Advantages Of Bilingual Education

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What Are the Advantages of Bilingual Educational Programs and Bilingualism?

It is difficult for me to write this from the point of view of an educator in the United States. I am presently at the end of my second year of teaching and also my second year at a totally bilingual school that teaches in both Spanish and English. My opinions and reflections on my literature reviews may be affected by my teaching here in Mexico, vs. teaching ESL students who are immigrants located in the USA.
Bilingual education programs are not only dual-language programs designed to provide an equal education to students learning English in the USA. The true definition of a Bilingual education program is the presence of any two languages in an instructional program.
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However, “the clear conclusion emerging from data sets is that even in two California districts that are considered some of the most successful in teaching English to LEP students, oral proficiency takes 3 to 5 years to develop, and academic English proficiency can take 4 to 7 years. The data from the two school districts in Canada offer corroboration” (Hahta, Butler, Witt. 2000, p. 2)
There is a common fallacy that bilingual education or bilingualism will have adverse effects on the learning of the majority language. Cummins (n.d.) states “A finding common to all forms of bilingual education is that spending instructional time through two languages entails no long-term adverse effects on students’ academic development in the majority language. This pattern emerges among both majority and minority language students, across widely varying sociolinguistic and sociopolitical contexts, and in programs with very different organizational structures”
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To have the ability to communicate in more than one language is like having a world passport. Employment opportunities for bilinguals are increasing every day. The 2006 census for the USA shows that 20% of the population speak a language other than English. When you add in the millions of visitors to the USA, the international businesses that operate there, and you can see that there is a big demand for employees who speak another language in addition to English (Balderrama, 2008). “Globalization and improvements in communication technology also provide opportunities for the multilingual worker. Many companies do business overseas and technologies such as videoconferencing mean that business partners can meet face to face even when they’re thousands of miles apart” (Arno, 2012,
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