Benefits of Bilingual Education for English Learners

All over the world in different countries, people are speaking two or more languages and everyone learns them in different ways English seems to be one of the most popular languages to learn and while I grew up learning English so I find it simple, people from foreign countries find it to be one of the hardest languages to learn. While being a high school or college student a lot of people consider coming to America to visit for a while or study abroad We tend to only speak English, which forces others to learn English or sink while they are in America.

The older you are the harder it becomes to learn a new language, so people with very limited English would benefit from following the quickest, most effective way of learning English. A lot of people think Bilingual Education is the best way to teach students but is it really? I decided to take on this topic and find out the best and most effective way of learning a language.

Now some people believe that English Immersion, ESL or IEP programs are some of the best ways of teaching a language It actually was a lot easier to find people who agreed with these ways of teaching compared to the bilingual education approach. In an article by Christine H Rossell and Keith Baker (author of The Educational Effectiveness of Bilingual Education), they explained how bilingual education works and why they do it, “In transitional bilingual education (TBE), the student is taught to read and write in the native tongue, and subject matter is also taught in the native tongue.

Get quality help now

Proficient in: Bilingual Education

5 (339)

“ KarrieWrites did such a phenomenal job on this assignment! He completed it prior to its deadline and was thorough and informative. ”

+84 relevant experts are online
Hire writer

The second language (English) is initially taught for only a small portion of the day As the child progresses in English, the amount of instructional time in the native tongue is reduced and English in» creased, until the student is proficient enough in English to join the regular instructional program” (7, Rossell & Baker).

This way of transition seems to be more effective due to them not having to dumb down what they ae trying to teach and while it may take longer to learn it is believed to have a longer-lasting effect in their proficiency. These two authors used the previous work of two authors (Russell & Ross) who did this study before them, tested the validity of their work and then added on to it to get a more accurate reading. They took the 300 program evaluations already examined and added 200+ more studies and programs to evaluate the effectiveness ofTBE or some other second language acquisition program. In a standardized achievement test in language that was given to the students only 7% of people in TBE did better than Submersion while 54% did worse than the students in English submersion. When it came to TBE program students‘ vs ESL and Structured Immersion students’ 0% of the TBE students did better than the other two groups. There was a 67% no difference rate with TBE vs ESL and a 100% no difference rate with the TBE vs Structured Immersion Looking at these results it really doesn’t seem like any one ideas was extremely better than the other.

Another perspective is Rosalie Porter, (Board member for Center of Equal Opportunity) who thinks that it is the least effective way to teach English She feels this way because she first hand has watch the effect of it, students were taught mostly in their native language and then had English class. As a Spanish-English teacher she explained, “They were segregated by language and ethnicity in substantially separate classrooms for three to six years. The costs to school districts for this separate program are not as damaging as “the negative effect on English- language learner achievement,” as documented in the 2009 study by the Texas Public Policy Foundation” Reliable studies were done comparing a group of children in a bilingual program to a group of children in an English immersion program and at the end of four years they would compare their results of both groups to determine which group had the most improvement.

Over the past 10 years, English-immersion students outscored their counterparts in bilingual programs both in rapid acquisition of English language and literacy and on state tests of reading and math in from El Paso, Texas, New York City and numerous reports from California and Arizona “The evidence for the superiority of English immersion surely influenced public opinion in the initiative referenda that legally threw out bilingual teaching by citizen vote in California (1998), Arizona (2000) and Massachusetts (2002)” (Porter). This study obviously showing through time that bilingual education is not the best way to teach English Language Learners a new language 0n the flip side there are people who think bilingual education is very effective and beneficial despite what critics have said Now looking forward I found in a research article written by Francis Obudo, he summarizes a study conducted by Allison 81 Amselle, arguing that the younger students benefited the most from English immersion while older students, because they had bilingual education in earlier grades, did not perform as well.

The younger students went from the 19m percentile to the 28′” percentile in the span of two years, while the older kids who had bilingual education previously, only went up from the 16m to the 19‘“ percentile These two girls studied the entire population of students from second to sixth grade in California and tracked their results for three years straight through California’s star system only after passing the passing of proposition 227. The scores showed that all LEP students improved in their reading, math and language national percentile rankings, however, they noted that improvement in the lower grades was greater than improvement in the latter grades. This possibly being because the older students had already been through some type of bilingual education program when they were younger. Seeing these results show that if taught one way you should stick with that way because it is what you are used to, English immersion works if you haven’t tried any other techniques but if you have tried other techniques such as bilingual education you will work backward and do worse trying to learn the language.

