Bilingual education is a means to impart education through the use of two or more languages, the first language being English and the second one being a different language. Bilingual education also includes teaching academic content to the pupils in two different languages, using varying amounts of both the languages as per the system set up. It is also known as cross-language instruction (CLI).
Bilingual students must be able to communicate using both the languages properly and efficiently. This can only be achieved by having at least good basic command over both the languages. Bilingual Education is a highly effective method for teaching students to master two or more languages.
The aim of such an education is to help the student to understand the basics of the second language, which will be used for further studies in the third language. In other words it trains the students to read and write in both languages, as well as to understand cultural nuances of the foreign culture.
However, there are some basic skills that are required in order to successfully implement this method. Below is a list of some of the most common ones that are usually taught in Bilingual Education classes:
Communication – This is the main skill that will help you understand the second language. You must be able to express your ideas clearly in both languages in order to make the student understand your message. Once you understand what you want to say, you can proceed to the next paragraph and begin to relay your message.
Speaks in both languages – You should be able to converse in both languages fluently. By speaking in both languages you will get to know how people in the other country to communicate, and how they think and speak. This will help you make out any difference between their languages, which will help you learn how to communicate with them fluently.
Read in both languages – You need to be able to read in both languages fluently, so that you will not have difficulty understanding the content written in the English language. You will be able to understand the same content written in English and the other language. As you get familiar with the content written in the other language, you can then start to know how to write it in the second language.
Understands cultural nuances – You need to be able to understand the culture, customs and social norms of both the countries and their language. Once you know how to express yourself in both languages effectively, you will be able to understand the same culture in your native language.
Basic skills like these can be learnt from school but are not taught in most schools. Bilingual Education ensures that the students understand the basics of the language and get to know how to speak it fluently.
There are different ways in which the students learn how to speak their second language. Some of them are:
Using multimedia – There are some interactive teaching methods that help the students understand the concept better and get to know more about the topics. You can take the help of audio visual aids like CD’s or DVDs to get to know the concept more easily.
Tape recordings – If you don’t have a lot of time to go around, you can try to listen to the tape recording of the lesson in your native language. and follow the instructions, which will enable you to learn the language more easily and efficiently.
Interactive games – In interactive games, the students are forced to practice the concept, and find out what is the main point being made by the teacher. Using such games is very effective. This way, they will get to know how to communicate with the teacher and learn the concept, but at the same time learn how to understand the other culture and language. You can also use flash cards to explain the concept in a very simple manner.