The Place of English Language in The Context of Bilingual Education

About this sample

About this sample


Words: 2213 |

Pages: 5|

12 min read

Published: Aug 14, 2023

Words: 2213|Pages: 5|12 min read

Published: Aug 14, 2023

Table of contents

  1. English as Global Language and Booster for Bilingual Education
  2. Teaching English as a Second or Foreign Language
  3. Conclusion
  4. References

In this essay I am going to reveal topic of bilingual education in the conxect of attitude changes to English teaching for foreign speakers (TESOL), in addition to other topics such as CLIL and EME, backing up my essay with evidence from the study material. Yet, before all else, I would like to discuss the role of English as a global language.

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English as Global Language and Booster for Bilingual Education

It would be hard to argue the importance of the English language in the modern era as international language. It is clear that it has become more dominant around the world. In some countries it is used as the mother tongue and in others it is taught as a second or third language in their schools, this makes English the lingua franca. It is the language of global commerce, the main language of international diplomacy, it is the language of air traffic control, it is the undisputed language of science and technology, as well as the language of the majority of academic journals, and most importantly for us, it's the most common language on the internet and the media. It is also the language that international travellers with different native languages use to communicate with each other, the very definition of a lingua franca. This suggest that the whole world has become an open village that is sharable, and recognizable for all individuals as English is utilised as a common language, despite the fact that there are few variations in cultures, traditions and regions. English has been accepted as the global language among the speakers of thousands of other languages. thus, it serves the purpose as a common and global language in almost all the fields in the globalised world, it helps people maintain relationship and communication with others. Never before, has the world seen such a worldwide use of a language as English. English has become a default Lingua Franca for a universal community on an international platform. It is a currency in today's world 'English is like a dollar'.

As English became global, more English varieties or world Englishes (e.g., American English, British English, Indian English etc.) emerged throughout the years from the strong Ugandan English to the French accent Canadian English. It is now used to communicate a mix of global and local cultures and identities, which had a profound impact on the language as well as the skills needed to use it effectively. The widespread of the English language across the world demonstrated in Kachru's concentric circle model, Inner circle countries (USA, Britain, Canada, New Zealand, and Australia.) outer circle countries (e.g., India, Sri Lanka, South Africa, Malaysia) and expanding circle countries (e.g., Finland, Chile) reveals the importance of the English language for various reasons: social, economic, academic, and political. And that each variety of English has its own historical, political, and sociolinguistic contexts, the world Englishes are the amalgamation of civilizations. Where the English language is the door to an inaccessible world that will maximise their chances of success in a multilingual society. Therefore, the knowledge of English is essential for personal and national advancement.

Teaching English as a Second or Foreign Language

In the UK English is taught in schools both as a separate subject in the curriculum, and as the medium of instruction for all other subjects. When outside UK the English language is taught as a second language through the system of teaching of English to speakers of other languages (TESOL). The fact that the English language has become global has made TESOL more interesting, finding the right methods to make the student learn effectively has been a constant issue. To better understand the changing attitudes to the TESOL we need to look closely at the difficulties and obstacle that teachers and student encounters. The difficulties can be stemming from the learners for many reasons, it may be the lack of motivation, perhaps English in not the language they speak at home or in their community which means no support outside the school, and this was often a struggle for teachers. Difficulties originating from the teachers, whereas the teacher is a native English speaker, and this creates a linguistic and cultural barrier between the teacher and the student, or the teacher is a non-native speaker with an insufficient understanding or not well experienced in teaching English, which leads to safe practices such as codeswitching or translating to communicate meanings and facilitate comprehension. There has been a huge dilemma over whether Native English speaker teachers are better than non-native English teachers in teaching English to speakers of other languages. Davies says the following about native speakers: 'The concept of native speakers occupies a curious position in applied linguistics. On the one hand, it is widely used as a benchmark for knowledge of a language (and as such attracts opposition because it excludes those who are not native speakers), and as a criterion for employment; on the other hand, a definition of the native speaker is elusive'. To my way of thinking, the focus should be on communication alone. The problem is that the English Language Teaching (ELT) industry impose certain accents, regions and looks. In fact, I never came across a textbook that brings Indian English or Nigerian English, it is always about the same accents BBCRP and General American English. Well, this is not right! We are not going to speak English only with native speakers. Being a native speaker does not qualify anybody to teach the language. For instance, I have studied and speak Arabic as my mother tongue, but I would never recommend myself as a teacher of the Arabic language. Having a competent native teacher is a privilege, but not easy to get everywhere with such a high demand. Plus, non-native skilled teachers can be as good as native ones. It is not the fact of having the languaging that is relevant, what is much more relevant is how you got there, and the experiences gained on the way. One of the things that intrigued me is the idea that learners use, and 'do' languages have languaging, but they do not ever have language. With the increasing use of English as a lingua franca (ELF), it is no longer appropriate to associate English purely with native speaking nations, but with a global community of users. This has a benefit in raising awareness of Global English (GE) yet additionally highlights the reinforcement of stereotypes and tendency to reflect on attitudes towards different varieties of English rather than how successful ELF communication is accomplished.

