Bilingual Education Bilingual Education Bilingual Education Essay, Research Paper Bilingual Education in the School Systems The question under review is whether or not bilingual education works effectively in the school systems. Bilingual education is also known as an educational program that uses the language and culture of the students to teach the school s curriculum, learning experiences, and English as a second language. Reading the accumulated research, I belief that bilingual education does in fact help those students relative to children who remain in traditional classrooms. As found in research, an experimental group achieved higher levels of proficiency in English as a result of the integrated bilingual special education programs. Also, the achievement level attained by these students allowed them to increase their grade functioning level to the chronological grade level where they are expected to be and helped with integration into the general education classrooms (Maldonado, 1994). Is bilingual education common in the United States schools? Not yet, but each year more schools in varied contexts throughout decide to implement either one-way or two-way bilingual enrichment classes.
Currently ESL pullout, the least effective and most costly model, remains the most common type of program for English language learners in the United States. ESL pullout is expensive because it requires extra ESL resource teachers. It is less effective because students miss important academic subjects while they attend ESL class. A survey of 420 randomly selected members of the Association of Texas Educators found that the majority agreed that new immigrants have a passion to learn English and want the best for their children.
They also believe that children spend too much time in native language instruction. In California, it was said that in the 1970 s, bilingual education has been oriented toward inputs, process and compliance. The assumption was if you have this input, the outputs would take care of themselves. So, they monitor whether you mounted the program and not its results. Some of the laws that were applied to bilingual education started as early as 1967, when Congress passed the Bilingual Education Act in 1967. Bilingual education was virtually unknown in schools serving minorities, especially American Indians.
With few exceptions, these schools emphasized English-only curricula and punitive practices explicitly designed to extinguish native languages and cultures with most American Indian communities in fact had little voice in the schooling of their children. As of 1991, Indian students continued to experience the highest school failure and dropout rates in the nation (McCarty, 1994). The Bilingual Education Act, incorporated in 1968 as a Title VII amendment to the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, afforded the opportunity and some financial means to improve this situation. With the overarching goal of equalizing educational opportunities, the Bilingual Education Act (BEA) called for new and imaginative programs for children disadvantaged because of their inability to speak English. Nowhere have these effects and interactions been more evident than in Indian schools and communities in the southwestern United States where some 26 indigenous languages with abundant tribal groups coexist (McCarty, 1994). In its first year of funding, the BEA supported 76 local programs, only five of which served American Indian students.
Within a decade, that number grew to nearly 70. The programs served a diverse student population and had a variety of aims, but most included the development and use of teaching materials incorporating the native language culture. One of the first and best known American Indian bilingual programs to address these challenges was the Hualapai project at Peach Springs in northwestern Arizona. This project was started with a group of 18 Indian parents who spoke Hualapai, a Yuman language.
They were teacher aides, secretaries, language and culture specialists. For many, this was their first experience in a university setting and the only opportunity to work toward college credits, although a majority of the participants received financial support for their work through local Title VII grants. In 1977, the National Clearinghouse for Bilingual Education also was funded as central research and information source. The 1980 reauthorized BEA streamlined those support services by establishing regional Bilingual Education Service Centers (BE SCs) staffed with curriculum, evaluation, program development, and information specialists.
The work of these and other Indian programs was helped by new regulatory language in the 1977-78 BEA reauthorization which provided greater flexibility in defining limited English proficiency for American Indian students (McCarty, 1994). While Title VII was spared from the Reagan Administration s block grant consolidations shifting education program authority to the states, Title VII and other Indian education programs nonetheless suffered major funding cuts under the newly created Department of Education. At least one important plus emerged from the Reagan era consolidations as regional training centers were included under new super centers. For Indian bilingual education, the most important of these was the National Indian Bilingual Center (NIBC), created specifically to serve all American Indian Title VII programs in the 13 states (Mace do, 1999). The negative effects of bilingual education are there, of course, but are far outnumbered by the amount of positives. The difficulties facing virtually all American Indian bilingual programs in the school systems were two: Most native languages were unwritten or had orthographies developed for scholarly-academic audiences rather than for Indian students and their teachers, and few schools had certifies native-speaking personnel.
Pressures were raised by powerful groups and people such as the National Association for Bilingual Education and the National Council of La Raza led Congress to vote down the Reagan proposals and two related bills designed to eliminate requirements for native language instruction. In the process, however, the National Indian Bilingual Center was dissolved. Which provided the bilingual education for American Indians a huge trouncing. But, in 1992 a resolution was in view. A White House Conference on Indian Education was held, whose resolutions called explicitly and repeatedly for a uniform and consistent funding cycle coordinated at the community, tribal, and federal levels. Similarly, the Stanford Working Group envisions a retooled Title VII that is fully funded and part of an integrated system of state and federal services (Thomas, 1999).
A second negative that my research has uncovered was that the major national-level program evaluations suffer from design limitations, lack of documentation of study objectives, poorly articulated goals, lack of fit between goals and research designs and excessive use of elaborate statistical design to overcome shortcomings. Even the National Academy of Sciences report is of little immediate help. The authors savagely critique the research on effective schooling and classroom processes, yet report the findings from these seriously flawed studies as if they represented solid facts. Similarly, the authors indicate that there is no empirical support for the effectiveness of native language instruction in the early grades, yet still advocate its use. Increasingly, researchers argue that we need to focus on aspects of instruction that lead to improved learning outcomes as opposed to political labels that at best crudely describe complex instructional interventions. Several years ago, the U.
