ERIC Number: ED403101
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1997-Jan
Why Bilingual Education? ERIC Digest.
This digest examines criticism of bilingual education and its effect on public opinion, discusses the rationale underlying good bilingual education programs, and summarizes research findings that reveal programs' effectiveness. Quality bilingual education provides students with knowledge and literacy in their first language, which indirectly but powerfully aid them as they strive for English proficiency. The best bilingual education programs include English-as-a-Second Language instruction, instruction in the first language, sheltered subject matter classes using intermediate-level English, and transition to the mainstream through gradual exit plans. A common argument against bilingual education is the observation that many people have succeeded without it. However, such people have often had the advantages of early schooling in their country of origin. Children who arrive with a good education in their primary language have already gained two objectives of a good bilingual education program: literacy and subject matter development. Research indicates that the ability to read transfers across languages, even when the writing systems are different. Despite what is presented to the public in the national media, research reveals much public support for bilingual education. Apparent opposition to bilingual education is often actually opposition to specific practices or regulations related to bilingual education. The "evidence" against bilingual education is not convincing and often involves mislabeling. Bilingual education could be improved by increasing student access to books in both languages. Contains 18 references. (SV)
Descriptors: Bilingual Education, Criticism, Educational Attitudes, Educational Research, Elementary Secondary Education, Limited English Speaking, Native Language Instruction, Public Opinion, Spanish Speaking
ERIC/CRESS, P.O. Box 1348, Charleston, WV 25325-1348 (free).
Publication Type: ERIC Publications; ERIC Digests in Full Text
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Office of Educational Research and Improvement (ED), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: ERIC Clearinghouse on Rural Education and Small Schools, Charleston, WV.