Multicultural & Bilingual Education

How being multicultural is beneficial for ALL

Cutlure and Our Community

Many of us are not aware that culture is not just a difference in language, or in appearance, but rather it is everything that surrounds us, and makes us unique. With an ever growing diversity in the United States of America, and especially in Houston, it is important that we understand each others differences, and accept our various cultures.

Culture is what makes our communities stronger, and builds a well-educated nation. Everyday our children learn from our examples, and listen to our spoken words. As the theorist B. F. Skinner has found, this is what provides the light to our children about diversity and culture. Through imitation of our actions, children understand our positive or negative behaviors as typical courses of life. Education happens in every moment, not only in the schools, but in every day activities, which is why it is imperative that we set the standards for our children by being great role models.

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Bilingual Education

There are several different types of bilingual education, as indicated by Ofelia García, it is a controversial and misunderstood field of education, with many questions regarding its definition, the programs involved, and the expectations for who it benefits.

As O. García (2006) has found, to this day, there is not enough research to confirm how effective or ineffective bilingual education is. Through transitional, dual language, second/foreign language, one-way developmental, and two-way immersion bilingual programs it has been difficult to determine which is most effective. However, through other countries research, there has been enough information gathered to understand that a child must comprehend, on a cognitive/academic level, in their native language, before being able to transfer that knowledge to learn a second language. In addition, it will take a minimum of 4 to 7 years to develop similar literacy skills in the second language. Bilingual education DOES work, and children have shown success, however, the educational system must implement the native language of the child when learning the basic fundamentals in order to carry those fundamentals over into the second language.

Source: García, Ofelia, and Colin Baker. Bilingual Education: An Introductory Reader. Clevedon: Multilingual Matters, 2006. Print.

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What are the differences between Bilingual, Dual language and ESL instruction?

Bilingual Instruction is how English language learners gain access to the English language. Bilingual instruction is when a child develops learning of two languages, separately, as stated by O. García, however the two languages are used through different scenarios of social and structural experiences.

Dual language is when children, from an English native language background, are immersed, with children of a foreign native language background, into one classroom and learn, as well as speak, using both languages throughout each day. So, both non-English and English language learners are learning English and a foreign language throughout each day of instruction.

ESL instruction is when an English language learner is pulled out of the general education classroom to be taught English by an ESL certified instructor, or an ESL certified instructor may come into a general education classroom and instruct a small group of students at one time.

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In Conclusion...

Bilingual Education is the best way for an English language Learner to become fluent in the English language. However, through an ESL program, the student does not accelerate as well as when in a dual language or bilingual instruction classroom. An English language learner must have the basic foundation of academic instruction in their native language, the language most familiar to them, in order to gain knowledge in a second language.

Houston Hispanic Forum (HHF)

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This non-profit organization helps Houston youth to understand their options and academic opportunities to attend community college or university after high school. Supplying Houston's youth with information regarding federal grants, scholarships, and technical advice to help them apply and attend higher education classes. This organization has been helping the greater Houston area since 1986 by affiliating with corporations, small businesses, colleges and universities to provide access to our youth.

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Education is in Everyday Activities, Everywhere!