According to the James Crawford, (the author of English Learners in American Classrooms: 101 Questions, 101 Answers), he understand that no one technique works for 100% of the people due to everyone learning differently, but is able to counteract Ms Porter’s accusations and studies saying that the media is simply not covering the findings to help support his theory “All too often, bilingualism is portrayed as a political controversy rather than a set of pedagogical challenges, a conflict over immigration instead of an effort to turn language “problems” into classroom resources” (Crawford). He believes there are three main reasons for why bilingual education is the most effective way of teaching English language learners It is more beneficial to teach children some lessons in their native language so they don’t have to “dumb down” the material. This helps them not fall behind in the curriculum since they are learning some of the information in their native language and can later translate it.

The more they progress in other subjects, the more context based knowledge they will have to make sense of the lessons in English, and the more they comprehensible input they receive in English, the faster they learn the language. This all is built off the ability to read, once their literacy skills are developed it should make it easier to understand English see as though you can read it. By being able to read it you can easily ask a question about something you don’t understand and learn much faster Crawford found that although people seem to be so against bilingual education they should actually be against it. “Finally, let’s consider the alternative: all-English “immersion” Independent studies have shown that after several years of such programs in California and Arizona, there has been no benefit for children learning English. In fact, the “achievement gap” between these students and fluent English speakers seems to be increasing” (Crawford) Crawford found there to be a gap in research and policy and believes that people reasoning has nothing to do with its academic effectiveness.

Now the main controversy I noticed in this research is that there is simply not enough research to prove either side to be right. There are hardly any studies focusing on one or two methods of learning a language and the few studies we do have are so out of date that they are almost irrelevant to our generation. A lot of these studies also were very limited on variety. One study focused on 2″d to 6‘h graders which is a pretty good range of ages but it was only for the state of California. There are many factors that need to be looked into when doing such a study such as looking at all genders, the method used to teach them a second language, geographic origin, socioeconomic status (did they have enough money to even do approved programs or did they have to try and find a way around the system to teach themselves English), all ages and much more. Compare a child with two parents who speak different languages (but know each other’s language so they can communicate) teaching them vs a child learning a second language because it’s a requirement in their school starting from kindergarten.

Find people who weren’t forced to learn a second language in high school but it is a requirement for college to people who just want to learn a second language but don‘t have the resources to be in a specific language learning program so they use apps and language exchange partners to learn. Also, you need to do this research for 3, 5, and 10 year periods to really see an accurate reading of what works and what doesn‘t. There are many factors to consider when trying to de effective research. When it comes to what I think I can‘t really say what is the best method or language program to learn English, but I can say I think the most effective time to learn it is when you’re little. I regret not going to a school that forced me to learn a language because now I want to learn a language and I don’t even know where to start.

I have friends who went to schools where they had to learn another language and now they are fluent in that language, my nieces are learning other languages in kindergarten and 1Sl grade so when they get older they will be at least bilingual. I feel the older you are the harder it is to learn a language because you are entering a completely different subject where you have to start from scratch compared to other subjects where things might build upon each other l have many international friends who are learning English or know English and I took it upon myself to find out how they learned English and what they found to be the most helpful. All of them had different stories of how they started learning English but they all had one thing in common, they thought talking with a native speaker helped them with their pronunciation and conversation skills.

A lot of them felt studying abroad in America is really helpful and beneficial for them because they got to practice what they have learned but at the same time, they are already proficient in the language so it isn’t hard for people who speak English to understand them. In the various countries, they are from they have language as a class from when they start all the way to college so they don‘t really recall how hard it was for them to learn it or what techniques helped more than others. America is one of the only places where you can grow up without learning a second language and it is okay or considered normal, I feel this should change because it can hurt you in the long run if you want to become friends with others who might not speak your language or you want a job but they really need bilingual people for it. Being bilingual is a great advantage to have in various scenarios, and although I can’t give you a definite answer in which English language program is the most effective, I can assure you that it will be very helpful in the long run if you learn another language.

Cite this page

Benefits of Bilingual Education for English Learners. (2023, Mar 12). Retrieved from

Let’s chat?  We're online 24/7