Esl vs Bilingual: Difference and Comparison

The English language now has a significant place in global and human interaction. It has evolved into a global language and a means of communication for many individuals from many cultures and backgrounds. Non-native English-speaking people study the language in two ways. ESL (English as a Second Language) and Bilingual Education are two of them. English is included as a second language and a communication tool for non-English speaking individuals in both ways.

Key Takeaways

  1. ESL (English as a Second Language) programs teach non-English speakers English, while bilingual programs educate students in their native language and English.
  2. Bilingual education promotes fluency in two languages and cultural understanding.
  3. ESL programs focus on English language acquisition, in an immersion setting.

Esl vs Bilingual

ESL programs help students acquire English language skills to succeed academically and function effectively in English-speaking environments. Bilingual education provides instruction in two languages. The student’s native language and English, to help students develop proficiency and maintain their cultural heritage.

Esl vs Bilingual

The ESL method is also known as the submersion method. There is just one medium of education in this sort of teaching: English. The teacher solely speaks English. The pupils in the lesson may come from a variety of non-native English-speaking nations. This indicates that the pupils have different first languages or mother tongues. The use of the mother tongue is frequently prohibited in the classroom or learning space to encourage pupils to talk entirely in English. 

Bilingual education not only teaches English but also takes into account the student’s native language. There are two modes of education in a bilingual class or program: the mother tongue and English. The major goal is for pupils to learn English while continuing to learn or not losing their native language. This is known as bilingual education, and it requires proficiency in both English and one’s native tongue. In a bilingual program, pupils are frequently from the same family and speak the same mother tongue.

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonEslBilingual
Teacher’s languageIn an Esl classroom, the teacher can only speak English and cannot speak any other languageIn a bilingual classroom, the teacher must be able to communicate in both English and the student’s native tongue.
Instruction mediumThe English language is the exclusive medium of instruction in ESL.In bilingual education, however, instructors teach in two languages: the mother tongue and English.
Students’  backgroundIn an ESL class, students may originate from various cultural origins and speak a range of first dialects.Bilingual students, on the other hand, are from the same country and speak the same language.
GoalESL’s main purpose is to teach English and improve proficiency in it.Bilingual education aims for literacy in both English and the original tongue.
CourseESL is a comprehensive and intensive English language program. Bilingual courses, on the other hand, may be conceived of as a language course that is the half-English and half-mother tongue.

What is Esl?

The ESL method is also known as the submersion method. There is just one medium of education in this sort of teaching: English. The teacher solely speaks English. The pupils in the lesson may come from a variety of non-native English-speaking nations. This indicates that the pupils have different first languages or mother tongues. The use of the mother tongue is frequently prohibited in the classroom or learning space to encourage pupils to talk entirely in English. 

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Students with inadequate English skills benefit from ESL classes. The goal is to assist students in learning English who do not identify English as their native language. These programs are crucial because the instructor aims to assist kids in acquiring English proficiency for them to excel academically in schools that use an English-based curriculum

It’s crucial to keep in mind that not everyone in the class speaks the same native language. As a result, the teacher uses solely English to speak to the students. Reading, writing, speaking, and listening are the four language skills that are taught throughout the curriculum. Many ESL students are from nations outside of North America or originate from cultures that are distinct from their own.

ESL teachers also attempt to assist students in integrating into society and comprehending local conventions, norms, and values while not substituting for the students’ own. Many districts even require all primary teachers to obtain an ESL certification, demonstrating the significance of the subject. 

What is Bilingual?

Bilingual education comprises teaching academic subjects in two languages, one native and the other secondary, in varying amounts depending on the program type. As opposed to just teaching a second language as a topic, bilingual education refers to the use of two languages as a mode of instruction for pupils that is regarded as part of the entire school curriculum.  

In a bilingual program, pupils are frequently from the same family and speak the same mother tongue. The teacher is also fluent in the native tongue. Every course requires the instructor to communicate with or teach students in both the native tongue and English. 

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Teachers who teach in two languages are known as bilingual educators. The teacher concentrates on teaching material in both languages, such as geography, history, mathematics, and so on. Although English is utilized as one of the languages of teaching, pupils are not taught English as a second language.

Students’ English language abilities will continue to improve and increase by combining both the usage of English and their native language equally. Multilingual classroom education aims to help pupils become bilingual. Students may come from many cultural backgrounds, just like they do in ESL classes. Teachers should be aware of this and work to ensure that all kids feel safe, respected, and valued. 

Main Differences Between Esl and Bilingual

  1. In an Esl classroom, the instructor can only speak English and cannot speak any other language, but in a bilingual classroom, the teacher must speak both English and the kids’ native tongue. 
  2. In ESL, there is just one medium of instruction: the English language. Meanwhile, in bilingual education, instructors provide instruction in the mother tongue and English. 
  3. Students in an ESL class might come from various cultural backgrounds and speak various first dialects. On the other hand, students in bilingual programs are frequently from the same nation and speak the same language. 
  4. The primary goal of ESL is to teach English and develop proficiency in it. It strives for literacy in both English and the native language, as opposed to bilingual education. 
  5. ESL may be thought of as a thorough and intense English language course. On the contrary, Bilingual courses can be considered a half-English, half-mother tongue language course.
Difference Between Esl and Bilingual
References
  1. https://brainmass.com/file/264864/Additional+Document.doc
  2. https://eric.ed.gov/?id=ED273154

Last Updated : 13 July, 2023

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8 thoughts on “Esl vs Bilingual: Difference and Comparison”

  1. While the article provides useful information, it seems to slightly favor Bilingual Education over ESL. There should be more balanced representation of both approaches.

    Reply
  2. This piece is a fantastic overview of ESL and Bilingual Education. The comparison table is especially helpful for understanding the differences.

    Reply
  3. This article thoroughly explains the differences between ESL and Bilingual Education, providing a valuable resource for anyone interested in the subject.

    Reply
  4. I believe the article does a great job at highlighting the differences between ESL and Bilingual Education, and it doesn’t seem to favor one over the other.

    Reply
  5. This article is a valuable resource for those seeking to understand the nuances between ESL and Bilingual Education. It’s an insightful and educational read.

    Reply

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