Dr. Liliana Sanchez, MA, Ph.D. University of Southern California, an associate professor of linguistics at the Department of Spanish and Portuguese at Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, spoke about the challenges and advantages of bilingual education . If parents wonder how they would feel if their children could develop the same academic and cognitive skills in thedominant language and in their mother tongue, what would be the answer?
Disadvantages of minority parents
When we talk about parents of minority communities within a society, curiously, both in the United States or any other country, the result of my research has always shown me that most people who speak for monolingual education in the language dominant say parents do not want bilingual education.
This preference is assumed without doing surveys or questionnaires-because besides asking is very complicated, because they are minority, because to do surveys in their language, because usually taken for granted that parents are not educated to “really” support education of their children.
But if you really do surveys and questions parents what they want, of course they want their children to learn the dominant language in their society.That is logical and expected. What is not necessarily true it is that parents want their children to abandon their mother tongue.
The parent concerns
The concern of many parents is that children have access to the dominant language. Once that is assured, of course a lot of parents say they also want to develop their mother tongue.
It is very easy to scare a parent and tell you if your child goes to a bilingual education program (transitional) then only will you speak in the minority language, that bilingual education programs segregate your child and it is better your child to go to an English immersion program.
What will a parent answer to that? Rarely they are offered the option of a dual bilingual education .
Many families who speak only English would be very happy if you nominate your child to participate in a program in which is taught the same type of education they receive in a monolingual school in English, and will receive all this in another language. Is being proposed will enrich your child.
Parental involvement in bilingual education
Parents often we are tired, and we work and more work. Sometimes we complain and say “We have more homework than boys!” On issues of participation in school. However, I believe that many parents feel unable to assist in the education of their children because they say “I just received this level of education to primary school.”
Then they question, “how I will participate in my children’s education beyond the third grade if I just finished the third grade?” Yes it is possible, and it is much more feasible than it does a parent in their mother tongue .
In English submersion systems can not even get his son to the third grade. That is, from kindergarten parent involvement disappeared. No way, or have knowledge of English, not necessarily going to feel so comfortable sharing them with your child. a very large gap is created between parents and children.
A multilingual world is a world with greater understanding
Often situations where children are the interpreters of parents with regard to many aspects of society, and this is detrimental to both identify.
I think most parents do not like to see our mother tongue die. We do not like to be the last generation that spoke the language. In the case of Spanish the perception is that always come more speakers of the second generation.
When the children leave home parents, they say “that part of me do not share it with anyone else.”But if you attend a program of dual bilingual education known to have a larger group of social interaction and if you are college can meet someone who says “I speak Spanish, I attended a dual program, if you want to speak.” It may also occur with Mandarin, with Hebrew and all the other languages spoken in the United States.
Certainly it contributes to a climate of much greater understanding. Internationally, I think that would give the United States a very different picture in its projection into the world. We would be a nation in which we would say “yes we are speakers of many languages”.
And that’s the funny thing, because it is one of the few countries that has worldwide representation. It is difficult to find a language in the world that is not represented by a community in the United States.