Bilingual Education: Building Bridges Essay example

Bilingual Education: Building Bridges Essay example

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Bilingual education, as an educational program, was initially promoted by educators in the seventies (Hunger of Memory 26) and since then has been a topic of many debates in America. Some argue that bilingual education only serves as a detriment to American culture. Others argue that bilingual education is beneficial to those who come to live in America and want to become a part of the culture, but lack proficiency in the English language. Two authors, who have each taken opposite sides of the debate on bilingual education in America, are: Richard Rodriguez and Ariel Dorfman. Richard Rodriguez believes that bilingual education creates a feeling of separateness between foreign language speakers and American society; therefore, bilingual education delays the formation of a public identity. In contrast, Ariel Dorfman argues that bilingualism in America will be a bridge to better understanding other cultures. I assume the position of being neither, against or entirely in favor of bilingual education. I am in favor of bilingual education because it can be an effective segue to learning the English language and I believe it is very important to remain connected with our family’s language and culture. However, I also recognize the negative feeling of separateness from the larger public that bilingual education can have on foreign language speaking families, which hinders my ability to fully embrace bilingual education.

Ariel Dorfman is an Argentinian author who struggled throughout his life to find a balance between the Spanish and English languages. As a result of Dorfman’s “bilingual journey” (Heading South 25), he argues that bilingual education is beneficial to American society. Dorfman believes that bilingualism will serve as a ...

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---. Heading South, Looking North. New York: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 1998. Print
Garcia, Maria E., Ofelia Skutnabb-Kangas, Tove Torres-Guzman. Imagining Multilingual Schools: Language in Education and Globalization. Clevdon, GBR: Multilingual Matters Limited, 2006. Web. 17 Apr. 2012.
Hadi-Tabassum, Samina. Language, Space and Power : A Critical Look at Bilingual Education. Clevdon, GBR: Multilingual Matters Limited, 2006. Web. 17 Apr. 2012.
Rodriguez, Richard. “Aria: A Memoir of a Bilingual Childhood.” Conversations: Reading for Writing. Ed.Gack Selzer. 5th ed. New York: Longman, 2003. 153-166. Print.
---. Hunger of Memory: The Education of Richard Rodriguez. New York: Bantam Dell, 1983. Print
Salomone, Rosemary C. True American: Language, Identity, and the Education of Immigrant Children. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2010. Web. 17 Apr. 2012.

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