Undergraduate Honors Theses

Thesis Defended

Spring 2017

Document Type

Thesis

Type of Thesis

Departmental Honors

Department

Spanish

First Advisor

Susan Hallstead

Second Advisor

Nina Molinaro

Third Advisor

Robert Ferry

Abstract

In the current context of globalization, bilingualism is not only becoming more frequent but more necessary for professional success. This fact inspired the present research on the benefits of bilingual education for primary and secondary school students and the future of US society.

To develop this study, I will first explore the history of bilingual education in the United States and the effects that history has had on what we now consider bilingual education programs. I will then discuss the controversy over bilingual education in the United States and how the controversy has shaped and, at the same time, created obstacles for bilingual education in the United States. Lastly, in three separate sections, I will discuss the benefits of bilingual education in terms of linguistic benefits, physical benefits, and sociocultural benefits for students involved in bilingual education, their families, and American society. In my conclusion, I will explain why the controversial history of bilingual education should not affect its implementation in the United States due to the immense benefits that will contribute to future generations for a more connected and communicative society.

People who speak more than one language are often only formally educated in one of them, which means that their ability to read and write in one language is far superior to the other. With bilingual education, formal education in two languages leads to an equal ability to read and write in both languages. The purpose of this thesis is to demonstrate the importance of the benefits of bilingual education for children and society as the world globalizes and progresses.