In recent years, bilingual education has become popular throughout the world. Such education implies practical studies in two languages and is used in educational institutions of most bilingual countries. In some cases one of the languages may be the one used by ethnical minorities. Furthermore, bilingual curriculums are often introduced in schools, colleges and higher educational establishments where much attention is paid to learning foreign languages and foreign cultures. Here, the main task is to create proper conditions for students to understand intercultural language environment better.
Furthermore, bilingual education has recently become part of some of the pre-school establishments around the world. Such countries as Germany, France, Finland and Austria continue to actively contribute to the development of bilingual education in the pre-school environment. It is considered that such education will be more effective if it is introduced to children at an early age. This is because children are always willing to discover and learn something new without any barriers or stereotypes. However, bilingual education is both approved and criticized. There are a number of negative and positive sides of such kind of education as will be discussed below.
Speaking about the advantages of bilingual education, it needs to be noted that such education allows a student to feel him/herself comfortable in the multilingual world. Moreover, this type of education allows a student to complete education in one of the world languages without losing a connection with his/her ethnical roots. Such a situation takes place when a person studies abroad. Furthermore, bilingual education improves thinking abilities and helps to master the art of analysis. Bilingual educational programs help a person to avoid being faced with a language barrier or misunderstanding. It also helps to adapt to learning other languages, developing communication skills and improving language abilities. Education carried out in several languages simultaneously contributes to the development of language skills and memory making a student more flexible, tolerant and open-minded. This means that a student will learn to cope with difficulties better.
Nevertheless, some people are against bilingual education for several reasons. First, sometimes the language integration that takes place in the course of bilingual education basically makes a person lose a connection with his/her native culture. On the one hand, a person learns to think broadly using several languages, but on the other hand, the language knowledge is dispelled. This means that by trying to master several languages at a time, a person fails to gain enough knowledge in both languages. This is a significant drawback of bilingual education.
Furthermore, for bilingual educational programs to be efficient, professional and qualified teachers are a must. Otherwise, students will know neither a foreign language, nor their native one as their attention will constantly be dispersed. Without a qualified teacher students will not be able to master several languages so that bilingual education will do harm rather than bring benefit. Without any doubt, bilingual education has a great number of advantages, which often surpass the drawbacks. However, every person should make his/her own choice and decide whether bilingual education is what he/she needs. Bilingual education should be treated as something that may be harmful or beneficial in every given case. It is up to everyone to decide whether this type of education will be effective and help him/her to become a qualified specialist in this or that field of study. Overall, bilingual education proves to bring more benefits in terms of pre-school education as little children tend to master languages better than adults. This leads to an assumption than bilingual education is recommended to be introduced in pre-school educational establishments; however, in some cases its introduction in higher educational institutions may bring more harm than benefit.