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Bilingual Education It may well often be heard If they come to this country they need to speak English When foreigners come here they bring with them a wealth of culture and language to our shores They marry or bring families from their native lands to live here These immigrants all share in a desire to prosper and take advantage of the opportunities in America Therefore their children must be educated in an effective way The logical approach to this education would be to begin introducing English within the framework of their native language Bilingual education is a valuable and necessary tool for non-English-speaking children in the United States Although there are many arguments for and against the implementation or maintenance of bilingual programs in the public school system in the final analysis bilingual education should be encouraged in the public school system because of the advantages educationally economically and socially Bilingual children reap educational benefits due to the bilingual experience Colin Baker states as a result of his research that cognitive development is positively impacted by bilingualism According to Baker and Andrew Latham the areas of advantage are cognitive development divergent thinking and mental flexibility The primary areas of cognition are memory recall and organization Andrew Latham found that bilingual children have more diverse and flexible cognitive ability than their single-language counterparts 79 He also theorizes that since levels of bilingual literacy vary so does the level of benefit 79 Theoretically this gives support to the advantage of bilingual education since the strength of ability in two languages translates to a higher level of cognitive ability An example of this cognitive ability can be demonstrated in the classroom In the instance of Spanish-English bilinguals who are learning new words in English that are similar in Spanish Consider a third grade class learning the word wonderful wonderful is a German-derived word wundervoll therefore new to both bilingual and monolingual students However now consider the word
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