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In this chapter, I discussed some program options for educating children for additive bilingualism. We saw that bilingual education can take many different forms depending on the goals of the program, target student populations, and how the two languages are used in instruction. I first referred to Cummins’s (1996) distinction between the means and the goals of a particular program. When defined in terms of the means, bilingual education simply refers to the use of two (or more) languages to varying degrees in instructional contexts. Proficiency in two languages is not necessarily a desired outcome. We saw that some models, such as transitional bilingual education in the U.S., are bilingual education in name only, with the real aim of promoting English mono- lingualism. However, when defined in terms of goals, bilingual education may actually be delivered in one language for a period of time so as to help students develop adequate proficiency in that language. This chapter was about the so- called strong forms of bilingual education whose explicit goal is to develop bilingual capacities in students.

I discussed two types of strong forms of bilingual education: (1) enrichment programs, which serve relatively privileged language majority speakers learning through the medium of another language, and (2) maintenance programs, which help language minority speakers maintain the use of their mother tongues while learning a second language. We saw that language majority speakers and language minority speakers have different needs when it comes to bilingual development. In order to become bilingual, majority language speakers need to have substantial opportunities to hear and speak the target language—it is simply not enough to have foreign language lessons for half an hour a day. We saw that the opportunity to actually study content material (e.g., math, science, social studies) through a target language offers both academic and linguistic benefits. This is in fact the approach taken by Canadian French immersion and the European Schools. Students in these programs become proficient in two or more languages while making good progress academically.

In maintenance programs, we saw that there is always the danger of the majority language dominating students’ academic and social spheres. Because of this, many successful maintenance programs postpone the introduction of the societal language into the curriculum for a few years. And when the second language is introduced, it is done gradually and with plenty of native language support. Effective programs are well aware of the unequal prestige accorded to the two languages and often go out of their way to prop up the weaker language. We also saw that because language shift is accelerating and more and more students come to school not already proficient in their native language, there is a need for programs to teach the native language to the children. In particular, programs need to distinguish the specific language and learning needs of L1 and L2 learners of the minority language (May & Hill, 2005).

Finally, I discussed two-way (dual) immersion which serves both language majority and language minority students in the same classroom with the goal of fluent bilingualism for both groups. We saw that dual immersion offers advantages for both groups by turning the minority language into a resource in the classroom. English speakers benefit from having sustained opportunity to interact with peers who are native speakers of the target language while English learners benefit from learning literacy and academic content in their native language, which in turn helps their acquisition of English. By deliberately mixing students from both majority and minority language backgrounds and requiring them to learn from each other, dual immersion has the potential to offset linguistic inequality present in the wider community. But as Palmer (2008: 664) points out, “moments of English dominance appear in practically every turn of talk” in a dual immersion classroom, and “it is challenging to maintain a strong positioning of the minority language and culture with English-speaking students present.” The key to addressing this, Palmer states, is in the preparation, openness, and awareness of the teacher in the classroom.

As with all types of education, there are no quick fixes, no one-size-fits-all models in bilingual education. A program that works well for a given student population may not work well with another group. Educators, parents, and policy-makers should study and learn from good practices but implementation of a successful bilingual education program will invariably require adaptation of models to suit the particular set of needs of the local population. Ensuring successful education in two languages is perhaps more complex than doing so in one language but the resulting gain in individual and societal bilingualism makes the whole enterprise well worth the effort.

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