October 29, 2008

What is bilingual education?

This thing that came from the Education Minister about having the first four hours of schooling delivered in English has got me really wound up. (Apologies to those who don't want to hear me go on about political stuff again, but I'm seriously on the bandwagon... I'll chill out one day). One thing that winds me up is that when most people hear the new policy they go 'oh great, of course that will improve English outcomes... why have we been stuffing around with Bilingual education'? Too many people I've spoken to over the past few days just haven't understood what the point of Bilingual education is. I've taken it for granted that people know what it is and what it's for. It's not about teaching Indigenous language at the expense of English.

A really nice summary of Bilingual Education is found on good old Wikipedia. If you or anyone you know doesn't quite know what Bilingual Education education is about, point them here. Just that simple explanation makes Marion Scrymgour's plan for improving litearcy outcomes look pedagogically flawed and misguided (not to mention just plain mean to those communities who have invested in their bilingual programs).

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