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Bilingual Education



Publisher:The National Society For The Study Of Ed

Authors:M. Beatriz Arias, Ursula Casanova

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Bilingual Education Description

This book provides an in-depth look at issues surrounding the field of bilingual education. The focus is on meeting the needs of language minority students of Hispanic backgrounds, but the discussion throughout has relevance for those working in bilingual education in other contexts.
The book is also relevant for all who want to see all children and youth served effectively and equitably in our schools. Although the concern here is with diversity arising because of differences in language and cultural backgrounds, the authors deal with issues that are central when confronting problems linked to other kinds of diversity that increasingly characterize school populations.
The history of bilingual education in the United States is a manifestation of a persistent conflict between assimilationists and cultural pluralists. This conflict is at the root of the "politics" of bilingual education, as is clearly seen here in discussions of developments in federal and state policy.
Descriptions of practices in elementary and secondary schools with large numbers of language minority students indicate considerable variety in approaches to the problem and even in how the term "bilingual education" is construed. It is clear, however, that contributors to this volume see dual language instruction as "the best possibility for achieving the social goals of education as well as for contributing to the linguistic resources of the country." Taken together, their chapters offer a persuasive rationale for that view.
It is not easy to devise quality programs using dual language instruction. The lack of adequately prepared teachers is a major obstacle. There are important methodological issues to be considered. Problems in the evaluation of programs, including the assessment of students' progress, offer special difficulties. Meaningful involvement of parents is seen as a critical component of effective dual language programs, as is the effective use of the primary language of students "as a resource."
Throughout the volume the authors cite and comment upon much of the significant research that has brought a new understanding of the problems and possibilities of bilingual education.

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