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Bilingual Education in Australian Schools


Discuss About The Personal Cultural Systems Plural Society?

Changes in the Bilingual education have important influence on education around the world. This report provides some of the major research related to purpose and effectiveness of the bilingual education. Bilingual education includes the active practices of learning based on two languages used by the educational institutions of countries in the society where various languages exist. It may be the situation where two different languages exist. On the other hand, it may be the situation that rather than the state language, other languages are present. In present time, bilingual programs is used in the colleges, schools and universities where they are paying attention on the study of the foreign language and international cultures. Along with this, bilingual programs are meant to enhance student interaction in intercultural environment. Now, bilingual education can be found in the pre-school institutions. There is vast contribution to the bilingual education system at an early stage. For instance, popular and famous project ‘LIGHT’ is actively supported by many countries i.e. France, Germany, Finland and Austria. It is perceived that bilingual education in the early stage is most effective for children as children are more open to the new and they do not have any kind of obstruction and typecast. For instance, there is one of the Australian school focusing on the bilingual education i.e. Huntingdale Primary school. In this education system, school is providing different curriculum to develop bilingual skills in the students (Pray & Jimenez, 2009).

The main objective of this report is to build and analyse issue of bilingual in education system across Australia and find out the most possible solution to deal with this issue. It synthesizes and summarizes the appropriate empirical work on bilingual education in schools at early stages. This report evaluates the quality of these studies and focuses on the improvement if bilingual education system in the schools. The driving force for this research is to create the understandings of how immersion childhood education contributes is beneficial in bilingualism and early school improvements for success. For the research, recent relevant studies on the bilingual and immerse early childhood programs would be focused.

The term bilingualism is quite difficult and controversial to define. According to Baker (1993), bilingualism is a kind of child who is able to speak two languages smoothly. Some other researchers argued that bilingualism starts immediately the student is able to produce complete and meaningful speech in other languages. Further, bilingualism begins when someone starts to understand other languages without any barriers. In bilingualism, there is one more term i.e. infant or child bilingualism. According to the Saunders (1988), infant bilingual can be described as the immediate acquirement of two languages from birth. Child bilingualism is successive fluency in two languages i.e. child learns first language within the family and then learns second language in preschool or early school years. Those children who are bilingual before four years of age have more chances of using the two languages fluently. Along with this, they have awareness of language; they have high level of level of adeptness at divergent thinking, creative thinking and concept formation.  There should be bilingual education system in the Australian schools as in the country, majority of the Australian born households are not bilingual and immigrant households. So, for the development of children, there must be bilingual education system in the schools (Lin & García, 2016).

Definition of Bilingualism

Child bilingual is one who has successive fluency in two languages. Those types of children acquire first language within the family and then learn second language in the school years. If a child has not get exposure of another language from birth or within the family, then he or she will not be classified as an infant bilingual as he or she is not learning those two languages by birth. In the Australia, there is the multicultural society and bilingual education is actively debated in the society. Bilingual education must be provided at childhood to enhance adoption. Park (2007) argued that foreign women who are working in the country must adopt language in which they can raise their children comfortably. According to her, proficiency in the mother tongue is helpful in the development of children in terms of learning skills.

The world is changing at the continuous level and there is the need of highly developed skills for the students for becoming successful global citizen. There are various situations those are essential for the students to become successful. In the schools of Australia, teachers are teaching different ways of learning and thinking to the students. Those skills can be transferred in the daily life and everyday situations for lifelong learning. It is crucial to understand the role of bilingual education in the Australian society (Skerrett & Gunn, 2011).

At all the levels of education system i.e. advisors, educators, teachers, ministry, school management, boards of trustees, and classroom teachers, there must be an effective message of maximizing bilingual education for the children or infants who speak only one language. The use of various languages affects bilingual education and education result for bilingual people. It is considered by the researchers that combination of languages improves the skill base of a person.  Bilingual education entails the practice of teaching children in their native language and secondary language concurrently. There are many forms of bilingual education basically and the implementation of the program in the education system is very effective (Umansky & Reardon, 2015). Bilingual education has crucial role to provide the opportunities to the children to progress in their subjects including science, mathematics, and social studies in their native language. Along with this, they learn second language in the separate classrooms. The objective of bilingual education is to make the student fluent in two different languages. Bilingual education system plays a very vital role in the world as common language is crucial for good communication and understanding. Due to the multicultural societies and existence of various languages in these societies, bilingual education has great importance. The role of bilingual education will establish harmony and stillness among the people in the society (Mongeau, 2016).

