Bilingual Education

 

A Guide to Web Resources

 

By Lyndal Khaw, Rachael Berchtold, and Alison Weir

 

University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign EDPSY 313 Spring 2003

(Gary Cziko, Instructor)

 

National Association for Bilingual Education (NABE)

           

NABE is a non-profit organization devoted to represent the interests of language minorities and Bilingual Education professionals.  It’s goals are to: improve instructional practice, expand professional development programs for B.E. and ESL teachers, get adequate funding for related programs, and defend the rights of language-minority Americans.  This site provides an easy access to answers to general questions about B.E. and other related issues.  This site also talks about the legal action NABE takes to help language minorities, gives a list of links and resources about Bilingual Education and how the reader can get involved.  NABE has publications out in NABE News that gives great insights to teacher preparation and education for teaching language-minority students which can be helpful to any educator that will be dealing with these students.

 

Model Strategies in Bilingual Education  

 

            This site was put up by the U.S. Department of Education and focuses on the professional development of teachers that deal with language-minority students.  It is a report divided into five chapters and the first gives an intro of what this report is about.  It focuses on the improvement of professional preparation and continuing education programs for teachers of Limited English Proficiency (LEP) students.  This site talks about the studies that were made to evaluate the methods already in use.  Chapter 2 describes an ideal vision of education for all students focusing on the productivity of programs for LEP students, describing what should be included in a teacher’s education.  Chapter 3 gave the actual write ups of the projects that were implemented to find more about teaching language-minority children.  On example of a study was trying to increase the number of Bilingual Education teachers by creating a Latin TA program that provided financial, social, and academic support to aspiring teachers.  The fourth chapter dealt with challenges that each study faced; for example, competing goals, the issue of adding vs. subtracting English in schools and promoting integration vs. integrity.  The last provided one of their conclusions of finding that educating LEP students demands a high degree of professional knowledge on part of the teacher for knowing how to educate LEP children.

 

James Crawford’s Language Policy Website & Emporium

           

James Crawford’s site gives a well-rounded view on language policy issues.  The site not only talks about Bilingual Education, but policies that counteract B.E. like the English Only movement and immersion.  He also touches on anti-bilingual literature and his own critique and responses to each.  The website includes definitions of all the types of B.E., up to date research, false beliefs of negative effects of B.E., language rights, newly enforced propositions dealing with B.E., and opinion polls from other website users.  His goals in putting up this site were to encourage discussion of language policy issues, follow current developments, report on pending language legislation, disprove false reports, and track continuing struggles against propositions opposed to B.E. like California’s new proposition 227.  At the end of the site, Crawford gives some good links and they lists all of his publications, including books, lectures and articles. 

 

National Clearing House for English Language Acquisition (NCELA)<<Alison’s favorite site>>

 

            “NCELA is funded by the U.S. Department of Education to collect, analyze, and disseminate into relating to the effective education of linguistically and culturally diverse learners in the U.S.”.  They work with other service providers to provide information to help states and local school districts develop programs and implement strategies to help all students to attain the education that they deserve.  There is a good section on answers to many frequently asked questions about language policy issues, many that help people who have a very limited view on what B.E. can do for language-minority children and children native to English.  They also have a large online resource center of texts and other documents.  The best part about this site was the good amount of useful resources for teachers that are educating LEP children that can be applied in the curriculum. 

 

Why Bilingual Education?    

 

            ERIC (Educational Resources Information Center) Digest put up this site, and was written by Stephen Krashen.  It examines criticism about Bilingual Education and the affect it has on the public.  It addresses some misconceptions that people may have about B.E. goals and practices.  The main concept of the site was that education in the primary language provides knowledge and literacy; because once you are literate in one language you are literate in general. Krashen felt that the best B.E. programs include: ESL instruction, sheltered subject matter teaching, and instruction in the primary language.  Krashen feels that success without B.E. is possible but people who do succeed without B.E. have other helping factors.  Some examples of these factors in one case are a child who has grown up in an all English neighborhood, and access to literature. He also makes the point of how some public are against certain practices of B.E., like requiring some teachers to know two languages to keep working and inappropriate placement, instead of B.E. as a whole.  He believes that the public is aware that learning in the primary language is beneficiary but conflicts arise with how much of the first language is used in the classroom, “literacy transfers across languages”.  

 

Impact:

      This project was very helpful to me in finding more resources about Bilingual Education.  Since I plan on continuing a career in Bilingual Education I was most interested by the actual studies and resources that are available for teachers who are going to be educating LEP students.  It was great to be able to find curriculum suggestions and strategies to be able to use in the classroom.  I feel it is important for teachers to always keep up on new educational methods so they can provide the best education for their students, especially students who are not getting the equal education that they deserve.  The internet provides many resources and articles that can update any one on new propositions, methods, studies on how children learn, and how to find what types of educational practices are implemented any where in the country.  The key to being a good teacher is knowledge and adaptability, having these resources at your fingertips allows anyone to better their skills.  No one has learned everything and teachers are the best candidate for living a live of self-education.  It’s good to be able to reach the organizations that are fighting for the education of language minority children, and gaining the knowledge of how to better our struggling system.       

