The podcast begins with a well-known quotation by Gregg Roberts: “Monolingualism is the illiteracy of the 21st century.” To this point, our hosts acknowledge that, if this is the case, most of Americans would be considered illiterate. To counteract monolingualism, how can we establish bilingual education in American schools?
“Imagine there was a new way of teaching that results in most students becoming truly bilingual and biliterate before finishing high school. Imagine if this new way of teaching also helped American students rise up in academic achievement overall. And finally, imagine if this new way of teaching could also help students develop more empathy toward others, others both in our own country and abroad.”
“We might call that a revolution.”
Mr. Leveen and Mr. Hernández consider how dual language (DL) instruction, particularly immersion education, has been proven through research to be the most effective method of acquiring another language. Mr. Roberts, in an exclusive interview, comments that “Most experts out there today agree that there are three major goal areas for dual language: one is academic achievement, one is bilingual/biliteracy, and other one is cultural competency.”
Cultural competency, a standard with which TWIN-CS schools are very familiar, is considered a pivotal quality for the development of empathic relationships. During an interview at La Cosecha, an annual DL conference, Jim Lyons, former executive director of the National Association for Bilingual Education and current senior policy advisor to the Dual Language Education of New Mexico, illuminates why cultural competency is fundamental to our global world:
“But there is something even more important and fundamental [than becoming better competitors in a global market] – you can better collaborators. And the real challenge is our children will face can only be solved through international and world collaboration. And until you understand someone you can’t really be a good collaborator.”
As the United States joins the growing global world, bilingualism becomes necessitous. Consequently, DL instruction will inevitably revolutionize teaching in America and create the “student of the future.”
Please listen to the complete podcast here!
-Melissa Hoppie, Graduate Student Researcher