Benefits of Bilingual Education

In Australia, many schools have bilingual programs for children and students who are speaking community languages other than English. These programs are conducted from the support of the government. There is bilingual education for native students. For instance, in the Northern region, bilingual programs for the native students were started in the early 1970s. Furthermore, the government of Northern region announced to start 21 bilingual programs to teach English as the second language in 1998. Along with this, bilingual programs were continuing under the pretext of two-way education. After that, in 2005, The Minister of Education, Employment and Training announced for renewal bilingual education at 15 community education centres. The aim of renewal was to provide effective education from pre-school to every region. 

Using two languages in households is not an easy job. It needs lots of discipline and patience from the parents. In Australia, there are around 5 million people who uses other languages rather than English at home. The most possible languages spoken by people include Italian (2%), Mandarin (2%), Greek (1%), Vietnams (1%) and Cantonese (1%) and Arabic (1%). If someone grew up in France in a bilingual family in which father is French-speaking and mother is English-speaking, then there is the need to speak in their respective languages by the parents as their children wants to benefit in each culture and communicate with others in the society (Department of Immigration and Border Protection, 2012). By using both the languages, child will get fluency in English as well as France language and will become bilingual. Raising a child with two languages needs continuous and sustained efforts by the parents. But there are some families that may not follow bilingual system in the households. Some might have geographical rules within the house. Therefore, it is important to enhance the bilingual education system in schools so that children can learn one language in home and another language in schools (Skutnabb-Kangas & McCarty, 2008).

The child can easily learn new language starting from birth to approximately e years old. From 2 to 3 years old, children know that language they can express and expose themselves by tongue and most of the languages are introduced in the schools. In the bilingual programs, language is considered to be integrated into curriculum. In the schools, teachers teach something by the language. Being bilingual basically means speaking two languages without necessarily learning them. There are some models in the bilingual education to teach second languages to the students (Disbray, 2017).

Bilingual Education Programs in Australia

Bilingual education has many advantages for the society. The attitude to the bilingual education should be treated delicately, professionally and carefully. There are many benefits of the bilingual education in schools for those who are not bilingual and immigrant households. Bilingual education allows the students to adjust in the multilingual world and different cultures. In the bilingual education, training provides the opportunity to the students to learn one of the languages of world without leaving the touch with the traditional language group. For instance, if any student is going to study in abroad, bilingual training will be very helpful for him to adjust in the new environment. Further, bilingual education is helpful in improving the area of teaching, thinking and art of analysis. Along with this, bilingual education is helpful for the person to deal with the language misunderstanding barriers and making the student adaptable of other languages, expanding vocabulary and developing the culture of speech (Johnson & Johnson, 2015).

Learning various languages contributes in developing memory, communication skills and making the student more tolerant, flexible, and relaxed to deal with the difficulties of the complex world. Australia is highly multicultural nation. According to data gathered by The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), 28% of Australian people were born overseas so the young Australians are losing their interest in learning the foreign languages (Bonfiglio, 2016).

Bilingual education is helpful in providing an excellent basis of learning for children. It basically has benefits for numeracy and literacy development in the language along with improving the experience and understanding of the children in the world. Bilingual education should be available in all the schools in Australia. Bilingualism is effective in many ways that is described in figure.

Although Bilingual education has various benefits for the young learners and children as it includes more creative thought process and mental flexibility. Numbers of students are taking language education in Australia but it is quite low. Australia is linguistically diverse nation having more than 250 languages spoken in the Australian homes. But there are some challenges in providing Bilingual education to the students. By addressing those problems and challenges, schools would be able to improve bilingual education in the course structured.

It is the common practice to assign the teachers for the bilingual educations in the schools. For this manner, there is the need of little preparation for using bilingual methodologies and methods. But it is observed that there is the lack of training among the bilingual teachers. American Institute of Research conducted the evaluation of bilingual education and revealed that there are about one-half teachers who had not received the bilingual training proper over a five-year span. Although there are some improvements on training of the bilingual education, still there is the critical need of bilingual training to the teachers at some points (Li, 2006).

Challenges in Bilingual Education

There is the continuous absence of administrative support which can be measured by the resource allocation in the bilingual education for the various programs. Since last few years, Texas state initiated allocation of finance provided to the schools to enhance adoption of bilingual education. But the state law is not focusing on increasing the fund support for bilingual and ESL programs. It is therefore important for legislators to make laws that provide for financial assistance to bilingual support of programs. There is the need of hardship and bilingual funds to spend on the educational programs for the language minority students.

