Edu-Wednesday: The Language of Love

Guest post by Reynaldo Macias (@ReynaldoMacias)

Todos los padres que yo conozco aman a sus hijos. Quieren que sus hijos vuelen con alas de oro, hasta vistas y montañas previamente no conocidas. And the best way to do that is bilingual education. Around the world, children are being educated in multiple languages, opening doors for them that they have yet to imagine.

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For immigrant parents in the United States, they most obviously want their young ones to learn English, in order to navigate the majority culture and access the corridors of opportunity, power and success. For wealthy or economically advantaged parents in these same United States, school visits and decisions often hinge upon which “foreign languages” their child will have exposure to, or the opportunity to learn.

Los Latinos, entonces, debemos aprovechar la oportunidad que tenemos, y demandar educación bilingüe para nuestros hijos. No estoy hablando de “spanglish”. In this instance, we are talking about re-enforcing literacy in the native language of Spanish, and in the language of power, English. We’re also not speaking of the segregation which has reemerged, in both Arizona and California, that places English Language Learners (predominantly Latinos in both cases), in separate and unequal classrooms where they fall further and further behind until they drop out.

A bilingual education is one that teaches both languages explicitly, and ensures literacy in both. While this may be a challenging notion, the purpose of education is to equip students with the tools necessary to succeed outside of the classroom. The mental agility necessary to learn both languages is a skill to be developed and practiced at school. The use of both languages consistently reinforces knowledge that will help them to navigate lives beyond campus. This inclusion and instruction of two languages is the norm in independent schools across the country.

Education in more than one language is a basic tenet of quality education that we need to adopt and demand of all our schools to set Latino children on the path to greater academic and future success. While some parents might be hesitant to confront this issue with the school administrators, it is imperative que los padres step up and speak up.

Bilingualism isn’t simply a benefit to be reserved to students fortunate enough to attend elite educational institutions. Being able to communicate in more than one language is becoming a gateway skill for success in the twenty-first century.

Standing up for our children and their learning, though, does teach them yet another language. Que mantengan el idioma de su familia, de su hogar, y que aprendan el idioma del poder en los Estados Unidos. Es un mensaje en el idioma más universal del mundo: el idioma del amor.


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    tonytorero 9 years ago

    ¡Que si compañero! It is a very difficult proposition to teach mastery of two languages to your children concurrently but, it’s SOOOO worth it and gives your children a gift that lasts a lifetime!

    I have had the unique experience of living in a Spanish speaking & an English speaking country and teaching my children both languages. In the Spanish speaking country, my wife and I made a concerted effort to speak ONLY English in the house and then ONLY Spanish outside of the house. Since returning to the US, we now do the opposite. Full immersion has been, in our experience, the best way to accomplish raising truly bilingual children who speak & operate in two languages fluidly.

    Children are so much more capable of learning and acquiring additional languages than us ‘big-kids’ are! And, what a better way to encourage a complete acculturation into multiple cultures than helping them find their wings to have a complete integration within two worlds!?

    Forgive my excitement but I’m passionate about this topic and you’ve done a beautiful job of expressing an important call to action that all could learn something from. ¡Que me encanta como te has expresado y entregado este mensaje de un tercer idioma que va más allá del inglés y español… ese idioma del amor! ¡Gracias Reynaldo!

    reymac 9 years ago

    Gracias para tus palabras y tu sentimiento, hermano! I’ve seen the arguments for and against, and they all boil down to wanting mis hijos to surpass what I have done! La lucha continua!

    MagRivera 9 years ago

    Estoy de acuerdo contigo! Dual language is Universal and yet here in the U.S. it continues to be a topic of debate. All over the world it is a norm, to use the native language and the language of power, English, as you so aptly stated.

    At our organization, HITN, we recently held an ELL SUMMIT with ELL experts to gain insight on literacy for the development of media learning properties. Overall the consensus from this summit concluded rich vocabulary in one
    language (Spanish) can increase literacy skills and accelerate learning of another language (English). Entonces Latinos seguimos ese idioma de amor porque es nuestro avantaje. Thanks for your great article!

    Su cipto 8 years ago

    yes, When you have posted it, I was conscious of you have seen on this subject, to provide informational messages to our readers it is really. I hope that you will continue to write this kind of blog. Thank you for sharing this information. 

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