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Asian American Heritage Language Education in U.S - Research Paper Example

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The aim of this paper is to encourage bilingualism and demonstrate heritage languages as a fundamental aspect of developing a bilingual society. Attention will also be given to existent efforts and programs examining how they can be improved and their effects so far…
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Asian American Heritage Language Education in U.S
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Asian American Heritage Language Education in U.S

Until recently, negative views about the personality and social development of bilingual children have been frequently expressed. Bilingualism was long associated with and even said to cause, mental confusion, identity and emotional problems, social attachment deficits, loyalty conflicts and poor self-esteem and self-concept (Sung & Padilla, 1998). However, it is clear that most people in the world have some sort of facility in more than one language and, as widely informed, it is monolingualism that is an aberration, an affliction of the powerful, and a disease to be cured.Until the late 1970’s, a majority of authors presented a negative, prejudiced view about bilingual personalities. Bilingual children were described as having split minds, being ‘neither here nor there,’ marginal people. Subsequent research has demonstrated that in any case, bicultural or bilingual individuals suffer detrimental effect on personality; bilingualism is not likely to be the cause. Rather, the social, economic and political conditions surrounding the development of bilingualism generate the problems.In America, where English is considered the dominant language, it would make sense to teach everyone English only. However, would this be the right course of action given that this would contribute to the extinction of heritage languages and cultures? In the late 20th century, United States had enacted the English-Only pedagogy among conquered peoples and minority groups on the margins of national life....
Subsequent research has demonstrated that in any case bicultural or bilingual individuals suffer detrimental effect on personality; bilingualism is not likely to be the cause. Rather, the social, economic and political conditions surrounding the development of bilingualism generate the problems (Park, 2007). In America, where English is considered the dominant language, it would make sense to teach everyone English only. However, would this be the right course of action given that this would contribute to the extinction of heritage languages and cultures? This question is best addressed by looking at the nation’s history. In the late 20th century, United States had enacted the English-Only pedagogy among conquered peoples and minority groups on the margins of national life (Blanton, 2006). The first region to be affected was Puerto Rico, and was considered the most significant pedagogical laboratory for language learning. English was made the primary language of instruction for all the subjects shortly after the American occupation in 1898. This was in place of Spanish-English bilingual education (Blanton, 2006). While English-Only pedagogy was the dominant instructional approach for teaching non-English speaking children between 1900 and 1930, it demonstrated an abysmal track record. Children in English only classrooms were simply not expected to thrive educationally. Educators made it clear that spoken English was the only objective it took precedence over such other subjects as reading, mathematics, and science (Sung & Padilla, 1998). In assessing the approach, it was concluded that English-Only pedagogy institutionalized and rationalized academic failure (Blanton, 2006). The most publicized ... Read More
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