The concept of bilingual education system is rooted on using native language for the permanent growth along with other second language for the students. But, due to the lack of large number of the trained teachers, bilingual education is not much effective in schools. The school should focus on education al leadership having fluency on the two different languages. Teachers with different language are very crucial in the schools for the bilingual education. Sometimes, teachers are not able to develop the extensive fluency which is necessary to be present in the academic work.  Along with this, sometimes State Level agency use culturally-biased test for the entry of teachers into the teacher’s preparation programs for bilingual education. As the result, poor performance can be seen (Kim, 2015). Further, there is one weaker pint in the bilingual program as schools import teachers from the second language countries and giving them responsibility to be teacher in the bilingual education. This action is the cause of many problems in the education system i.e. many imported teachers do not have proper and adequate skills to present the bilingual curriculum and the pronunciation and vocabulary of the teacher might be different from the student’s language so students have to face many difficult situations during the education system. The recruitment of teachers in the bilingual education is tough task for the schools in the Australian society as well other parts of the world. Rather than importing the teachers from various places, use of the local teachers would be beneficial as native language is appropriate for teaching so that student would not be confused due to the variation of the languages. Further, perfection of the intuitive language is important though it must be separate in terms of bilingual education. Countries are making second language as the optional and due to this fact; students are losing their fluency on the languages (Lucero, 2015).

Recommendations for an Effective Bilingual Education System

The most apparent failure of Australian schools is that it does not recognize mental inabilities of some students. Poor performances of the marginal, immigrant school population, disadvantages are the factors affecting the bilingual education in the Australian schools. There is the lack of language competency which can be seen commonly as the lack of mental competency. There is the requirement of civil rights to address the lack of language skills in the bilingual programs. Along with this, there is the issue that bilingual educations in the schools are seen as option al education programs for the low mental capability students in the society. so, unfortunately parents, teachers and the students themselves consider the bilingual education as the low level opportunity and convert it into low level of the performance.

There are various laws that affect the execution of bilingual education in the schools. Such rules and policies are becoming handicap in the success of the implementation the bilingual programs. The restrictions are affecting the characteristics of the teachers along with the languages used by them. The restrictions are also impacting the relationship with the donors and the use of native languages and many others (Cárdenas, 2017).

To get success in the implementation of bilingual education, schools in the Australia society must address these problems. Society must widen the learning opportunities for most of the school populations and students, especially for the language minority students and limited language proficient students. Importance of language learnings must be improved due to competing demands of the crowded prospectus. Some immersion programs such as language integrated learning programs and content related programs should be delivered as the second language that would b e helpful for the students to become bilingual along with learning more subjects. The national curriculum authority should support the language achievement by following the model of compulsory language funding and learning in the Australian schools. Language learning should be considered as the key part of 21st century skills. Speaking in more than one language provides high level of benefit to the students who want to grow in the increasingly connected world. If learning becomes essential, there would be great chance to raise the status of Australian schools and motivate more people to move into language teachings (Dabrowski, 2015).


From the above discussion, it is observed that bilingual education has great importance to raise the students in the growing world. Basically, bilingual programs are aims on creating favourable environments for the students to adjust in the intercultural language environment. There are many forms of bilingual education basically and the enactment of the program in across all levels of is very effective. So, high level of authorities and management should focus on finding and improvement of the bilingual education system.


The colleges and universities have a bigger role in transforming the society by increasing student employability and imparting them with knowledge. However, it has to embrace diversity necessitating use of more language to accommodate more students. This is more necessary in colleges and universities that deal with international students. This report gives an overview on how bilingual education can be incorporated into early childhood education to improve language diversity. Review of secondary data is the best methodology so far applicable in conducting this current research. Furthermore, primary data can be collected by adopting interview and questionnaires to better performance by collecting data that indicate performance. The current study indicated that there are various ways for engaging institutional administration, parents and students to promote bilingual education. Interaction among bilingual peer is enhance through open communication. In order to improve student ability to speak more than one language, efforts need to be geared towards addressing difficulties associated with adoption of bilingual education programs in both primary, secondary and tertiary institutions.

The main objective of this study is to examine challenges facing bilingual education programs in Australian learning institutions and contribute to knowledge integrated management practices to enhance its success.

  1. To determine the most common languages used for teaching in Australian institutions (primary secondary and universities)
  2. To determine programs for improving bilingual education in the early childhood
  • Major challenges affecting adoption of bilingual education in Australian institutions
  1. Importance of bilingual language around the globe
  1. Which languages are commonly used for teaching in Australian institutions (primary secondary and universities)?
  2. Which programs can be adopted for improving bilingual education in the early childhood?
  • What are the challenges affecting adoption of bilingual education in Australian institutions?
  1. What roles does bilingual language play around the globe?

