. Everything is a learning process, and a child should feel proud of their language, and confident enough to learn english. Thinking of a student being held back, or treated differently because of this is an injustice. In Chapter 5 of the book, I read about the experience of a fourth grade teacher in Colorado by the name of Blanca Carbajal Rodriguez. "Some lack the confidence to transition to English, in part,because their peers ridicule them when they mess up", said Rodriguez. Reading this helped to better understand more reasons for students struggle in learning english. Even with the obstacles the teacher was able to teach the students ways to write, and speak english, which in turn boosts their confidence.

My Own Experiences

As I mentioned in the beginning, I saw at an early stage in my life that some students didn't receive the same treatment as me. This puzzled me because as a child I thought it was weird and didn't understand why some struggled more than I did. I realized the struggle of the language barrier with my friend jackie in 1st grade. Her main language was chinese, and what drew us to be friends was our fascination of dolls and racing. A weird combination , but a mutual interest. We hardly spoke to each other but we would always laugh and play. Sometimes I would notice her be withdrawn and quiet. Thinking back now I see that it's because she was learning english. I don't think any student should feel left out, and I cant imagine what a child must feel like if they didn't have anyone to connect with. Especially if they live in a city where the majority only speak one or two languages.

Lets make a difference

As future teachers we should be aware that not every student is going to speak perfect english or even know how to speak or write english. I've come to realize this as I'm getting older, but before I was naive in thinking that everyone spoke the same language in the US: English. I think as educators we should connect with our students, their parents and the school in order to ensure that every child receives the best education and gets the opportunity to succeed. Bilingual education is important and students should feel that knowing a second language is a gift rather than a burden.