Bilingual Education Research Paper

Bilingual Education Research Paper-87
The Baker and de Kanter study itself, however, was widely criticized for being biased in the studies selected and methodologically weak in its simple "up or down vote" methods.

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Smaller studies, however, suggest that this is the most effective strategy for educating both groups of students to become competent bilinguals without sacrificing English development.

Evaluations conducted in the early years of a program (Grades K-3) typically reveal that students in bilingual education scored below grade level (and sometimes very low) and performed either lower than or equivalent to their comparison group peers (i.e., ELL [English-language learner] students in mainstream English, SEI [structured English immersion]/ESL [English as a second language], or EO [English-only] students in mainstream classrooms).

Two expensive, multiyear studies were commissioned by the federal government to answer the perennial (and ultimately unanswerable) question: Which is more effective, bilingual education or English immersion?

(One reason this question is so difficult to answer is because there is great confusion about the goals of these programs — for example, should the goal be rapid transition to English? In addition, the nature of the instruction is seldom carefully specified — it is often unclear whether it should entail, for instance, fully qualified bilingual teachers providing rigorous curriculum in two languages, bilingual aides helping to translate some portions of an English curriculum, or sink-or-swim immersion into English.) The first major study, released in 1978, found that "there had been no consistent significant impact" of Title VII bilingual education on English learners.

Teaching children in two languages so that they can be competent learners and successfully acquire English has become over time such a hot-button issue that many people are reluctant to use the term "bilingual education" for fear of inciting scorn or stopping a conversation cold.

Researchers even counsel each other to avoid the phrase so as not to prejudice readers against their research.It concluded, "When socioeconomic status is controlled, bilingualism shows no negative effects on the overall linguistic, cognitive, or social development of children, and may even provide general advantages in these areas of mental functioning." In addition, "use of the child's native language does not impede the acquisition of English." A subsequent study also commissioned by the National Research Council on preventing reading difficulties in young children concurred: "If language minority children arrive at school with no proficiency in English but speaking a language for which there are instructional guides, learning materials, and locally available proficient teachers, they should be taught how to read in their native language." More recently, a synthesis study commissioned by the U. Department of Education and the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development also concluded that it was generally preferable to teach Spanish-speaking students to read in Spanish where possible.The Bush administration, however, refused to release it with its imprimatur in spite of two peer reviews that concurred with its findings.Ever since, however, programs have had to defend themselves against the accusation that they were "maintenance" programs, trying to maintain students' primary language as they became fluent in English, as though this were a terrible thing to do to a child.Like "busing," bilingual education has become a lightning rod for those who oppose policies designed to equalize (or enhance) educational opportunity for minority children.To learn more or modify/prevent the use of cookies, see our Cookie Policy and Privacy Policy. Patricia Gándara and Frances Contreras discuss the history and implications of the debate around bilingual education in the U. and offer an in-depth look at the research reviews that have frequently been cited in those conversations.By continuing to use this site, you consent to the use of cookies.We use cookies to offer you a better experience, personalize content, tailor advertising, provide social media features, and better understand the use of our services.For the last thirty years, with only brief exceptions, the only government-sanctioned justification for bilingual education in the United States has been as a means to transition students as rapidly as possible into an English-only school experience.The idea that a good bilingual education might actually produce students who are literate in two languages gained initial acceptance in the late 1960s and early 1970s.


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