Bilingual education in costa rica

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Bilingual Education in Costa Rica

In Costa Rica, as in others countries, bilingual education has become very important since 19th Century to these days. The interest in this aspect is due to: the international relation, international market, tourism and especially because Costa Rica exports and import a lot of products. At that time our authorities were concerned about teachingFrench and English in order to prepare costa rican in one of this language, and not only in Spanish. So these subjects have been taught in high school from seventh grade to ninth grade, in tenth grade the students choose other French or English, however English has been preferred and has had more influence in our country for: geographic, economic, political, social and cultural reasons.Since 19th Century to these days, Costa Rican students in public high school spend several hours during the week in English class, but unfortunately the emphasis in the teaching has been in grammar only. The lessons are stressed in learning verbs, list of vocabulary and the students and teachers haven’t had the opportunity to talk in the language. They just learn and practice writing; theexercises are still repetitive and sometimes don’t make any sense for the students, in addition the classes are to crowded and there is no chance even for practicing reading or for checking the work they do. The method more common in public school is translation.

During the 19th Century, The students spent five or six years learning English, but they couldn’t maintain even basic dialog inthis language, they could not even greet or answer when somebody asked for an address, they could not write or speak English. That fact caused controversial reactions for teachers, students, parents and authorities, who used to complain about the efficiency of the program or method. The students were especially frustrated, and they could not understand why they had to waste a lot of timememorizing so many words if they weren’t able to construct a simple sentence.

The bilingual Education at that time was developed in some high school, especially in the most important cities, and the students in the rural areas did not have the same opportunities. In some school, they offered only one foreign language, but in the cities, they had access to both: English and French.This traditional method of teaching were applied in 20 st Century , especially in public school with the same results: students who could not speak any English. On the contrary, in private school, students started before the were 5 year old and they really prepared them to be bilingual, because, the used better texts, technology native English speaking teachers and the emphasis was in developall skills to achieve their aims: bilingual people and most of the subjects are taught in English.

Unfortunately this opportunity was only for people who had access to private school and not for everybody. The rest of people had to continue with the traditional method of teaching and learning and with the same problems: lack of material, old books, crowded groups and most of the teacherwho couldn’t speak English very well.

In 20 st Century , many private academies started offering English lessons, so people who could afford that, took some courses once or twice a week. These academies implemented another method of teaching, they emphasized in both writing and conversation skills and the groups were smaller. These opportunities started in San José and in some importantcities, but people who live far from these places had no chance to improve their English. They “learned “ English only in high school where the traditional method was still used.

In 21st Century Bilingual education is becoming extermely important everywhere due to different reasons: the demands of globalization, the world is becoming smaller and smaller, the development of technology,...
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