English Only vs. Bilingual Education


Matt Stokesbury 10/6/14 Introduction to ELL English Only vs. Bilingual Education There are both benefits to English Only and to Bilingual Education for English Language Learners. For English Only education, three advantages emerge quickly. The first advantage to English only education is that it completely immerses the student in the English language; this will encourage students to learn the language quicker. Another advantage English only offers is that amount of resources it requires to implement. A final advantage English Only education provides is that the school does not need to worry about the amount of languages present in the school district because each of the students will be receiving a similar involvement with the language. Bilingual Education also provides advantages. One advantage that is noticeable is that it provides a layer comfort for the student because they can identify someone who speaks their own language; this will allow them to ease into learning English a little more easily. Another advantage the Bilingual Education provides is that it encourages the student to retain their old language and grown up learning both languages. And a final advantage is that it provides a more individualized approach which is can be very helpful to some learners. In addition to advantages, both of these approaches have disadvantages. Some disadvantages for English Only is that it can intimidate the student because they are only being spoken to in English. Another disadvantage is that it cannot effectively reach all students to provide a comfort level and a smoother transition into the English language. Finally, English Only does not provide much aid because it is mostly a

sink or swim

program, and there are some students that sink and “shut down.” Bilingual Education also offer some disadvantages. The first disadvantage is that it cannot effectively reach all languages that a school district might have. Another disadvantage to Bilingual Education is that it can be costly on the school district to hire professionals for each of the languages. And finally, the last disadvantage to Bilingual

Education is that it provides a crutch for the student because it offers someone that they can talk to who speaks their native language. An effective Bilingual Education program will use

vision and goals

to help communicate and guide their instruction. Another aspect to an effective Bilingual Education program is that the leaders are well-informed about the student on an individual level. Continuing, there needs to be proper

program articulation

to allow for development of the language while keeping their own language. For a Bilingual Education program, there also needs to

Student assessment and progress monitoring

this will allow the student to keep up with what is happening in the classroom, while continuing to advance in their language acquisition. Also, the parents need to be involved in the education of the student if it possible. This will help encourage the student to learn the language as well as encourage them to develop bilingualism. And finally, there will need to be

sufficient and appropriate books

. This is important because the books that are used will be teaching the child how to speak the English language and it is possible that he/she can learn it wrong if the materials used are out of date or even incorrect. In the middle school setting, it is possible to have them debate the English Only vs. Bilingual Education, even if there are students who are in an English Only program. For this example, there will be 20 kids in the classroom and 4 of them are ELL students that speak the same language and are at stage 3. You could split the students into 2 groups and try to make it even in terms of amount of guys and girls on each team as well as number of ELL students on each team. From here, you can assign students which group they will be a part of. For this, you would want to split the ELL students up, but put them with someone who is very proficient in the English language and is supportive of the student also. This will encourage them to participate while they are still being immersed in the language. Also, having the ELL students on different teams will encourage them to discover more about the program they are involved in as well as possible other programs for English Language Learners. To assess how much contribution the ELL students provide to the debate, you could mandate that each student is

required to speak. Doing this will provide the ELL with a chance to use their voice and express their ideas.

Works Referenced http://www.idra.org/IDRA_Newsletter/January_1998_Bilingual_Education/Effective_Implementat ion_of_Bilingual_Programs/