Glen A. Wilson High School

Opinion: The U.S. should implement bilingual education

Bilingual education has been very controversial for a long time, as countries have difficulties with finding what is best for students. The publication The Effectiveness of Bilingual School Programs for Immigrant Children includes multiple articles that explore the debate of why bilingualism is beneficial or detrimental to a student’s education. 

Many people have different perspectives on bilingual education, as some believe that bilingual education interferes with student learning and could also result in a lack of qualified teachers. On the other hand, others believe that bilingual education will benefit the students because it opens up more opportunities for them in the future and exposes them to more diversity. 

After reviewing the different perspectives on bilingual education from the articles, it is clear that schools should implement bilingual programs in the U.S. because it will give students more opportunities in the future and helps them learn more about other cultures.

Participating in bilingual education results in more opportunities in the future for students because knowing more than one language will give them an advantage over others. Some countries in the world have several schools that implement bilingual education, but other countries, including the U.S., haven’t considered bilingual education to be vital for students. There is evidence of the benefits of bilingual education, especially in the effectiveness of helping students gain skills in two languages. 

In the article, “Mother Tongue Teaching and Programs for Bilingual Education in Sweden,” researchers explore how Sweden implemented bilingual education into everyday learning. During the 1970s, researchers studied students that learned Swedish and Finnish to see the impact of bilingual education. There were three groups: Group 1 was a regular Swedish class with one or two hours of mother tongue support per week, Group 2 was a bilingual class, and Group 3 was an independent Swedish-Finnish school with bilingual education. 

The results showed that “Group 1 had more lexical and grammatical errors than the other groups, both in Swedish and Finnish”. The Group 1 students were the only ones that were not in a bilingual education program, and even though they were receiving mother tongue support, the students in the other two bilingual programs outperformed them. 

This clearly revealed that bilingual students’ benefited from their bilingual programs and were actually performing better in both languages as compared to the students who were not in a bilingual program. Bilingual education can effectively help students become proficient in more than one language, and students benefit from learning more than one language because their education in the second language will offer them more options in the future to explore their interests. 

Learning about different cultures will help students connect with other people around the world in the future. Having the ability to speak to foreigners allows you to build a friendly relationship with them. The article, “Bilingual Education – the German Experience and Debate,” discusses how bilingual education helped Germany transition into a multicultural society. In the late 1960s, Germany experienced post-war immigration, and “the proportion of children growing up in families with an immigrant background was approximately one in four”. 

Since Germany had many incoming immigrants, they had to adapt to a more diverse country by implementing bilingual education programs. The immigrants’ students have to learn how to create a relationship with their teacher and classmates and vice versa. Once they become an expert in speaking the dominant language of the country they’ve immigrated to, they can connect with others in the society by sharing more information about their culture. 

As a result, Germany’s system is helping children learn more about other cultures and be able to develop friendships with their classmates. Being bilingual benefits both the new immigrants and the natives of a country because it will lead everyone to explore different cultures and can make all people more well-rounded. 

The United States should make bilingual education a part of everyday learning because it will give students more opportunities in the future and open them up to learning about different cultures. Results from bilingual education in Sweden showed that students benefited from learning two languages and were able to be more proficient in those two languages than students who weren’t in bilingual education.

Germany had to adapt to a diversifying population through bilingual education to help the immigrants better integrate into their new home. Bilingual education can benefit the country and help people explore the world because the language skills students learn will help build bridges that lead to more prosperity for all.