Some Advantages of Bilingual Education
By Sarah Holt
The advantages of having a bilingual education are many.
An Addition, Not a Detraction
Knowing another language, and being encouraged to incorporate
it, does not mean that the main language needs to suffer. If
done in a way that allows for both languages to coexist then
the advantages of bilingual education can be acknowledged without
the threat that it will take away from learning the dominant
Understanding Ideas and Concepts
Among the advantages of bilingual education are the benefits
inherent in learning about ideas and concepts in the language
one is use to, and then transferring that knowledge over to the
culture's dominant language. Many believe that it is more useful
to transfer ideas and concepts into another language once they
are understood, rather than to learn them in a new language where
the understanding of it is incomplete.
Access to More Opportunities
One advantage of bilingual education is that it enables the
advancement of two languages. This can be very useful preparation
for later careers where bilingual workers are needed. It also
allows for opportunities that may be available in other countries
where that language is spoken.
Being aware of another culture is another of the advantages
of bilingual education. Every language is rich in cultural information,
from the way it is spoken to the objects that are represented.
One example of this is that the Eskimos have many words for snow,
whereas the English language only has the one word. In describing
the different snow conditions that impact their lives, their
language is necessary, since the English word for it is too vague
Communications at Home
Bilingual education is a better way to support communications
at home. If a student is learning both languages then the bonds
within their family can be maintained with the language spoken
at home. This can be very valuable since any education is enhanced
by family support and communication.
Other Students Can Learn From Them
Many parents today recognize the value of having their children
learn another language. Bilingual students can be a useful resource
in achieving this, if while they are learning the dominant language,
other students are learning their language.
The controversy over bilingual schools and education will
certainly continue, but despite the varying arguments there are
many advantages of bilingual learning that cannot be ignored.
Note: For related content, visit the page;
Children and Education - Beyond