The Current Status Of Bilingualism

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The current status of bilingualism


The bilingualism that we experience today is the result of a world dominated by globalization, with a language such as English that in recent times prevails, especially since the end of the 19th century and throughout the 21st century;English has been progressively transformed, spreading through the media for purposes such as study, business, tourism, cultural exchanges, commercial spaces, access to technology, entrepreneurship, among others.

The relevance of a structured educational project from the bilingualism approach is based on guaranteeing the coverage of a need that is framed in a globalized environment, where understanding, interaction and expression of the English language allows access to better opportunities at work level andeducational.

It is important to highlight that there is a large amount of scientific-cultural bibliography in English, which requires the acquisition of skills in the understanding of texts in this language, which allows access to the understanding of books, magazines and information and other related componentsWith its disciplinary, cultural, labor field, while allowing interaction with citizens from other countries, which entails an improvement of the standards of productive, personal, regional and productive competitiveness in the productive sector in general.


At present, and from the context of a highly interconnected modern world, it is evident that the handling of a single language is not enough to advance in the labor field in a competitive and efficient way. The ability to be bilingual or multilingual is increasingly necessary for study, work and coexistence. 

Colombia has had a long tradition of including foreign languages, such as English, French, German, Italian in the school curriculum, so that high schools have a pluralistic vision of the world and come into contact with other ways of thinking and expressing themselves, so that this recognition of diversity leads to recognition of tolerance and respect for otherness.

According to information published by Forbes magazine, Clark, (2012), the British Council reports that by 2020, 2 billion people will be studying English, which provides a vision of what is the growth that is projected in this area, in addition, in additionIt is important to highlight that since November 2008 through the resolution of the Council in a European strategy for multilingualism, it focuses on actions to direct and assist cities that are acquiring language skills. The resolution invites members of the European Union and the European Commission for:

  • Promote multilingualism with a look of strengthening social cohesion, intercultural dialogue and European construction.
  • Reinforce language learning through long life.
  • Promote better multilingualism as a factor in the competitiveness of the European economy and mobility and the achievement of people’s employment.
  • Promote linguistic diversity and intercultural dialogue through the increase in mobility assistance, focused on strengthening work circulation and dissemination of ideas and knowledge in Europe and around the world.
  • Promote the languages of the European Union around the world.

In this order of ideas, the learning of a second language is framed within an international policy, where globalization and convergent economic and social forces have had a significant double impact on those who learn a second language, on personal development in developmentand professional, and on the way they take. 

Forces that manage learning language differ according to the country and the region, but they share the goal of wanting to achieve the best possible results, through the adaptation of teaching content methodologies to grow through competence levels, particularly from the introduction of the individual ranking of global comparative measures from countries through programs for international student evaluations (PISA) in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.This statistic shows that 1.500 million people in the world speak English, of which only 375 million are native speakers. 

According to the most recent data of the World Bank (2016), eight of the 20 most unequal countries are in Latin America. How to try to reduce the lack of equality a bit? English facilitates the passage to skill development, can promote significant changes in society, but it is equivocal to think that focusing English to exchange or training of teachers abroad is the only existing strategy.

It is necessary to expand the mind to new challenges, implementing transformative tactics that allow quality teaching for students, using technology, environment and all innovative resources that are within the reach of teachers, to envive interest inLearn the language and make frequent use of it. 

Working for better economic and educational equity in Colombia, in addition to reducing the levels of insecurity and violence in the country, will allow government entities to redouble efforts to facilitate access of children and young people to education, with an important approach toThe development of competencies against the mastery of the English language as a foreign language in basic, middle and higher education.

According to the report, although the new generations are demonstrating a higher level of English domain, Latin America is a region that presents low world levels evaluated in the report of the English level of Education First.

The Colombian category in the English domain indicates that the ability to manage English in an efficient way is restricted. According to the World Classification on the level of competence of this second language carried out by EF Education First of 2018, the country went from taking 51 in 2017 to 60 in 2018.

The ranking is carried out thanks to the scores of the exams of the EF Standard English Test (EF SET), the first free English examination of the world conducted by the company and which is used by thousands of schools, companies and governments of the entireworld to perform large -scale tests.

In Colombia, the Ministry of National Education adopted the Common Framework of Language References of Europe, -which consists of the basic levels of A1 and A2, Intermediate B1 and B2 and the advanced C1 and C2 to implement the established normsWorldwide. All this effort was made due to the diagnosis made throughout the country, where it was revealed that only 27% of teachers are at the necessary level and 12% of students are well prepared in the language.