 

 

PBS Online News Hour Forum: Bilingual Education

 

            This forum of discussion originates from a website created by PBS about bilingual education.  Aside from presenting some really interesting statistical facts about bilingual education in the United States, the website also discusses the kinds of efforts and amount of money that have been dedicated to this area of education so far.  Opinions from both sides of the coin were depicted in this forum; one, from those who had supported bilingual education programs, especially bilingual parents claim that these programs will help their child preserve their cultural heritage as well as adapt to the English language.  Conversely views from those who reject the notion of bilingual education emphasize that this program will only discourage bilingual students to create a dependency on their native language, and thus hinder these immigrant children from getting along with the general society.  Aside from that, this website has also other links towards other interesting PBS discussion forums.  This would be a very resourceful website for people who are interested in learning more about the current updates or changes to this program, as well as those who are opinionated about bilingual education themselves.

 

 

Intercultural Development Research Association Newsletter: Bilingual Education

 

            This website was actually very resourceful in looking at the empirical and scientific aspects of studying the effects of bilingual education.  It gives a list of literature written by authors who have done some research in this specific genre.  The particular piece of literature that I have found particularly important is an article by Josie Supik, who have conducted an evaluation in 1997 of a panel of experts conferring about the Title VII Programs of the Bilingual Education Act, in a meeting organized by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Bilingual Education and Minority Languages Affairs (OBEMLA).  Among the major highlights of this meeting are the objectives that are supposed to be met through the Bilingual Education Act. For instance, these programs are aimed to enable bilingual students to have a good English proficiency (Objective 1.1), and to achieve success in their regular classrooms (Objective 1.3).  The meeting has also featured reviews about different assessment methods compiled in other languages in order to gauge a student’s performance in different academic areas.  Finally, the meeting conferred the positive aspects of bilingual education, adhering that whilst bilingual education programs do not work in certain cases, they are usually due to the factor of poor pedagogy.  This website is useful for those who are interested to know more about the political region in advocating bilingual education programs in schools today.

 

Center for Multilingual Multicultural Research: Los Angeles Times Article – “Hundreds Wait for Bilingual Education” 

 

            This website basically features an article written on October 28 1998, in support of anti-bilingual education laws to be endorsed in schools throughout Los Angeles, California.  Since there was a lack of students who were enough to form a class, Proposition 227, also known as Model B was created.  Basically, students will be taught primarily in English, but will receive “support” in their native language by bilingual teachers.  The responses to this proposition differed to a great extent among school administrators.  In an event where one student had strongly opted for bilingual education classes, he was placed in an English immersion class before being determined that he could transfer to a different school.  In other cases however, school administrators were obligated to comply and accommodate to the bilingual child and parents’ requests.  The article also reports the dropping numbers of parents who omit requests for bilingual education, simply because more parents were weighing their options and figured that Model B was the best way to go.  This website fixates a lot on the opinions of the parents and school districts, which are indeed strong feelings about supporting or opposing bilingual educations. 

 

 

Illinois Association for Multilingual Multicultural Education

 

            The goal of this website features a professional association that promotes multiculturalism in education and high quality educational features for potential English speakers.  Through the website, the organization provides many professionals and educators with a number of sites and services that could help live up to their objectives, that is to foster a multicultural and multilingual environment in Illinois’ schools.  Members who are interested are also benefited with the links to career and employment opportunities via the association.  This would be a great website for individuals who are dedicated towards the cause of bilingual education and are interested to expand their interest to a more meaningful level by being a part of an organization that strongly advocates so.

 

 

ESL Online Resources, Games, Songs, Chat and Books <<Lyndal’s Favorite Site!>>

 

            This site contains an array of online resources for teachers, students and parents in helping bilingual children gain the acquisition of English.  It includes more than a hundred different links to other websites that are very relevant and considered helpful for students primarily to serve the purpose of learning English as a second language.  There are many fun games, stories, movies, sing along songs, web chat rooms, literary sources and even links to creating lesson plans that are catered to this purpose.  Most of the activities included were interactive and induces participation of the child, parent or teacher.  Furthermore, this website consist of several links for teachers to purchase DVD movies, books or games so that they could also implement the activities in the classroom.  Children, parents and teachers are encouraged to visit this website to gain some ideas that would also utilize their creativity.

            This is certainly my favorite site simply because of the “fun” of going through it.  While other websites comprise of facts and opinionated details about bilingual education, this website was actually extremely helpful by having all of these fun activities and games for children who definitely need them.  I really enjoyed skimming through the kinds of games and activities involved, and I gather that they look very useful and helpful in a child’s acquisition of English as a second language.  The amount of resources available for teachers and parents allow them to constantly return to this website for different ideas and to try new things if the previous activities had failed or were not suitable for the child.  This is a strongly recommended website for parents and teachers who would like a different approach in teaching English to bilingual children while incorporating the advancement of technology to make this virtually possible.

