On bilingual education
By Morgan on April 16th, 2012
Something I read this weekend caught my eye: “Conditions are Perfect for Bilingual Education – So Why Is It In Decline?” from Stephen Palacios in the Huffington Post.
One of the things I love about our SoHo offices is that when I step outside, I am immersed in a cacophony of languages. People from all over the world travel to New York, after all, and on a daily basis I hear so many languages, including quite a few I can’t easily identify. As someone who only speaks a bit of French — even after 6 (!) years studying it — I’m always impressed by people who are bilingual. How much easier is it to travel, to learn about a new culture, when one speaks the language!
There are lots of reasons why being bilingual is a plus — it makes our brains smarter, for one; it’s a huge asset in business in today’s global economy; and frankly, it’s just plain fun. (I once cobbled together enough German to converse with a local man on the banks of the Rhine River, and it remains a highlight of my travels.) And as the bilingual population in America has grown, it would seem sensible that our school systems would begin embracing bilingual education. But it turns out that’s not the case. In fact, the reverse is happening, points out the Huffington Post.
I’d love to hear from educators about your thoughts on bilingual education. Is it necessary? Do you have bilingual students? How do your schools handle it?