In contemporary multicultural world bilingual education plays a significant role in establishing peace and harmony. A child benefits from a better sense of belonging, increased personal growth and often greater professional success in future.
Bilingual education is not merely an efficient teaching and learning tool that contributes to the academic development of a person, his or her school success, it is also a powerful instrument for preservation of heritage language and understanding enrichment of the second language with the native one.
Historically the tradition of public bilingual education emerged as a response towards the needs of multicultural society that assists in developing bilingualism and biliteracy. Research has demonstrated the effectiveness of bilingual education in improving the knowledge and learning skills and helps in transition the skills learned to the second language (Duignan). Different countries including US implement progressive bilingual education programs according to which language is taught through subject content, though here they at times face the problem of linguistically uncompetent teachers in the second language and have to involve native speakers for the purpose (Maceri).
The two languages are definitely interconnected and for a student it is easier to learn his or her second language when a child is literate in the first. By achieving proficiency in both languages a person succeeds in personal growth and has more opportunities to find his niche in the society he or she lives in. Campbell discussing bilingual education supports other scholars’ viewpoint and claims that it creates favorable supportive environment for the academic and personal growth of many language-minority students and hardly truly threatens the national unity of any country (Campbell). One of his opponents, Porter, conservatively supposes that bilingual education is an experiment that “was begun with the best humanitarian intentions”ť, but has turned out to be wrongheaded and frequently politically-charged.
Support of bilingual education proves that both languages are equally important and give students better understanding of racial and ethical background that is schools should respond to the language needs of the children despite the fact that running bilingual classrooms is quite expensive. It still remains the most effective way of teaching children with limited second language proficiency. W. E. Du Bois justly said: “whenever a teachers’ convention”¦ tries to find out how it can cure the ills of society”¦the school has but one way”ť to do it and that is by making men intelligent. Bilingual education significantly helps children to enjoy educational advantages and reinforce the values. Students should be encouraged to learn both languages and regard them as indispensable means to success. Though opponents of bilingual education see in it unwillingness to assimilate, truly it is a serious advantage that is offered to students of different cultural and language backgrounds (Maceri). They say that as many languages you know so many times you are a human, you never feel linguistically and seldom feel culturally isolated as well as you are better prepared for life. Research of G.Mason University indicates that bilingual education works well and bilingually-educated students demonstrate better performance and display interest in school education as well as in after-school language tutoring.
Education is certainly a complex long-term process that involves not only learning a language, it gets students prepared for being skilled competent professionals raising their intelligence level and eliminating the discrimination towards minority language speakers in the academic and social spheres (Duignan). Bilingual education corresponds to the demands of modern society that needs flexible and competent specialists able to adequately face any difficulties and succeed.