The Common European Reference Framework for Languages- MCER- provides a common basis for the elaboration of language programs, curricular orientations, exams, manuals, and pursues precise objectives:

• Integratively describe what they have to learn to do language students in order to use a language to communicate, as well as the knowledge and skills they have to develop in order to act effectively.

• The description also includes the cultural context where the language is located.

• The frame of reference also defines levels of language mastery that allow to verify the progress of students in each phase of learning and throughout their lives.

• It is intended that the frame of reference veneages the barriers produced by the different educational systems.

• Set 6 basic reference levels (A1, A2, B1, B2, C2, C2)

• Present communicative objectives, contents, tasks and methodologies to acquire communicative competence.

• Favor the transparency of courses, programs and degrees, thus promoting international cooperation in the field of modern languages.

According to the MCER, English speakers are classified into one of six categories ranging from A1 for basic users, to C2 for those who dominate the language. The National Bilingualism Program -PNB- arranged that by 2019 all high school graduates should be in B1, while universities graduates should be in B2;The primary and secondary teachers were expected to be in B2 and those who graduate from training programs of teachers or incoming teachers should be in C1, a circumstance that is evident has not been consolidated.

According to the UNB, all students who graduate from secondary education must acquire a basic management of English, written and spoken: demonstrate understanding, both of the texts they read and those who listen in English;To be able to elaborate writings and oral speeches and use English in conversations with other people. According to the experience, this goal could be achieved with the conditions given in the system, that is, through the 720 hours dedicated to the teaching and learning of English, from sixth to eleventh grade (equivalent to three hours a week).

From the National Development Plan of the country, read the following diagnosis, under the coordination of the National Planning Department – DNP – 

The weakness in pedagogical actions for teaching and learning English in educational establishments.

• Low exposure to English interaction in real communication contexts of teachers and students for the strengthening of listening, speech, writing and reading skills.

  • Low teachers’ skills for adequate teaching.

• Lack of real communication scenarios in English,

• Lack of accompaniment to pedagogical practices in the classroom, the low integral training of teachers according to the educational level in which they perform

• Low production of methodological innovation proposals for the proper teaching and learning of English, which contribute to the occurrence of the problem

• There are weaknesses in accompaniment to pedagogical actions for the teaching and learning of English in educational establishments, which implies that the level of English of teachers and students of the institutions are unknown

• There is a low articulation between the curricula of educational establishments and the suggested English curriculum.

General objective

Potentialize the development of students’ abilities, providing comprehensive education, which allows themInvolving the student in a bilingual environment to achieve English language management as a second language, in order to advance knowledge, the diversity of thought and understanding of the context where it develops.

Specific objectives

a) Develop a democratic environment, framed in a culture of peace, which enables a peaceful coexistence, a responsible and constructive participation, as well as respect for plurality and differences.

b) Promote a bilingual environment that enables communication in a second language

c) Foster in students the interest in learning, reasoning, thinking creatively, making decisions and solving challenges from the analysis, understanding and communication of phenomena for the development of a scientific and critical spirit.

d) Strengthen the process of building autonomy and responsibility of the student under a moral and ethical foundation, inspired by an educational environment based on norms and principles.

e) Develop the skills of the 21st century, which allows them to potentiate their leadership abilities and abilities, to face the changes proposed by the environment and achieve an articulation with the social and business development models.

f) Create environmental culture, which propends on the commitment to preserve natural resources and care of the environment.

g) Stimulate the learning and development of students through collaborative projects, from the interests and abilities of the student, through expression and training: artistic, body, sports, recreational and literary.

h) form an educational conscience for effort and work,

i) Know the context of the students and contribute to improving their quality of life.

j) Initiation in the fields of current technological and technical trends, which allow you to exercise a socially useful function.


To close this chapter of the diagnosis of the bilingual component in the institution, it is summarized that there is a very valuable justification on the importance of assuming the study of a second language – in this specific case of English – for all the considerations noted. But in the same way, it is valid to highlight that both at the Latin American level and especially in Colombia, there is a very poor bilingual training and development.

 Further aggravating the situation, both the department and the city, present too low indicators, which merits an urgent intervention, for which there is already a proposal from the National Development Plan, according to the DNP, of which several elements are integrated into thePedagogical model in its curricular chapter.

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