The Miami Herald (Oct. 14, 2009) and picked up by world news featured an article on the benefits of bilingualism as a way to maintain heritage, culture, and be bilingual. This article really hit home as it emphasizes the struggle I live each day trying to foster the use of the Spanish language with my two boys. It recognizes that my generation of 30s and 40s feel that being bilingual will be an asset and a way to stay connected to our culture. I have lived in this country for 28 years more than what I live in my native country of Colombia and I still feel very Colombian, spanish speaker, and I love all the family, foods, and activities I did as a child and I also love my life here in the US and I want my kids to love, understand and communicate in both worlds.
So the article really reports on the efforts that many highly educated and successful parents are trying to do while recognizing how hard it is but how great and unique it is to be bicultural and bilingual and that is is important for our children to be that too!
In my home, my husband speak a little Spanish and I speak only Spanish to the boys, they go to two-way bilingual schools and yet the dominance of English is very clear by their choice of communication. I believe its fine for them to feel more comfortable in the language spoken where we live, English US, but they need to know how to speak the language of the mom’s heart and grandparents and family. Its hard to loose a connection to something that is part of the family life and the life of my family. So what I don’t understand is why some choose not to support bilingualism! If you don’t agree here is a thought for you from a very wise Educational Research, Maria Estela Brisk !
She speaks often of this phenomenon: Children who speak another language other than English who come to this country in the early years are send a clear message by our politics, schools, community– learn English at whatever expense (i.e. their native language and language of their families), but once children get to high school we require that they learn a new language — because they will need to be prepared for a global economy– so America which is it? Why is it one or the other? Why not both for every child!
Support the Joseph H. Hurley Elementary School in Boston, MA – a school committed to a true bilingual education where all children are taught to be literate in two languages!
So read the article, get informed about research happening around the world like in Europe where the norm is to know at least 3 languages! Read my blog and support others in the effort. Support moms by speaking to their children in their language so children learn that it is valued to be bilingual, give bilingual books, watch movies in other languages, talk about the world at large, embrace a multicultural community, learn a new language, support your extended family if they are trying to raise bilingual children! Value Value Values bilingualism!!!
Great book to get you started even if you are not bilingual yourself:
7 Ways to Raise a Bilingual Child
by Naomi Steiner MD (Author), Susan L. Hayes (Author), Steven Parker M.D. (Foreword)
Key Phrases: bilingual child, bilingual coach, bilingual goals, United States, Bilingual Action Plan, Making It Happen (more…)
4.8 out of 5 stars See all reviews (6 customer reviews) in amazon!
Or if you prefer a more academic book
Bilingual Education: From Compensatory to Quality Schooling by Maria Estela Brisk and otehr
Claudia is the Endowed Joan Wieler Arno 49 Professor at Lasell University. She is currently a full professor of education and chair of the Education Program. Claudia has been a teacher, researcher, consultant, and professor of special education.