Why FOBL Matters

 We believe that with a strong bilingual program these students will become strong bilingual people by the time they leave school. In general bilingual education is a poorly understood thing in Australia. English speaking countries like Australia generally tend to regard languages other than English as a problem. We are one of the few countries in the world which still regards speaking only one language (monolingualism) as the norm. We are therefore very poorly informed about speaking two languages (bilingualism) and multilingualism (speaking many languages) despite the fact that many of our citizens are bilingual or multilingual.

Bilingual education is often denigrated by politicians, bureaucrats and Australian media (Waller, 2012). FOBL believes this is because many do not  understand the significant educational potential of well organised strong bilingual programs. In many countries around the world, students go to school speaking one or more home languages, which are different to the language of learning in their country. Where this happens, some students have the opportunity of learning in and through two or more languages. They continue to learn new content, concepts and ideas in the language they think in, which they speak fluently, while at the same time they are taught the language of school learning. This is bilingual and often trilingual education.



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Languages of the Top End


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