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Studies in Bilingual Education

Series:

Daniel Madrid Fernandez and Stephen Hughes

This book deals with bilingual education in general, but it pays special attention to bilingual education in monolingual areas. One central aim is to study the effects of bilingual programmes during the final stages of Primary and Secondary Education in contexts where the L2 (English) is not normally used as an instrument of social communication in the students’ environment, but instead is used only at school, where some subject areas are undertaken totally or partially in this language. The reader interested in bilingual education will find a valuable source of information on different bilingual programmes in the USA and Spain: what schools do and the contents they teach, their timetable and extracurricular activities; the specific objectives that they aim to achieve and the methodology they use, with special reference to the CLIL approach, the schools and the students’ level of success with bilingual education, the most common problems that they have to face in monolingual areas and how to solve them.

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Introduction 11

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Introduction In today’s plurilingual Europe second language learning has become a fundamental requirement for mutual understanding, cooperation be- tween nations and responsible international citizenship. Bilingual or plurilingual individuals are more able to share experiences with peo- ple from other countries; they are also likely to be in a better position to appreciate and respect their own cultural identity and that of others. In order to meet the new demands for plurilingual competence and to foster bilingual or plurilingual education among citizens, al- most every country in the world has adopted a multitude of initiatives both in the public and private sectors. In the case of Europe, the surge in interest in second language teaching and learning is evident in the numerous projects and studies carried out in the last two decades. An important landmark for language learning appeared in 1995 with the European Commission’s White Paper, Teaching and Learning: To- wards the Learning Society, where it was proposed that the European population should be able to speak three member state languages. As a result of this proposal, recommendations were made in Spain with regards to the introduction of a foreign language in Infant School and a second foreign language in secondary education. More recently, a large number of important initiatives have been made by international language teaching institutions, such as the European Centre for Mod- ern Languages (ECML), in terms of language teaching and learning, plurilingualism, intercultural competence and linguistic diversity. Despite efforts to promote all the European languages, English,...

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