Bilingual Education vs. English Immersion

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November 7, 2012 by mramirez2

A significant amount of young immigrants who are only fluent in Spanish come to America with their parents who wish to provide more opportunities for their kids’ futures. Part of the American Dream is to obtain an education superior to the one provided in their native country. The problem arises when the kids enter school and the question is asked of how to teach them. It is believed that a language can be aquired more easily at a young age but not all kids come young enough. Some teenagers struggle more learning English than 5-8 year olds do. Using the CQ Research Database, I looked at the debate between what is more convenient for language aquisition.
The report ” Bilingual Education vs. English Immersion” bt Kenneth Jost informs how during the 1960’s and 70’s Bilingual Education was supported by the federal government, but was later refuted by scholars who believed such practice to be “ineffective and politically divisive.” Today, the debate is still in place and James Crawford and Rosalie Pedalino Porter take opposing viewpoints on the topic.
James Crawford believes bilingual education is beneficial as this practice builds on, rather than discards students’ language skills which can lead to more proficiency in school subjects and success in English and academics in America. He states that through English immersion, topics and words are “dumbed down” to simplified English, restricting them from engaging in more challenging curriculum. He sees bilingual education as an integrating practice. In my opinion, I feel biligual education is more beneficial after a certain age where more intellectual and challenging content is learned and already practiced.
Rosalie Pedalino Porter, on the other hand, believes English immersion is a better mechanism to assimilate non-English speaking immigrants into the education system and thinks immersion promotes more success than bilingual education. Porter states that bilingual education’s failure has been documented. Through experience, she has also seen the inadequacies of bilingual education. Adding my input, as a Spanish speaker only, I moved to the United States and was immersed rather than taught bilingually. My young age then allowed me to grasp the basics fast and assimilate the English terms to my basic Spanish knowledge, helping me learn the language fater and efficiently.
Learning English is important in the United States. Although people learn differenttly, I agree with both but depending on age. Still, through the research in this database, I found that this specific topic has been debated for quite a while and is still in debate today. What matters most is that English is needed in America regardless, we just have to find the best approach to the aquisition.

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