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History of Bilingual Education Term Paper

Pages:4 (1298 words)



Topic:Bilingual Education

Document Type:Term Paper


Education, especially bilingual education and its evolution in the United States, has paved its way in every state with differences in approaches and choices of language being taught. A part of US schooling history is its rich history and practice of native language teaching and bilingual education. Ovando (2003), in his study, found that it was about two hundred years ago that American communities first started assembling large numbers of young children to educate them. Instruction typically took place in languages besides English, and in two or more languages (e.g., Dutch and German in Pennsylvania, German and Spanish in Texas, and the French language in Louisiana). The toleration and use of several languages for education and interaction suggest a wide linguistic pluralism ideology in this era (Ovando, 2003). Keeping in mind the variations and interactions of the different languages, one sees a rich and vibrant culture of bilingual education that seems unique to the United States.

One of the driving forces of this pluralistic ideology was the influx of migrants into the United States, most of whom had different demographics, came from different backgrounds and spoke different languages. This unique philosophy was manifested through public policy that facilitated teaching in native languages and bilingual education, multilingual theatrical productions, and newspaper printing and circulation in several languages. But, Ovando (2003) found that the aforementioned linguistic pluralism didn't imply equal acceptance of every language. Several Mexican, Asian, and Native American languages underwent systemic segregation and devaluation in this period. Over a hundred years ago, the concept of the English language as a mark of the national identity of America and its sole language cropped up in response to the huge inflow of migrants from European countries that didn't speak English. The growth of this linguistic ideology was accompanied by novel restrictive migration policies and compulsory free education in the nation. One of the key goals of these novel "common" American schools was: "Americanization" of students under a broader attempt at assimilating Eastern and Southern European migrants (Ovando, 2003). The development of this linguistic ideology become the cornerstone whereby all bilingual education tactics had to turn.

The ideology of having English as the native language became a barricade for the expanse of bilingual education. Ovando (2003) explains that resistance against the non-English- speaking Europeans and the move for "Americanizing" common schools formed part of an overriding, nationalistic "English language only" ideology which remained dominant in American mainstream society and educational system for the major part of the 20th century's former half. Despite this deterring, assimilationist atmosphere, several individuals still spoke their…

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…key multicultural education goal is helping learners gain the necessary knowledge and cultivate dedication for reflective decision- making, in addition to taking individual, community, and societal action for promoting a democratic living and democracy. Wei (2013) found that opportunities to take individual action aid students in developing a sense of individual and community efficiency, belief in their capability of effecting changes within their respective institutions, and in situations for applying their acquired knowledge. Action projects and activities ought to be adapted to learners' ethical and cognitive levels of development. Action on the part of primary-level children may involve committing to not laugh at derogatory ethnic jokes. Action on the part of early to middle-grade students may include reading books on other cultural, racial, and ethnic groups. Students at the upper elementary level may cultivate friendships with students belonging to other ethnic and racial groups, in addition to taking part in cross-racial projects and activities with students attending other schools within their city. Lastly, upper- grade enrollees may engage in projects which offer comfort and support to special- needs community members. Further, they may take part in school board elections, local program elections, and other local political events (Wei, 2013). This personal growth experienced by students in bilingual education structures is also a testament to the awareness of various…

Sample Source(s) Used


Banks, J. A. (1995). Multicultural Education: Its Effects on Students' Racial and Gender Role Attitudes. Handbook of Research on Multicultural Education (pp. 617-627). New York: Macmillan.

Gándara, P., & Escamilla, K. (2017). Bilingual education in the United States. Bilingual and multilingual education, 1-14.

Ovando, C. J. (2003). Bilingual education in the United States: Historical development and current issues. Bilingual research journal, 27(1), 1-24.

Saravia-Shore, M., & Arvizu, S. F. (2017). Cross-cultural literacy: An anthropological approach to dealing with diversity. In Cross-cultural Literacy (pp. xv-xxxviii). Routledge.

Wei, L. (2013). Integration of Multicultural Education into English Teaching and Learning: A Case Study in Liaoning Police Academy. Theory & Practice in Language Studies, 3(4).

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