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Bilingual education is the term that we use when the information or the lessons are being presented using the English language and other foreign languages as well. Basically, any school that utilizes two or more languages in teaching children is a form of bilingual education.
Bilingual education started way back in the 1960s when the Civil Rights Act and the Bilingual Education Act was passed which decreed that a child should be instructed in his or her native tongue for a transitional year while he or she learned English but was to transfer to an all-English classroom as soon as possible. Many believe that bilingual education can help the students learn English in a more effective way.
With globalization and the rising numbers of immigrants all over the world, bilingual education is on high-demand as students who were raised speaking their native languages continues to struggle in coping up with their studies. They need to study all the subjects in school and at the same time learn English. As a bilingual teacher, you can help these kids learn knowledge and skills and make a difference in the community.
One of the requirements for aspiring bilingual teacher is becoming an expert in speaking and writing a foreign language. Some start as early as high school learning foreign language like Chinese or Spanish. If possible, learn the different cultures and tradition as well to understand the students better. The next step is to get a degree in an accredited university and take the licensure exam. Taking up a university degree will refine your skills in communication like reaching out to students from different culture and backgrounds. Acquiring new methodology in teaching is necessary to prepare for a career in the future.
There are many techniques of bilingual education programs. First is the Transitional Bilingual Education which means that the child will be taught using his or her native language on basic subjects like Math, Science, or History just so the child will not be left behind in his or her lessons while learning English. The main goal still is to have the transition to mainstream as soon as possible, not exceeding three years at least. Another type is the Dual Language Immersion where ideally in a classroom 50% will be native English speaker and another 50% will be non-native speakers. Though this method is not that common, it is proven to be effective and the children feels that they belong and is not considered a minority group. Other techniques are also available and will be learned as you master the skills necessary to become a bilingual elementary teacher.
As an Elementary Bilingual Educator, always keep in mind that this job is about being more than a teacher. It is about helping kids who are still learning the English language to be the best that they can be. Reaching out to those kids and making them feel that they are a part of the community and at the same time, having them equipped to face the challenges in the real world by helping them to transition and go to mainstream schooling after having mastered the English language. Helping to build that foundation to make sure that each kid will be able to make that transition and master and English language can help them to have a brighter future ahead.