The report presents a marketing campaign framework that the primary school can use to enhance intake of students in the next academic period by highlighting the benefits of bilingual education. Bilingual education helps children to maintain relationships, tradition, and identity. It allows students to stay productive and engaged in social life and their future careers. The report makes a connection between the success of students in learning and the use of bilingual education then it advises teachers to be active in engaging parents to inform them of the benefits of bilingual education for their children. Moreover, it asks the school to use advertising and target its neighborhood to market its bilingual education program.
Bilingual education is gaining prominence, but a lot needs to be done to ensure that parents are aware of its benefits to their children. The best years for starting bilingual education for a child are the early years when the child enrolls in primary school. The advantages of bilingual education can be substantiated by highlighting findings from studies and other reports from relevant organization. The findings of this report are useful for assisting a primary school that seeks to increase the enrollment number of children to its bilingual education program. Practitioners can be able to translate the knowledge into practical solutions for influencing more parents to enroll their children in the primary school that offers bilingual education by following the recommendations offered at the end of the report.
3.1- Bilingual education offers advanced literacy skills through improved metalinguistic awareness
Bilingual education learning has the potential to enhance metalinguistic awareness and based on the report by Fernandez (2007), it leads to improved readiness for reading for the child.
Figure 1: An illustration of the advantages of bilingual education, English language learning students with 50-50 bilingual instruction in elementary school did best by the end of high school (Center for Public Education 2007).
The graph above illustrates the difference between academic achievement for English reading for students who have received bilingual education while in primary school and those who have not. Bilingually educated students performed about four times better in high school English reading than those who received English-only education at the primary school level. Findings illustrated in the graph confirm that, for students who receive monolingual education, there is a high likelihood of them underperforming in comparison to the students who went to primary school and received bilingual education.
3.2- Children stay productive and engaged while growing
According to Deussen (2014), research findings confirmed that bilingual education was the way forward because it has inherent benefits for the learner. It also presented a considerable advantage to parents seeking to have the best teaching and foundation for their children. Deussen (2014) confirms that bilingual education leads to cultural benefits. For a parent, this is useful because it helps children to maintain relationships, traditions, and identity, especially for immigrant families. Their highly developed English skills allow them to stay productive and engaged in social life with people from other societies (Lutz & Crist 2009).
3.3- Bilingual education causes brain improvement
Marian and Shook (2012) noted that language acquisition alters the shape of the brain when it happens while the learner is a child. It leads to better brain development and enhances a person’s conflict management skills (Marian & Shook 2012). Bilingual people can work efficiently on tasks that test their inhibitory control ability (Marian & Shook 2012). Consequently, bilingually educated children and adults can switch between tasks faster, and this makes them better suited to get technical, marketing and management career positions that pay well. In addition, the study by Christoffels et al. (2015) confirmed that bilingual education leads to smaller switching costs between tasks. It supports cognitive flexibility which implies that students who have received bilingual education will be more attentive, and they will have a greater chance of out-competing those who have been educated using only one language (Christoffels et al. 2015).
Figure 2: English testing results showing bilingual education being better over the long term compared to monolingual education (Australian Human Rights Commission 2009).
The illustration above highlights the difference in the capabilities of bilingually educated and monolingual educated students in English reading tests in Australia. The graph shows that at year 3, the students in English-only schools are better, but this is because the bilingual students are still transitioning. By year four, bilingual students are able to build literacy bridges and benefit from the literacy of their other language and this goes on as they progress (Australian Human Rights Commission 2009).
Social demands keep on changing, and their effect on children is different because they are in a different generation than that of their parents. The preparation of children to have the correct skill combination to assist them stay productive and engaged in social life, is one way of enhancing their life and their prospects for success. It can be done through bilingual education and many parents, and teachers, already realize that children need to understand the world from a young age. Enrollment needs to happen in the early years of a child, for the child to access the maximum benefits of bilingualism.
The following actions should be considered to improve the enrollment rate at the primary school:
Raising public awareness
The school could sensitize the public of its bilingual education offers and it could do so by distributing brochures and posters in its neighborhood. The information contained in the leaflets and posters could easily motivate parents to enroll children in the school and to support bilingual education. Achieving a sufficient level of public awareness would increase the rate of enrollment to the primary school.
Ask for referrals
A referral program could work as an incentive for parents who already have children in the school because it could influence other parents to enroll their children. The marketing campaign relying on referrals can ensure that the community around the school understands the benefits of bilingual education. When going for the referral program, the school should be targeting parents because they are also beneficiaries of the success of their children. They are also responsible for their children, and they will be making decisions as guardians.
Highlight success stories
Bilingual education has many benefits which include improved reading skills by the time children get to high school and a better prospect for a lucrative career. The school should conduct sensitization programs and advertise them broadly in its target population areas so that it increases both awareness and willingness to enroll in the school. Parents would be more knowledgeable about the practical advantages that their children would get when they enroll in the school, and this will ease their decision-making task when considering to enroll children in the primary school.
Australian Human Rights Commission 2009, Chapter 3: Introduction: Social Justice Report 2009, viewed 14 July 2016, < https://www.humanrights.gov.au/publications/chapter-3-introduction-social-justice-report-2009 >.
Center for Public Education 2007, Preparing english language learners for academic success, viewed 13 July 2016, < http://www.centerforpubliceducation.org/Main-Menu/Instruction/What-research-says-about-English-language-learners-At-a-glance/Preparing-English-language-learners-for-academic-success.html >.
Christoffels, IK, de Haan, AM, Steenbergen, L, van den Wildenberg, WPM & Colzato, LS 2015, ‘Two is better than one: bilingual education promotes the flexible mind’, Psychological Research, vol 79, no. 3, pp. 371 – 379.
Deussen, T 2014, Treating language as a strength: The benefits of bilingualism, viewed 4 July 2016, <http://educationnorthwest.org/northwest-matters/treating-language-strength-benefits-bilingualism>.
Fernandez, S 2007, ‘Promoting the benefit of language learning’, Department of Education and Training, The Research Unit for Multilingualism and Cross-cultural Communication, Melbourne.
Lutz, A & Crist, S 2009, ‘Why do bilingual boys get better grades in English-only America? The impacts of gender, language and family interaction on academic achievement of Latino/a children of immigrants’, Ethnic and Racial Studies, vol 32, no. 2, pp. 346 – 368.
Marian, V & Shook, A 2012, The cognitive benefits of being bilingual, viewed 4 July 2016, <http://dana.org/Cerebrum/2012/The_Cognitive_Benefits_of_Being_Bilingual/>.