I believe the language(s) an individual speaks is strongly related to the identity the individual holds about him or her self. This I have come to realize as I have developed, and continue to do so, my own identity as an ethnic minority in the U.S. Though I did not receive formal “bilingual” education, I have learned to value my knowledge of two languages. The further I delve into the field of bilingual education, as an educator, the more I learn about my identity as a bilingual Mexican-American. For instance, according to, Stephen Krashen (expert in the field of linguistics), people come to know a second language through 2 different methods, one may dominate the other, acquisition and learning. I acquired Spanish through my experiences growing up with Mexican parents, in addition to the adventures I have had in Spanish-speaking countries as a traveler, a teacher, and as a volunteer. The culmination of my work & experiences as a bilingual educator will serve as a form of reference/reflection for the research in bilingual/bicultural education during my doctoral studies.
What do I want to contribute to the current conversation about bilingual/bicultural education?
My experiences in public schools have led me to question whether bilingual education in lower class neighborhoods can be implemented well when there are other existing programs that are intended to raise standardized test scores, which begs the question, in these types of scenarios, can bilingual services be detrimental to students? Is bilingual education feasible for lower-class students in public schools that have various programs? Who actually gets to decide this?
Below are a few thoughts/observations I have made…..
1) Bilingual education programs are NOT implemented well because of the politics in public schools. For instance, due to the low standardized test scores, many times there are other programs trying to be implemented, which can conflict with the objectives/intentions of a bilingual program.
2) Teachers knowledge of Spanish is not as proficient like a native speaker from a Spanish-speaking country. Most of the bilingual teachers I have observed, including myself, grew up speaking Spanish in the US or they haven’t spent nearly enough time in a Spanish-speaking country.
Why I am in favor of bilingual education.
1) When programs are implemented well, they are successful no matter what the children’s home-life or socio-economic background.