Bilingualism and Multiliteracies in Australia

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This essay will demonstrate the research that is implemented on children with bilingual ability; discussing three main issues in bilingualism which is: the maintaining children’s first language, social and cognitive benefits, also why bilingualism should be in cooperated into school programming/curriculum.

Bilingualism can be defined as the ability to speak and/or write in two languages. In Australia English is the main language although in 1996, statistics show that 15% (2.5 million people) of the Australian population communicate in a language other than English at home and 42% of the population is born overseas (Australian Bureau Statistics, 1996). Most recently there are around 22 million Australians that speak in approximately 400 different languages (Australian Bureau Statistics, 2009). These statistics highlight the fact that there is an increasing rate of people who communicate in more than one language hence language is increasingly changing throughout society (Arthur, 2001). This suggests the need for support and understanding of bilingualism within children, families and the community.

It is important to maintain children’s home language as it may help them learn and understand a second language. Barratt-Pugh (2000) discusses the benefits of bilingualism and maintaining it through early childhood settings, also mentions the concerns families have for their children maintaining two languages through schooling. Research within the article states that children who speak more than one language will have a higher level of understanding literacy content, form, genre, as well as understand the differences and translating within both languages. This demonstrates a contrast of strengths and experiences with literacy (linguist...

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