Are Schools Encouraging Bilingualism?
In years past, immigrant parents and educators actively discouraged children from speaking their native languages, thinking that it would smooth the way for assimilation and achievement in school. Today, however, a growing body of research is pointing to the benefits of speaking more than one language, and a growing number of parents are searching for the best way to raise multilingual children.
This article, by Associated Press writer Rasha Madkour, looks at the benefits of bilingualism and some of the methods used by parents, such as “OPOL (one parent, one language) and mL(at)H (minority language at home).”
As Madkour points out: “The benefits and drawbacks of each method are a hot topic of debate by parents and educators in blogs and online forums.”
Research, including the findings presented at this conference, have found that one way to help immigrant students master English literacy skills is to support their native language and culture.
What are schools and families doing in your area? Do they still discourage Latino and other immigrant children from speaking native languages at home or are they promoting bilingualism?