This report is restricted to learning institution in Australia including primary, secondary and tertiary learning institutions. The information relating problems identified in the learning institution is reinforced by the secondary data from books and journals. This report depicts an overall view of challenges and offer framework for possible answer to the underlined problems. The recommendation from this study assist government and learning institutions management to improve on their competitiveness by managing language diversity thereby attracting students from all over the world.

This chapters covers how this research could be steered to gather pertinent data that isolates root causes of problems. Valuable information is also outlined due to good good data analysis methods used.

The major data and information for this project is from secondary sources. In order to collect primary data, descriptive survey research design is adopted for colleges and universities.  This design will involve both qualitative and quantitative methods. Qualitative helps in ascertaining level of perception of the participants while the quantitative focuses on prediction. Questionnaires are use to collect primary data from students at universities and colleges.

The target population depends on the aim of study and the data required. The respondent for this study comprises the staff and student in primary, secondary and tertiary institutions. In this case the students who reside in hostels and the staffs working in institution must be chosen for the study.

The tool adopted for the collection of data is structured questionnaires that will be delivered physically to the identified participant at learning institutions as hard copy sent them through mail. In that close and open ended questions can be used to solicit extensive information. The Likert scale best suits closed ended questions as the respondent rate parameters of the study (Mercer et al., p. 2). Furthermore, there is a section where participants provide extra relevant information for open ended questions

Pilot study is usually carried out with different participants from those that will participate in the main study (Kimberlin and Winterstein, p. 2277). The pilot study helps in identifying challenges that are likely to be met in the main study.

The questionnaires will be delivered to the study participants and allowed adequate time to fill. The researcher can make a call as a reminder to the interviewee to enhance response rate.

The raw data will be coded and analysed using Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSSS). Descriptive and inferential statistics helps in describing the results of the findings relating bilingual programs in schools.

Most common languages used for teaching in Australian institutions (primary, secondary and universities)

In most Australian teaching institutions, they use English. However, in the state of Victoria some schools use Greek and Italian while others teach in French, Japanese, Irish and Chinese. These languages are used as the main languages of instructions. Bilingual education basically allow use of two different languages for learning.

Japanese is most taught language in Australia especially to both colleges and universities since 1970s until the early 2000s (Smolicz p.12). This is a unique situation in Australia especially within the western world. Australia-japan relationship partly derived the impetus for this expansion due to its economic and strategic importance. The teaching of Japanese lead to great growth and development of the government investments. The fame of the committed teachers, opportunities of students to travel to japan and good resources among other factors supported the spread of Japanese in the country.

Currently, the study of Japanese in Australia must fulfil essential factors:

  1. Ensuring individual in Australia can understand japan and communicate in Japanese

At normal standards large number of Australian are taught to relate well with the Japanese people at their institutions of work and social lives. These skills can be developed at school and further achieved through study in tertiary and education beyond.

  1. Provide educational benefits of language learning

Language learning basically enhances many social, cognitive and other advantages not bound to fluency of the aim language (Scarino p.298). As the most taught language, Japanese provides an entry to the wider world which prepares them to be more diverse and for an increasingly globalized world.

In remarks, Japanese has several growth factors and successes behind for those student is conversant with it. They have a solid backing base at university and college to enable locally able trained teachers of Japanese language. They are also privileged to have financial support from the Japanese government. Government has taken important measures to ensure proper growth of a National Council for Japanese Education that provide advocacy and leadership across primary to tertiary level.

Necessary program has been established to improve children skills at their early age especially the disadvantaged children. They enable children to be more competent in literacy and academic skills in English. Preschools and early school enrichment among other programs are in place currently to improve lower quality model programs (Scarino p.300). This report generally discusses prompt juvenile education curricula, content, timing and their associated benefits. Some of these program models include:

  • Transitional bilingual education

It occurs to children of age older than three years who are taught in their native language, to guarantee that the children progress well in learning conducted at local language at school as for subjects such as social studies, science and mathematics. Previous studies indicate that most skills and knowledge gained in the native language can certainly be conveyed to the second language.  The main objective of this program assist the pupils transition to many other known languages. In the transitional bilingual language program, the pupils’ principal language is used to help them develop skills and acquire academic knowledge. Basically, it aims at developing literacy and academic skills in the native language.