 

Impact

            After going through these five websites, I feel that I have known just slightly a little more than I used to about bilingual education.  For instance, I always believed before that bilingual education was accepted and supported by everyone.  Upon reading some of the articles on these websites, I realized otherwise.  I know now that there are strong opinions against the development of bilingual education too.  Furthermore, I think that the resources above had helped me to a greater extent, as I now understand where bilingual education truly stands in today’s education.  Personally I remain subjective about the issue of bilingual education, and therefore, I take a neutral stand on this issue.  Both sides equally have their valid points.  No doubt then, I trust that more research needs to be done before we can fully conclude that having it or not having it actually brings more positive effects than vice-versa.  Nevertheless, as parents or teachers, just as long as we continuously provide the adequate resources for educators to bring upon the best out of each and every individual child, including bilingual immigrant children, we should just stop debating and start brainstorming on ways how we, as a society can do our part to support that.  Lastly, I feel there should be more resources made available for students, not bilingual education in particular, but on any kind subject, especially since we are at the mark of progression through the Internet. 

 

 

 

 The Atlantic Online

 

This web page is by The Atlantic Online and is composed of one main article as well as other valuable resources.  The web page allows readers and viewers to go into chat forums and discuss posted articles within the site.  IT also has links to other related web sites.  The main article on the page discusses the history of BE, the reasons for the need of BE programs, the promoters of BE, and court cases that deal directly with issues concerning BE.  The article talks about how bilingual children need special help to succeed in our schools, however, a section of the article de4als with parents’ negative attitudes and lawsuits against BE programs.

 

 Critique of Bilingual Education

 

This site, which is published by the Hoover Institute and written by Peter Duignan, is a critique of bilingual education.  It first gives an overview of BE, then goes on to talk about how BE came about and who its main supporters were.  Arguments for and against BE are also given in the article.  The history and changes in bilingual education from 1986 to the present are also touched upon.  A section profiling Latinos is also part of the article as well as a debate over the usefulness and successfulness of Bilingual Education programs.  The last section talks about the advocates of Bilingual Education.

 

 

 History of Bilingual Education

 

This site is basically just a history of how Bilingual Education came about.  IT explores how it was started, and talks about the states different approaches which became the foundation for Bilingual Education programs.  It also discusses the effects the World War I era had on people’s feelings about the issue, with the enactment of many English-only laws as an effect.  IT brings up the Bilingual Education Act of 1968 and also talks about other legislative issues including Supreme Court cases and other smaller cases.  The site also contains links to current and past issues of Rethinking Schools Online as well as to other educational resources concerning the topic of BE.

 

 

Education Week

 

This page sponsored by Education Week on the web, discusses some statistics about Bilingual Education.  It also addresses the original goals of Bilingual Education programs.  The article goes on to include criticisms most commonly associated With BE, as well as comparisons between BE programs and English-immersion programs.  The article ends with information about campaigns against BE programs as well as other legislative issues.  The bottom of the page defines the different methods of BE including English-immersion, English as a second language, transitional, and two-way Bilingual Education.  Links to related organizations are also found on the page.  With registration, the site can also be used to search numerous articles concerned with BE which are listed with their dates and titles.

 

 

Multilingual Multicultural Research<<Rachael’s Favorite Site>>

 

This page is posted by the Center for Multilingual Multicultural Research.  This website is basically one big page with links for Bilingual Education resources and multicultural resources.  The site allows viewers the choice of posting additional resources to the page as well.  The links include different institutions and organizational websites that discuss BE.  Links to other pages, which are also link pages are also provided.  Bilingual Education programs of other countries are also listed as links.  Journal sites and online textbooks are also posted.  Links to numerous full text articles are also listed on the site.

 

This is my favorite website because it has a huge resource base.  There are so many links available on this page, doing research on the subject could be done using just the links on this page.  I also really liked it because it allows for a variety of different types of resources, including those from other countries.  This site provides a great database for research on Bilingual Education.

 

 

Impact:

By doing this website, I have learned so much more about Bilingual Education.  Not only have I learned the history behind it, but also I have gotten to see the differing viewpoints towards it.  I understand better now why many parents of bilingual children have problems with some of the programs.  By doing this research, I have also come to realize how important Bilingual Education is to the success of our multilingual children.  The controve4ry behind the subject has become more justified, and the desire for more thorough, well-implemented programs has come to my attention.  This website has also helped me to see that Bilingual Educational programs are often thought of in negative light, and have made me understand how difficult it is to please everyone that is directly affected in a school system by a particular program.  The need for successful Bilingual Education programs seems of much higher priority to me now as well.