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Bilingual Education In The School Systems Of The United States

1400 words - 6 pages

Over half of the world’s population today is bilingual, meaning that it is able to use two languages with equal fluency, and sixty-six percent of children are raised to speak more than one language. At the same time, only 6.3 percent of children in the United States are being raised this way. In an effort to keep up with the times, many school systems throughout the world practice bilingual education, or teaching two languages simultaneously. Bilingual education from kindergarten or earlier is not a common practice in the United States, which is greatly disadvantageous to the students. Bilingualism has many positive effects on physical and mental health, and it even has social and ...view middle of the document...

People who know two languages tend to have higher scores on tests such as the ACT and the SAT, and concentration is easier for those who know more than one language. Better concentration makes the education process much easier and more enjoyable. Bilinguals also adjust to change better than those who are monolingual. The list of positive impacts that bilingualism has on a person’s educational experience is endless, and the priceless outcomes will stay with the person for a lifetime.
Bilingual education would benefit people of all ages—from infancy all the way through their elderly age. Through studies, it has been proven that learning a second language can slow the formation of dementia by up to five years, depending on the level of fluency. In certain cases, Alzheimer’s disease can even be prevented through bilingualism. Researchers at York University conducted a study in which they reviewed the hospital records of patients who were both monolingual and bilingual and had been diagnosed with dementia. They discovered that the average age of diagnosis of dementia in people who were monolingual was 75.4 years, while the average age of diagnosis for someone who was bilingual was 78.6. These health benefits are due to strengthened working memory. Children who are bilingual have shown improved working memory. Weak working memory has been linked to diseases such as Parkinson’s and schizophrenia. The stronger the working memory, the lesser the chance of these diseases forming or becoming severe. The advantageous effects on the mental health of a person, even into their elderly age alone are enough of a reason to favor bilingual education.
There are also social and emotional benefits directly linked to bilingualism. The American Psychiatric Association claims that bilinguals are able to pay attention better. Being bilingual forces more parts of the brain to be used, and when a second language is learned before the age of five, children’s brains have shown denser gray matter. This is the part of the brain that controls language and communication. Denser gray matter has been associated with increased intellect. Bilingual children have also been known to internalize negative states such as anxiety, loneliness, and poor self-esteem less often. They also externalize emotions such as anger, aggression, and arguing less frequently than children who are monolingual. Bilinguals also cope with change with more ease than monolinguals. Knowing a second language also allows a child to understand and relate to different cultures with more ease. It is easier for a bilingual person to understand and appreciate diversity than one who is monolingual. Bilingual education would contribute to stronger social and emotional skills in children, and diversity would be much more easily achieved.
Most objections to bilingual education are based on misconceptions. One of these is that learning a second language will confuse students or take away from...

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