  • Dual language immersion Bilingual Education

This program is designed to help English speakers become learn other languages. This program has 90% of the instructions reinforced by the larger culture and 10% in the minority language (Lo Bianco p.10). In the 5th grade the language is now divided into equal proportions involving curriculum split to be taught in two langauges. Leaders normally strengthen concepts taught across the two languages to enhance learning. The theme of content is being used to alternate language instructions. It aims at improving language proficiency, and a higher level of competency in solving mathematics   word problems.

  • Developmental maintenance

These programs are learner focused and aim to develop skills in one language while at the same time, maintaining the skills of another. The main objective is to develop and maintain competency in two languages as the learner progresses through schooling. This is the underlying nationale of bilingual language.

  • Language remedial

This is program that leads to the mainstream language curriculum and their concepts. They usually occur in various building, annex and settings the langue used may not necessarily be involved at mainstream (Smolicz p.52).

These programs have substantial benefits especially for the disadvantaged children. Other programs have been supported in the aim of improving educational achievement, earning and reducing welfare dependency and crime. Some of these programs are meant to enhance instructional practices for linguistically and culturally diverse children and provide high-quality professional development opportunities.

  1. Research

Researchers and educators view bilingualism as a major hindrance to youngster’s academic and intellectual development. Previous studies came to realize bilingualism created extensive forces in the brain of the learner making it stressful in getting concepts. Having the ability to speak many languages is beneficial to the student in terms of interaction with diverse culture. Bilingualism has greatly improved the body of research and students possessing this gift have greatly been advantaged in terms of literacy development and adoption of problem solving skills and many extra areas of intellect. This has brought by a potent change in our historic perspective.

  1. 2. Self-understanding and community understanding

Bilingualism is increasingly getting attention due to globalization that has increased movement of people around the world. This can enhance learning new cultures. It makes one smarter and it has a profound effect on one’s brain, improves cognitive skills and has a shielding effect in old age against dementia

We also clearly understand that bilingualism has brought self-awareness and community in students. Nelson favourable quote: “if you talk to a man in a language he understands it will go to his head and if you talk to a man in his language it will go to his heart.” This a very powerful statement proving the importance of bilingualism.

  1. 3. Business field

Competitiveness, not only in the country but also in the world depends on achievement of the goal of use of bilingual language in institutions. A recent survey indicates that many organizations prefer diverse employment and prefer workers who can speak more than one language. The advancement in technology has enhanced competition forcing multinational companies to train its staff to be bilingual.

  1. Brain development

In a study by physiologists Ellen and Martin-Rhee on the bilingual and monolingual pre-schoolers where the students were requested to differentiate two shapes depicted in different colours displayed in the computer screen (Copland p.740). In the first task had to sort the shapes based on colour and it was evident that both groups performed this perfectly. They were also asked to sort in reference to shape and it was quit challenging because they were to place in a bin marked with a conflicting colour. The bilinguals were quicker in performing this task.

  1. 5. Control of dementia

In recent study of 44 elderly Spanish-English bilinguals, scientists led by the neurophysiologist Tamar Gollan of university of California, san Diego, concluded that individuals using comparative evaluation of proficiency in each language-were most resistant than others to the onset of dementia and other symptoms of Alzheimer disease. Bilingualism therefore is a remedy to dementia.

Bilingual programs face a lot of challenge in adoption especially when disadvantaged children are concerned. This is because it occurs via different channels since it is bimodal also. This is very challenging especially when the most children are deaf because they are not likely to have full access to the language, culture or experience of their parents (Bianco p.2). This makes the culture to be acquired from the surrounding context rather than acquired from family generations. Deaf children may come to school without a strong first language base from which to develop a second language thus, unable to adopt spoken language of the dominant communities (Alidou p.130).

  • Funding the programs

The main funding source has been grants from special education and Equity within the that including the department of Education and training. The imaginative and flexibility of the available funds contributes major achievement of these programs. These sources are not permanent though reliable by continued reports by clear documentation.

  • Providing for the diverse needs of Deaf students and hearing impaired

Campaign have been conducted to ensure that all student have general awareness of the bilingual education. They access the curriculum through english and others through Auslan. Programs such as speech therapy among others such as auditory intervention is provided to negotiation with parents and speech pathology assessment. These students have a balanced emphasis on acquisition of skills in the bilingual curriculum (Baker p.69).

  • The provision of the primary language upon which a secondary language could be built

It has been achieved through enlarging Auslan tuition to hearing students as well as the general school community (De Oliveira p.65). Deaf students are also provided with specific extensions and Auslan intervention taught by a Deaf teacher which address specific needs of a student. This becomes the foundation for the teaching and learning of English literacy.


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