S. Department of Education began to articulate these components. They wanted to synthesize the knowledge base on effective classroom practices that simultaneously promote English language development and academic learning. The goal was to define specific techniques that teachers could use to simultaneously promote learning and English language development. The erratic quality of ELD instruction is at the root of the growing dissatisfaction with current practice. Inadequate attention has been devoted to curriculum development, pragmatic teacher training and professional development.
Again, some of the major issues with receiving instruction in both their native language and their second language include language delay in both the native language and second language. Delay in the acquisition of reading skills in both the native and second language. Learning problems related to the lack of instruction and appropriate transition from the native language to the second language. Behavior problems associated with experiences of failure either in regular or special education. Increasing number of at-risk and drop out students due to the lack of appropriate instruction in both native and second languages, along with culture identity problems.
Lastly, poor self-esteem problems associated with cultural factors (Maldonado, 1994). Now, for the long list of positive effects on a bilingual education. The first example involves the Hualapai project in Arizona led by Lucille Watahomigie. Watahomigie and her staff first developed a practical orthography and grammar for the language and subsequently produced the first American Indian bilingual / bicultural curricula integrating mathematics, social studies, science, and language arts. In making these achievements, Watahomigie and her colleagues set into motion a teacher education enterprise.
That enterprise, the American Indian Language Development Institute (AILDI) began in the summer of 1978 with Watahomigie, several Yuman language specialists, Indian educator John Robillard, and 18 Indian parents committed to learning to read and write language. Title VII grants enabled participants to work with bilingual education specialists during the school year to transform materials developed during institutes into published texts. Due to all of these, Peach Springs developed a Hualapai oral language assessment system, the first for American Indian languages. Meanwhile, the Toho no O ok ham, Yo eme, and Northern Ute tribes outlined long-range plans for education that, within a few years, led to the creation of tribal policies designating those languages as official on their respective reservation and calling for the meaningful incorporation of the native language and culture in school curricula. In the three years of operation, the NIBC center documented over 1, 100 services in support of that goal- including workshops, institutes, meetings, and consultations.
This contrived to over 8, 000 hours of training and technical assistance to some 85 projects and 5, 000 Title VII personnel. Of those services, the center s final report notes that language institutes, modeled after the ALDI were among the most successful. Previously unwritten languages have been written and in many cases standardized, and a healthily growing body of bilingual bicultural literature now exists. The numerous materials developed at Peach Springs and in the communities and schools represented at the AILDI are only a few examples of outcomes. At Peach Springs, Hualapai students increased their mean scores on the Language Assessment Scale by over 12 percentile points between 1986 and 1989. In 1989, 100 percent of Hualapai students who had completed eighth grade went on to graduate from high school (McCarty, 1994).
Teachers and administrators who participated in an Arizona Department of Education follow-up study of BEA-sponsored staff development report marked increases in classroom time spent on literacy and bi literacy processes. In one first grade class, time spent on reading and writing increased 100 per cent. The quality of these literacy experiences also improved as teachers threw out workbooks, basal readers, and skill-based exercises to involve students in what one teacher called real reading and writing – literature focused, cooperative learning experiences in two languages. Moreover, many have assumed administrative and other leadership positions within their local schools. Watahomigie, for example, notes that personel development through the Hualapai Bilingual Program has produced a revaluing of formal education among both children and adults in the community. Children see their teaches and teacher aides learning new technologies and teaching strategies, when they themselves are asked what they ll do when they grow up, the respond in say they ll be in school like their parents.
The point is that these are macro level changes in historically and socially constituted relations. They represent a fundamental rejection of past education policies that have failed Indian students and a reclamation of indigenous languages, cultural resources, and education rights. Although questions about optimal age remain unanswered, at some point all English language learners begin academic instruction in English. The initial transition is soften called content area ESOL, structured immersion or sheltered content instruction. The common feature is teachers use of English designed for students who are not proficient in the language. In sheltered instruction, teachers modulate their use of English so that it is comprehensible to the student and base their degree of support on their knowledge of that student.
In some cases, teachers us native language to help a child complete a task, to clarify a point, or to respond to a question. While reading through the research, I came across some principles for merging ELD with some tips for learning. They include, using native language strategically during ELD, while the early phases of language learning, modulate and be sensitive when providing feedback and correcting language usage. Lawsuits or threatened litigation in Sacramento, Denver, and Albuquerque convey the emotional tenor of the debate. Increasingly, parents and teachers have begun to question the small amount of time devoted to English language development in many bilingual education programs in the primary grades. Advocacy groups have consistently raised such issues as parental choice in the amount of English language instruction each child receives, how early a child is introduced to substantive English language instruction, and when a child should exit classrooms that use a great deal of native language instruction.
It seems reasonable to expect that after so much attention, controversy, and discussion, research would provide answers to questions, but also disappointing that we do not have close answers. The ongoing work at Peach Springs and that growing out of long-term staff development in the Southwest demonstrate what can be accomplished when sustained financial commitments are coupled with local vision and leadership. These developments also suggest an urgent need for a more direct role in policy making by the educators who have generated the transformations described here, so policy is not imposed from the outside but genuinely represents the interest of schools, students, and communities. If we are not serious about making these fundamental changes, then the concepts of empowerment and restructuring are unintelligent and may serve only to reinforce the illusion that new policies and practices are doing something to reverse historical inequities thereby perpetuating the source of those inequalities.