Bilingualism and it's importance in Education

Essay by matonnaUniversity, Bachelor's January 2007

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With more refugees fleeing from their countries due to civil war & political reasons, travel times becoming less, far easily accessible communication and doors opening wider to international trade & finance the world seems like a much smaller place and more and more people are becoming intertwined with each other. Over the last 30 years, as a consequence of globilisation, Australia is changing and recognition of diverse cultural backgrounds is becoming a more important issue each day (Jones Diaz, 2006).

It is as a result of this social diversity, that educators are facing the challenges today of many more children bringing their cultural, linguistic and religious values and beliefs with them to the classroom. As an example, in the state of New South Wales 17% of kindergarten students come from homes where standard English is not the usual language of communication in the home (Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2002). Therefore, it is understandably so parents would like educators to incorporate their children's values and practices into their learning environment.

As many writers on multicultural education believe it is necessary for educators to have a cultural understanding to ethnic differences. It is through an understanding of cultural differences that teachers can appreciate the difficulties that some children may face when starting school and be able to address these problems. As research has proven that in order for all children to succeed in education they must be shown equality as some of the problems that can occur for children who suffer from educational disadvantage can include; communication failure, culture conflict, language loss, prejudice, irrelevance of the curriculum, inappropriate methods of instructions and self esteem issues (Partington & McCudden, 1992).

According to Vygotsky a child's development is a direct result of his or her culture. He believed that different kinds of social interactions...