13.11.2019 in Exploratory
Language Controversy in Bilingual Education

Language is a main instrument of learning and development of any external world. In addition, it is a major reservoir of knowledge about the culture, traditions and history of a nation. Forbidding a man to speak the native language means to destroy a great part of the individuality. Controversy of language is not only a communicative problem but also a social and political one. 

From a perspective of the bilingualism implementation, nobody says that the second language has to be provided. English is not the national language of the USA only, but also the common communicative tool of the world. However, if we want all people to have equal opportunities in the country of great hopes, the bilingualism at school is a required measure. Other questions are how, where, and in what way it has to be done. There are no unitary answers to these queries. Bilingual education is so controversial because there are many political, social, psychological and other factors. These ones have to be taken in account, while compiling the methodology of bilingual education.


Language discrimination

It causes many problems for English Language Learners at regular schools. If a pupil does not understand the teacher’s words, he/she feels helpless. A negative reaction of other students and sometimes the aggressive behavior, caused by their misunderstanding, makes incomers as outsiders. From this point, creating bilingual classes will help ELLs to be warm as toast. However, politics and pedagogues have seen another picture of how bilingualism causes the language discrimination.

According to the testing of students in one of San Diego’s schools, the introduction of Tagalog classes, offered by high school, could be a big mistake. In spite of the fact that most of them do not want to learn it at school. 

This fact helps to realize that sometimes separation of one pupil from the other one can cause language discrimination and make minority as outsiders. That is why there is no common answer to the question, what to choose: bilingual education or general.

Substitution of the English culture by other

Due to the fact that a great number of Spanish speakers have arrived in the USA and still continue doing it, there is a real possibility of the following areas appearance. There the people will speak only their native language. The state governments are concerned about this issue and, therefore, try to encourage children of the new Americans to learn English. Knowing it, immigrants would have all of the doors wide open. Since most of the Hispanic groups have a steady tendency to resist cultural assimilation with the English-speaking majority, they want their children to learn their native language. Unfortunately, this behavior causes a negative aftermath for educational and professional skills among the Latino pupils. The lack of education and inability to find a good job gives a rise of crime wave in some districts. Therefore, coming to America with hopes and dreams, many of them have to survive in a severe social environment of violence, murders, and poverty. 

It happens because of the two reasons: unhappy life in the native country of immigrants and their inability and unwillingness to join the American lifestyle in their newly gotten motherland. Therefore, there is a real opportunity for substituting the fundamental principles of life in the USA, such as honor, freedom, conscience, and tolerance for hypocrisy and wickedness. 

Adaptation. By teachers of students or by students of teachers

According to the conclusion of Au’s sociolinguistic research, made in a group of the Hawaiian children. It shows that bilingualism must not end on a two-language learning, but involve pedagogical methods. Such ones would be adapted to a mind-set of non-native students. As a result, these children will find it easier to adapt to the American surrounding. 

Thomas and Collier’s research shows that bilingual education, either it is 50:50 or 90:10, is much more effective than English-only mainstream programs. The programs, including the two-language methodology, have a smaller percent of dropouts in comparison with ones, using a sink-or-swim method. In addition, there is another methodology, which can be named universal. It has been described in the work, made by Bresser, Melanese, and Sphar. In their book, they have mentioned that mathematic is a universal language, understandable for everyone. It makes math lessons a good method for learning both Math and English. Each of these researchers brings us to understanding that to adapt an individual to our lifestyle, firstly, we have to adapt ourselves to the lifestyle of the person.

Debates of the bilingual education from the political and pedagogical retrospective

Controversies about languages and education between politics and pedagogues are explained from different sides. Politics has a wider angle of sight, which is not always objective. It is very correct that American education is controlled and funded at three levels: federal, state, and local. It gives an opportunity to view the problem from different angles.

The bilingual educational programs cannot be common to all the states of America. Each region has its perception of life and the right to create its own educational program. 227 Californian Proposition is a good example of independence, given to each of the States by the Congress. The model of the American society, called melting pot, ceased to exist in the mid-1980s. Now, it is a plate with a salad, where every ingredient is meaningful for the general taste of the dish. Despite the fact that this point causes many controversies about bilingualism at schools, an individualized approach is a basic element of democracy.

Parents’ factor 

It is normal that incomers want their children not to forget their roots and language. Speaking Spanish, Russian, French or other language at home, a family of immigrants keeps its national idea. The other side is that if you decide to move to another country, you must respect its customs and language. The pressure of parents to use the native language and school demands to speak English make a kind of a conflict between the educational institution and parents, in which a child is a middle rank. Such situation leads to other conflicts: between a kid and the family or the offspring and the school.

The similar situation took place in my friend’s family. They were the immigrants from the USSR and spoke Russian. When they moved from their native country, my friend was at the scholar age, so she entered the English educational institution. After some months, her parents realized that their child used many English terms in the everyday communication and started with the advocacy of Russian. Nowadays she speaks only English. She has a negative feeling about her roots. I think that deeply inside she respects her native language and culture, but because of her parents’ pressure, she does not want to show it. 


This must advertise not only Spanish speakers, but also all of the immigrants, who came to the USA to meet their happiness. Language controversy should take place in future, because the “truth is born of arguments”. In a discussion, only the most effective methodology of bilingual education could be found. In general, the educational system in the USA cannot be limited by one opinion or one pedagogical methodology. It is a huge country with many states. That is why the language debate should continue until the individual program of bilingual education for each of the state appears.

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