The Pros and Cons of Bilingual Education in Schools

Topics: Teaching

This is going to discuss both the advantages and the disadvantages of bilingual education in schools, I will first talk about the disadvantages of bilingual education and then state why even with those disadvantages, bilingual education is still important in the school systems. I will elaborate on the advantages and disadvantages listed in three various articles from Christine Armario, Crystal Lombardo, and the authors of Occupy. Theory, I will also bring in important facts about bilingual education from the encyclopedia of education.

Overall this paper will explain why bilingual education should be used more often in school systems.

Bilingual education is a controversial topic that has been around for a while and as our world becomes more and more globalized we can see it become a much more prominent topic. To begin with, bilingual education is simply the teaching of two different languages in education. Many countries in the world today offer bilingual education, including Canada, Ireland, and Israel (2003) bilingual education is very helpful for non english speaking americans to learn in the classroom.

Imagine going to a classroom in China, where the official standard language spoken is Mandarini You would spend the entire day looking at different teachers and wondering what on earth was going on. The same experience happens to english language learners. We expect students from other areas of the world to come into our classrooms and just pick english up on their own. By doing this we set those students up to fail also, bilingual education has many benefits for all types of students; Bilingual people are in high demand and opens up many doors in the career industry.

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Learning a second language also makes it a lot easier to learn a third and a fourth language. Another advantage of bilingual education is that it makes an overall more well rounded child (2015). While all of these are great advantages of bilingual education, there are also some disadvantages. Amain disadvantage of bilingual education is it‘s high cost to put on in schools. Setting up a bilingual education program into the schools takes time, money, and resources. Not only is it expensive to have bilingual education in schools, it is also hard to find qualified teachers for the job, while I feel like we should be offering more bilingual education in school systems, I will first start off with why some people are against bilingual education in the school systems. Occupy Theory et al. (2015) and Lombardo et al. (2015) both discuss similar disadvantages of bilingual education both articles begin by discussing the expensive cost of bilingual education and continue by explaining how many students have problems with bilingual education Occupy Theory et al, (2015) also goes on to explain that there is a shortage of qualified teachers for the job.

Expenses of Bilingual Education As it is, many schools have problems funding programs that they already have. As a result, foreign language classes, music programs, and other art related programs are being cut from school curriculum, with all of these cuts and funding problems happening around the country, it would be hard to come up with the money for this much needed global program Occupy Theory et al, (2015) points out that “running a dominant language program is far cheaper than attempting to educate a minority language student” Schools just don’t have the money to fund such a program, Lombardo et all (2015) discusses how the expense of bilingual education affects private schools. Private schools can offer bilingual education into their circular program, but that means hiring more teachers and creating more classes for students.

In return this means more money for the parents paying the tuition. Private school can be expensive on its own, so adding this addition cost to the tuition fee is a huge head turner for parents. “Some parents just don’t see any benefit of knowing an additional language when more money has to be invested in the process”. To be truly bilingual means that you are able to think in two different languages For some kids this can be a very difficult task to do. Lombardo er al. (2015) points out that, “most people end up thinking in one language, which is the native tongue, and they instantaneously translate their thoughts in the language they have learned.” Occupy Theory et al. (2015) also mentions that bilingual education should be more focused on students learning and comprehending two languages, not focusing on one and then loosing your native tongue. Shortage of Qualified Teachers “Quality bilingual education requires a firm, patient, expert teacher who has the time on their hands to take care of all the issues that arise“.

There are many items with that statement that make it hard to find qualified teachers. Finding available qualified teachers can be a hard task on its own, but you also have to find ones that are firm, patient, and an expert on both their subject and another language. Even if you can find this perfect teacher, it is very doubtful that this teacher has the time to teach a bilingual classr many teachers are already very busy and do not have the time to offer bilingual education classes. Advantages While bilingual education does have it’s hardships, there are many more important benefitting factors of implementing this program into schools. Armario et al. (2013) discusses how many english language learners are failing in todays education systems because they are not able to fully grasp the material being taught.

Implementing bilingual education into school systems helps increase their chances of graduating and decreases the overall poverty level of english language learners, Occupy Theroy et al, (2015) and Lombardo et al, (2015) also explain how knowing a second language is a big advantage in the career industry and how learning a second language makes it easier to learn a third and fourth language, “There were 4.7 million students classified as ‘English language learners’ 7 those who have not yet achieved proficiency in English — in the 2009-10 school year,,,in several states, their graduation rates are at less than 60 percent, and as low as 29 percent in Nevada, according to federal data”. By not giving these students a good bilingual education program, we are overall hurtng their success and futures, Armario et al. (2013) write about an eight-year—old girl named Duna Lopez, Duna Lopez hadjust moved from Spain and did not know a single word of english.

Luckily, this girl went to a bilingual school where half of their classes were taught in Spanish and the other half were taught in English Duna said that, “in five months, I learned it, like that”. Also to prove that bilingual education is effective, many studies have been done from the encyclopedia of education, Nancy Zelasko (2003) explains a study done on “late-exit transitional bilingual education, where students received 40 percent of their instruction in the primary language and would continue to do so through sixth grade, regardless of whether they were reclassified as fluent-English-proficient”. At the end of the sixth grade, children in this bilingual program were compared to students not in the program. They found that students in the bilingual education program were performing higher in mathematics, english language, and english reading.

There are numerous industries and various job opportunities that require you to know multiple languages Just knowing a second language opens multiple opportunities that you might not other wise have had. “Knowing English and Spanish in the United States can provide any student or aspirant an edge over those who know English or those who have Spanish as their native language”. Bilingual education not only helps english language learners in the short run with school, in the long run it helps everyone by providing endless career opportunities. After learning a second language, other languages you learn come much quicker to you. “Becoming bilingual increases a person‘s ability to focus on learning new tasks and also triggers increased concentration”. With these new and enforced skills, learning a third and fourth language become an easier and easier task to do Lombardo et all (2015) goes on to explain how learning multiple languages makes you more aware of your own; “Bilingual education allows a student to learn more about a discipline as a language, which is a subject and not just a medium of communication”.

With this new understanding of language, people tend to not only become experts at the language they’re learning, but they also become more aware of how their native language works, bilingual education is an important part of school curriculum and should be offered in more schools in the United States. While bilingual education can be costly, difficult for some to learn, and have a shortage of teachers, there are many more advantages to the program that way out the cons, English language learners have a clear disadvantage in US. school systems. In order to help their growth as students we must implement more bilingual education programs in schools. Bilingual education programs are proven to help students learn and be more successful in school Bilingual education also opens up new career opportunities and makes learning other languages even easier. All of these are reasons why bilingual education is a great program and necessary for student SUCCESS‘.

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The Pros and Cons of Bilingual Education in Schools. (2023, Mar 12). Retrieved from

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