Many bilingual schools function by speaking one language half the day and another for the other half. Or some schools may do one entire day in one language and one entire day in the other language. In Colorado, many schools focus on English and Spanish, which are the two most common languages spoken in the state and the country.
Proponents of a bilingual education say it helps students build an important skill while also teaching students about different cultures. A bilingual education has also been cited for helping students’ cognitive abilities overall and boosting self-worth and self-esteem.
However, opponents of a bilingual education say it can hinder a student’s ability to become proficient in a dominant language and that other cognitive abilities and learning advancements will suffer at the expense of an immersion experience. While some of these drawbacks might be true for some bilingual programs, the United States pales in comparison to other countries around the world when it comes to language proficiency. While around 60-75% of the world can speak more than one language, only about 20-25% of people from the United States can speak more than one language.
Why do you think this is? Could bilingual schools help, or is there a different solution?
Posted by Haley DiRenzo
Graphic from The Huffington Post