Are Schools Encouraging Bilingualism?

In years past, immigrant parents and educators actively discouraged children from speaking their native languages, thinking that it would smooth the way for assimilation and achievement in school. Today, however, a growing body of research is pointing to the benefits of speaking more than one language, and a growing number of parents are searching for the best way to raise multilingual children.

This article, by Associated Press writer Rasha Madkour, looks at the benefits of bilingualism and some of the methods used by parents, such as “OPOL (one parent, one language) and mL(at)H (minority language at home).”

As Madkour points out: “The benefits and drawbacks of each method are a hot topic of debate by parents and educators in blogs and online forums.”

Research, including the findings presented at this conference, have found that one way to help immigrant students master English literacy skills is to support their native language and culture.

What are schools and families doing in your area? Do they still discourage Latino and other immigrant children from speaking native languages at home or are they promoting bilingualism?

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One thought on “Are Schools Encouraging Bilingualism?

  1. I am a bilingual teacher starting my first year in the classroom (I spent one year as a substitute) teaching 1st grade. I am very excited to be using a bilingual model called “Dual Language” by Gomez & Gomez, that strongly promotes bilingualism for native Spanish-speakers as well as native English-speakers (my class is 50/50). I am a “gringa” myself who became fluent by studying and having a passion for Spanish, as well as studying abroad in Mexico and Ecuador. But if children can have this opportunity to become bilingual as early as possible (unlike myself), it will be much better for our society as a whole. Right now, dual language is spreading slowly but surely, mostly in Washington state and Texas. I hope that one day our country will be similar to Europe in the way they promote learning MULTIPLE languages.

    The website for the Gomez & Gomez model is http://www.dlti.us/ Feel free to contact me if you would like any more information!

    -Carolyn Kloecker
    ckloeck1110@gmail.com
    Gattis Elementary – Round Rock, TX

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