In term of education, it was interesting to gain and understand more terminologies such as additive and subtractive bilingualism, where additive bilingualism is when a student's first language continues to be maintained and developed alongside their second language. Subtractive bilingualism is when a second language replaces the students first language and therefore, they study a new language at the expenses of their mother tongues language. From my point of view, additive bilingualism is the norm, and increasing linguistic diversity is the trend, it is true that the English language is growing fast yet other languages are arising such as Chinese, Spanish, or even Arabic. Promoting additive bilingualism over subtractive bilingualism in the classroom should be the goal, this will give students more confidence and strength in learning English, it will help attain strong communication skills in English and in their mother tongues language and deepens their understanding. As the German poet Goethe once wrote 'to know no foreign languages is to know nothing of one's own'. I assume that the mother tongues language is the best mode of instruction to educate, it makes it easier for children especially at early ages to pick up and learn other languages, it develops a child's personal, cultural identity and their critical thinking and literacy skills. On the other hand, subtractive bilingualism will result in loss of children's fragile mother tongues language and the ability to communicate with friends and family, and it will enhance the idea that their first language, their culture and linguistic identity is not accepted in the school. Teachers do not have to speak every child's first language obviously, instead they should consider the students existing linguistic knowledge and skills in addition to helping them maintain a positive mindset towards their first language. this can happen by providing books in other languages in the school library, and by accepting the help of students to those with no knowledge in English and connecting those who speaks same language. the cognitive benefits of bilingualism tended to happen in additive context where students were adding a second language to their repertory of skills without losing their first language. As argued by Garcia, bilingual education should be the only option to teach all children in the twenty first century in equitable ways. I assume that by raising a bilingual or multilingual generation, this will help them integrate easily in a multilingual society, we are preparing them for a multi rather than a monolingual future.

Content and language integrated learning (CLIL) is a parasol term that includes several ways of teaching in which content is learnt using a foreign language. It was developed in Europe within the 90s as a response to the ought to discover ways to advance higher levels of competence in a foreign language. It is a system that its content driven, and language is integrated into the learning. With CLIL, the language is learnt and used to build subject knowledge. The objectives of CLIL are to improve academic performance, students first and second language and develop thinking skills. In a simple way, CLIL students are using the English language to learn, while learning the English language. It helps introduce learners to new concepts through studying the curriculum in a non-native language and assist learner's production of the language in curricular subject. Moreover, it helps improve learner's performance in both curricular subject and the target language. But there are some challenges that can occur with CLIL as well as concerns which leads to this question, is the L2 a barrier for successful learning? thoroughly, the challenges can be for teachers first, as some teachers may not have the required level and technique to teach the content, it can be the lack of CLIL materials, or the curriculum might not be compatible with the teaching approach for example: national curriculum and exams typically come in the native language, but the students have been learning geography in a foreign language. a further concern related to CLIL policies is the increasing dominance of English as the main additional language learned, while other languages are discounted. This will take us back to the question, is the L2 a barrier for successful learning? I reckon it is, bilingual education can also be destructive for the subject taught in another language, sacrificing students understanding of the specific concepts of each discipline for the sake of language learning, is a critical approach to learning. So, is CLIL an additive or a subtractive bilingualism? Effectively, CLIL would count more as an additive bilingualism approach because, it encourages the learning of English without giving up on the native languages. On the other hand, the English Medium Education (EME) system is when English is used as a primary medium of instruction, particularly where English is not the mother tongue of the students. Therefore, I would consider EME more as a subtractive bilingualism because it focuses on English as a medium of teaching without taking in consideration the use of other languages.

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To conclude, in my judgement the Incorporation of world englishes should be taken in consideration in TESOL. And the English language should be considered for its potential to be understood within the same speech society, rather than its standard to be acknowledged only by native speakers of English.


  • Nino-Murcia, M. (2003) 'English is like the dollar': hard currency ideology and the status of English in Peru, World Englishes, vol. 22, no. 2, pp. 121-42.
  • Katchru, B. (1992) 'Teaching world Englishes' in Katchru, B. (ed.) The Other Tongue: English Across Cultures (2nd edn), Urbana and Chicago, IL, University of Illinois Press.
  • Seargeant, P. and Erling, E. J. (2011) 'The discourse of English as a language for international development': policy assumptions and practical challenges in Coleman, H. (ed.) Dreams and Realities: Developing Countries and the English Language, London, British Council.
  • Yassin, Sopia Md., Marsh, D., Ong, E. T. and Lai, Y. Y. (2009) 'Learners' perceptions towards the teaching of science through English in Malaysia: a quantitative analysis, International CLIL Research Journal, vol. 1, no. 2, pp. 54-69
  • Nunan, D. (2003) The impact of English as a global language on educational policies and practices in the Asia-Pacific region. TESOL Quarterly 37 (4), 589-613.
  • Davies,A. (2006). 'The Native Speaker in Applied Linguistics', in Alan Davies and Catherine Elder (Eds.) (2006), The handbook of Applied Linguistics (pp. 431-450). Oxford: Blackwell.
  • Garcia, O. (2010) 'Reimagining bilingualism in education for the 21st century', NALDIC Quarterly, vol. 7, no. 2, pp. 4-11.
  • Garcia, O. (2009) Bilingual Education in the 21st Century: A Global Perspective, Chichester, Wiley-Blackwell.
  • Hewings, A. and Tagg, C. (2012). The Politics of English: Conflict, Competition, Co-existence. Worlds of English. Abingdon, RoutledgeMilton Keynes, The Open University, pp. 5-176.
  • Siiner, M. (2010) 'Hangovers of globalization: a case study of laissez-faire language policy in Denmark', Language Problems and Language Planning, vol. 34, no. 1, pp. 43-62.
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The Place of English Language in the Context of Bilingual Education. (2023, August 14). GradesFixer. Retrieved February 21, 2024, from
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