Global Bilingual Education Systems: How Can Implementing Them Benefit the United States?

Faculty Mentor(s)

Dr. Wayne Brouwer, Hope College
Dr. Charles Green, Hope College
Professor Vanessa Greene, Hope College
Professor Amy Otis - De Grau, Hope College
Professor John Yelding, Hope College

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In an increasingly global society, the emphasis on including multi-language acquisition programs as part of a well-rounded education has intensified in schools worldwide. As a result, multitudes of language acquisition programs have been created, which fall into two categories: transitional bilingual education and dual-language immersion. Both provide short- and long-term benefits to students. Our research delves into six examples of bilingual education systems used in these countries: Canada, China, Israel, Luxemburg, Paraguay, and Uganda. Each country possesses a unique bilingual educational system instituted to bridge cultural and political gaps of conflicting groups, discourage ethnocentric thinking, or better serve and celebrate all factions in a multicultural nation. Although many of the bilingual programs have proven successful in creating and promoting multilingual societies, a few poorly-designed ones have been found detrimental to the academic success of students and are in need of reform. There are advantages and disadvantages of using various components of each program in the United States. Despite being one of the most ethnically diverse nations in the world, conflict and disagreement over the bilingual education has prevented the United States from changing to meet the challenges of globalism. Drawing upon other nations’ bilingual education methods could aid the U.S. in establishing schools that better acclimate new minority immigrants as well as expose majority students to other global cultures. This research also examines the multilingual demographics of West Michigan and observes the steps that can be and have been taken to further promote local bilingual education.

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