Globalization has brought with it, its fair share of developments. Now, the world is more like a global village and there is need for everyone to be a global citizen. This is just to mean that one needs to be able to at least adjust to a new environment that is different from his or her native one. Such is the case especially when it comes to education. It is almost inevitable that as one goes up the educational ladder, there is bound to be need for learning in a different country, with a different language. As a result, the student realizes the need of being bilingual. Through this, bilingual education is born. Bilingual education simply means the kind of knowledge instruction that utilizes both the native and target language to inform the learner. Bilingual education comes with its fair share of both positives and negatives, as it is going to be discussed in this paper.
Bilingual education enhances learning to a great extent. When a student learns using more than just one language, it helps him or her to grasp the concepts being learnt even better. This is because the student is able to relate what is being learnt in, say the new language, to his native language. In so doing, it becomes easier for the student to make connections and understanding of such concepts than would have been the case were it just one language. As an overall impact, it helps them to grasp and perform better in the core subjects such as mathematics and science, as their ability to listen and speak in the second language is much better than before.
Through bilingual education, a learner is able to easily and quickly fit into the system. It is usually the case that foreign students encounter culture shocks whenever they get to schools in new countries. From the ways of life to how the general system works, it takes time for them to adjust and adhere to the same. With bilingual education however, this becomes a little less burdening for them. They are given the chance to learn the new language, which can help them to start understanding a number of things, which would have otherwise been tedious with their native languages only. The classroom environment and the learning culture also becomes easy to understand and adhere to, through bilingual education.
It also helps eliminate stigma. For example, a nation like the U.S. has got its fair share of issues to do with immigrants, both legal and illegal. Without bilingual education, immigrant students are always subjected to a lot of stigma and mistreatment from fellow native students, since they are easily marked out as foreigners. Through the incorporation of bilingual education however, such stigma is greatly reduced, hence creating a conducive learning environment for everyone in the classrooms and schools at large.
The main undoing of bilingual education is its cost. It is a very costly way of education. It is expensive to roll out or implement the program, as it calls for the establishment of a system. This system will incorporate training of linguistic experts and posting them in almost all schools or colleges countrywide, in addition to changing the curriculum in such a manner that it has a provision for dual learning. In other terms, implementing bilingual education calls for almost an overhaul of the current educational system. It is a reason why its opponents are of the notion that a learner should just take up the new language that is used in the destination country and use it for education.
There is the other fear that bilingual education breeds resistance. In other terms, students who are exposed to bilingual education realize that they can still retain their native language and learn quite effectively. They therefore tend to disregard the new language, which is the lingua franca in their new nation. Such disregard breeds resistance to the new culture and everything related to it. They therefore resist assimilation and even later on, basics of the lingua franca. This still makes learning the new language a problem, and a friction in culture between them and the natives.
On the hindsight, bilingual education seems to be a double edged sword. On one side, it is the most interesting story of new educational curricula as it enhances effective learning for everyone. On the other hand, it is deemed expensive and hence tedious to roll out well. When looking at the options however, it is a choice of the lesser evil, or the better angel if there is. Learning needs to be made more effective for foreign students. Alternative measures to bilingual education, such as immersion, is still expensive as well. Either way, it is a choice of accepting or rejecting it altogether.
Bilingual education simply means the strategies in which a learner is taught through the use of two languages. It has been noted to have its own advantages as well as disadvantages. Making the final decision between its implementation and outright rejection is still a matter that needs much thought.