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Pros of Bilingual Education

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Paper Abstract:
Discusses the pros of bilingual education in New York public schools. The four kinds of language programs in New York: two-way bilingual education, transitional bilingual education, English as a Second Language (ESL) and English immersion program.

Paper Introduction:
Over the last five years educators in the New York City public schoolsystem have begun to acknowledge the need for schools to nffer increasedprogram choice for the wide variety of English Language Learners ELLs entering the New York City public school system Current language programsin New York can be classified under four categories two-way bilingualprograms transitional bilingual education English as a Second Language ESL and English immersion programs Rappaport Due to the shortage offunding and qualified teachers the majority of ELLs has

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Over the last five years, educators in the New York City public schoolsystem have begun to acknowledge the need for schools to nffer increasedprogram choice for the wide variety of English Language Learners (ELLs)entering the New York City public school system. However, this assumption fails to take into account the fact that native English speakers are also making progress during the same period. The above discussion has highlighted the pros of implementingbilingual education programs in New York. . Rather, they help reinforce the students' understanding of similar concepts by integrating them in another subject. With a large immigrationpopulation that consists of a significant number of ELLs, it is imperativethat New York educators and policymakers develop educational programs thatare compatible with the needs of ELLs. 9 May 2 5 .Rivera-Batiz, Francisco. "The Balanced View: Bilingual Education." 9 May 2 5 . Considering the increasingly globalized nature of the world economy, this development will better prepare all students for working in the future (Thomas and Collier 25). As described by Thomas andCollier, the 5 -5 two-way programs offer classes at grade level in Spanishfor half a day and then in English for the remainder of the day. An even more radical conception of bilingual education programs is thetwo-way, integrated bilingual programs. Due to the shortage offunding and qualified teachers, the majority of ELLs has either been placedin transitional bilingual programs or ESL programs. Unlike ESL programsthat offer instruction to students solely in English with a pull-outcomponent for English instruction, bilingual education programs offerEnglish language instruction to students and academic instruction in thenative language (Westchester Institute for Human Services Research 1). The success of these programs can be attributed to several factors: . . Current language programsin New York can be classified under four categories: two-way bilingualprograms, transitional bilingual education, English as a Second Language(ESL) and English immersion programs (Rappaport 1). Their lack of English skills also means that they will do poorly in other subjects because they are unable to demonstrate their knowledge of the subjects in the English language. Provision of peer tutors: Since students from both the languages attend class together, they serve as peer tutors for one another. Utilization of a grade-level curriculum instead of simplified version: ELLs who are taught in English are often given a simplified version due to their language difficulties. Distinctive separation of the languages during instruction: To maintain the separation between the two languages and the level of cognitive complexity, teachers do not repeat or translate the same lessons from one language to another. Spanish-speaking students constituted 64 percent ofthe students during the 2 -2 1 school year (Rappaport 2). "Two Languages Are Better Than One." Educational Leadership 55.4 (1997): 23-26.Westchester Institute for Human Services Research. Works CitedGoode, Stephen. This option may offer New Yorkeducators and policymakers the ultimate win-win solution to dealsuccessfully with the influx of ELLs in its school systems. Even as they help the non-native speakers increase their proficiency in the second language, students are also able to maintain the cognitive complexity of these natural and spontaneous interactions (Thomas and Collier 24). Even when the native languages and the English language haveradically different language systems, Krashen pointed out that theunderlying process of reading and literacy development is similar acrossall languages. Considering funding and teacher shortages, two-way bilingual programs can be implemented in a highly cost-effective fashion by using two-teacher teams who teach two classes. According to Rappaport, New York Cityhas the second largest population of ELLs in the country, with enrollmentrising from 11 ,245 during the 1989-199 school year to 127, 99 during the2 1-2 2 school year. Typically, ELLs will score three or more years below grade level on tests in English at the beginning. 1997. In spite of the fact that many educators and policymakers agree thatELLs require additional support to enable them to acquire the Englishlanguage, they disagree on the type and the length of the support thatshould be provided to students (Rappaport 1-3). While supporters believethat the most effective approach is to immerse students in an English-onlyclassroom such as the ESL program, opponents believe that ELLs will be morelikely to succeed academically and acquire English in a bilingual educationclassroom (Goode 12). Therefore, contrary to the perspectives of opponents whostate that instruction in the native languages will undermine the students'acquisition of the English language, researchers argue that the mastery ofthe native language can actually bolster the acquisition process (cited inRappaport 5-6). Researchers have confirmed the factthat bilingual programs that acknowledge the learning needs and pace oflanguage development of ELLS are ideal for these students. Before delving into the pros of bilingual programs and theirapplicability to the schools and the ELLs in New York, it is important toprovide some background information. With a two-way bilingual education, a grade-level curriculum is provided to all students, including the ELLs (Thomas and Collier 25). According toJim Cummins' Developmental Interdependence Hypothesis, children's abilityto acquire the second language is dependent on their ability to mastertheir native language. In the face offunding and teacher shortages, two-way bilingual education programs thatutilize two-teacher teams to teach two classes provide an innovative andcost-effective option for teaching ELLs. Theseprograms are particularly ideal for New York City with its large Spanish-speaking ELL population. Based on these facts, ELLS will have to improve by one and one-half years for six consecutive years to attain the same level of performance of their native English speaking peers. By comparison, the ESL option is more costly because additional ESL teachers need to be hired to cater to the minority students in ESL pull-out programs (Thomas and Collier 24). Researchers have found that students whoparticipate in these two-way programs often outperform students who areonly exposed to the English language, regardless of their socio-economicand cultural backgrounds (cited in Thomas and Collier 24). Effective instructhon in the language arts in the two languages: Apart from the ELLs who have the opportunity to learn in both languages, native English speaking students are also able to acquire proficiency in another language. In this paper, the pros of implementing the twoaforementioned types of bilingual programs will be discussed. Essentially, by establishing a strong foundation intheir native languages, these students are better able to acquire theEnglish language (cited in Rappaport 5). . and Virginia P. Provision of at least six years of bilingual education: Educators and policymakers who oppose bilingual education operate on the assumption that minority students will be able to catch up with their native English-speaking peers within the first two years of their schooling. 2 2. "The Education of Immigrant Children in New York City Digest." ERIC Digest. Moreover, Stephen Krashen,another prominent scholar in this field, also stated that the transferenceof language can occur, regardless of the level of the similarity in thelanguages. Transitional bilingual education programs - the most commonlyimplemented version in New York - are considered by researchers to beparticularly effective in helping ELLs to acquire language. In this case, the teachers simply turn turns teaching the curriculum in English or Spanish to the two individual classes. "Beyond Bilingual Education: Meeting the Needs of English Language Learners in the New York City Public Schools." A Report of the Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund (PRLDEF). "Bilingual Barrier?" Insight on the News 11.3 (1995): 12.Rappaport, Shelley. Therefore, only long-term bilingual education programs that provide ELLs with the opportunity to learn in their native language for two or more years will allow them to achieve the rate of progress needed for them to eliminate the achievement gap. . PRLDEF. The highnulber of ELLs in New York City, their lack of English language skills andtheir poor performance in academic tests (Rivera-Batiz 2) suggest thatbilingual programs may be exceedingly helpful in facilitating theadjustment of immigrant children to their new school settings and learningrequirements. Collier. 9 May 2 5 .Thomas, Wayne P.

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