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Unit 2: Task 3 - Argumentative Essay

Ingrid María Castillo Marrugo

Code: 32 845 155

Group: 551035_13



May 8th, 2020


Does foreign language education promote bilingualism?

Learning foreign languages is important when progressing as a student and professional. The
development achieved by the new societies through economic and cultural integration requires the
mastery of different languages, and in most areas of human knowledge and development other
languages are used. In Colombia, the Ministry of Education since 1994, the general law of
education recognized the importance of learning a second language as a compulsory area of basic
and secondary education. But as a result of globalization, the Ministry of Education formulates the
National Bilingualism Program 2004-2019, which includes the new standards of communicative
competence in English. However, it is important to be clear about whether foreign language
education promotes bilingualism? To answer this question, it is important to know some important
aspects for which you can give affirmative support to the question asked. First, the difference
between the words bilingual and bilingualism will be identified. Secondly, factors such as
motivation and methodology will be taken into account. Finally identify how foreign language
education is being promoted and what is the scope that bilingualism has achieved.

As a starting point we are going to know what is the difference between the words Bilingual and
Bilingualism. Many times we repeat these words believing that their meaning is the same. When
investigating on these terms it was verified that we are wrong their meanings vary according to the
context that is given. Bilingualism is a highly variable concept and has evolved over time, not only
does it mean using two languages. These are the opinions of some authors: For Bloomfield (1933),
bilingualism implies "a command of two languages just like a native speaker". In other words, it is
the ability to speak two languages as mother tongue speakers do producing well-formed, meaning-
bearing sentences. For his part, Titone (1976) explains that bilingualism is the ability of an
individual to express a second language while respecting their own concepts and structures. Being
bilingual depends in many cases on the social value that can be derived from such a condition.
According to Haugen (1953), the bilingual person can use complete and meaningful expressions in
different languages. For his part, Weinreich (1953) states that the practice of using two languages

alternately is called bilingualism and the people involved are bilingual. Bilinguals generally acquire
and use their languages for different purposes, in different domains of life, with different people and
different aspects of life.

Teaching foreign languages promotes bilingualism for various reasons: Because it promotes the
development of skills in students, that is, that a student who learns a foreign language will be well
positioned to face the new demands of this increasingly interdependent world. There is no teaching
of a foreign language without knowing the culture. According to data from Teaching English to
Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL), of every 5 English speakers in the world, only 2 are native
speakers. There is a positive relationship between the languages studied, which facilitates the
transfer between them and the learning of academic and conceptual aspects (Cummins, 1999). The
Bilingual education has a positive effect on academic performance (Greene, 1998). When the
subjects taught are of interest to the students, their motivation increases and this favors the
acquisition of the second language (Riagáin & Lüdi, 2003). Active and participatory teaching and
learning methodologies must be organized taking into account the needs and interests of the student,
for example: group activities, attention to the diversity of the students, favoring the different
learning rhythms. Motivate students based on their interests and expectations.

In Colombia the Ministry of Education formulates the National Bilingual Program, which includes
the new Standards of communicative competence in English. It is a program that strengthens
competitiveness and incorporates the use of new technologies to learn a second language. Being
bilingual in Colombia means knowing how to speak English with citizens capable of moving
economic processes, cultural openness, and comparable international standards. According to
(MEN, 2006, p. 6), the proficiency level at the end of high school is B1. For everyone, regardless of
needs, resources, economy or motivation. In order for bilingualism to have a positive scope, it is
important that teachers are qualified, providing didactic resources so that classes are no longer
monotonous, raising the level of English because it is important to increase the country's
competitiveness. For example, in Colombia they are making the greatest effort to develop
communication skills in students so that they can develop in contexts of simple and common

interaction in foreign languages such as English. The PNB has established specific lines for the
identification of the training needs of teachers, the formulation of training plans consistent with
those needs and, in general, the monitoring of the English teaching and learning processes in the
country. According to Galindo and Moreno (2008), they affirm that the level of language and the
methodological knowledge of teachers has improved, Velazco (2011) affirms that after the issuance
of the "Basic Standards of competences in foreign languages: English", schools and Colombian
institutions have tried to review their curricula taking into account the knowledge of their teachers
on the methodology of teaching and learning English. Likewise, educational establishments have
sought to determine competencies in the communication skills of their students and make
adjustments to their institutional educational projects (PEI)

In conclusion, it is feasible that language teaching promotes bilingualism is not only for students to
learn another language. It also includes how to prepare them to face the requirements of a
globalized world, with economic and social changes. Raising awareness of linguistic and cultural
varieties. In Colombia, the Ministry of Education has promoted bilingualism through the teaching
of English in foreign languages. The results are taking slow steps. Little by little, favorable results
are being seen regarding the promotion of bilingualism in Colombia and other countries.


Baker, C (2001). Bilingualism: definitions and Distinctions. In Foundations of bilingual

education and bilingualism. Buffalo, NY: Multilingual Matters. pp. 2-16. Retrieved
from https://criancabilingue.files.wordpress.com/2013/10/colin-baker-foundations-of-bilingual-

Salgado, A. (2019). Bilingualism and Bilingual Education [Video File]. Retrieved

from https://repository.unad.edu.co/handle/10596/25847