Essay on Societal Bilingualism

Published: 2021/12/28
Number of words: 2967

Kuwait is one of the bilingual countries in the world, having Arabic as its official language, even though English is the widely used second dialect, majorly for business purposes. This rationale necessitates the knowledge of English by the natives, as well as students from other countries living in Kuwait. The majority of the international students in Kuwait speak Farsi and Urdu language from Pakistan and Iran, respectively (Alghasab, 2017). The existence and use of more than one language in Kuwait have led to the need to plan on developing bilingual teaching and learning pedagogies in the schools. Analyzing bilingualism in the country is crucial for the entire nation, covering its effects and influence (Singer, 2018). A case study is done on the Al-Bayan Bilingual School in Kuwait, providing a bilingual program for the study and use of Arabic and English language in equal measure in the school operations and learning. The school advocates for bilingualism and has the vision to equip students with the necessary skills and language for successful communication and existence in the country and the rapidly changing world. English is an international language, and therefore, its study in the school will aid in the bridging of the traditional values of Arab culture with global development. The school management believes in the power of bilingualism of empowering students to compete, participate, and lead in the development of the country, as well as the rest of the world through their acquisition of intellectual intelligence, optimism, and positive ethical values.

Description of Macro and Micro Aspects

Macro-Level Aspects of Bilingualism

The macro-level aspect of bilingualism dwells on the societal/communal view and perspective of the issue. This level will include the influence of bilingualism on social change and stability in the country, affecting mostly the laws, bureaucracy, and social status of the nation (Wright & Baker, 2017). It also impacts the relation of the state and other nations, as well as communities within the country. Bilingualism directly influences the relationship between different countries, enabling easy learning and adoption of different cultural practices; for example, native cultures can be easily learnt from the interaction while speaking the same language. This way, diversity can be easily explained. Besides Arabic, Kuwait communities interact using different languages, including English. The knowledge acquired from learning more than the native language enhances the faster growth of the nation due to improved interaction with the rest of the world (Hamid & Kirkpatrick, 2016). Information is presently computerised, noting the use of technology has been encouraged in most parts of the world. Consequently, this kind of model requires effective communication, majorly inspired by using more than one language. Therefore, the macro aspects of bilingualism are important and highly encouraged in the country.

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Micro-Level Aspects of Bilingualism

The micro-level aspect of bilingualism dwells on individual interaction, involving verbal face to face dialogue among students, as well as citizens. The schools in Kuwait, such as the Al-Bayan Bilingual School, uses English as the second language, mandating students to learn it to be able to communicate among themselves and with the teachers. Research work in most schools is computerized, requiring the knowledge and use of more than a single language, as vital tools in administering school successfully (Dashti & Dashti, 2016). Bilinguals can easily communicate with people from varied communities and cultures, and as such, they are able to improve their ability to learning. This way, bilinguals attain several merits, including acquiring a broad knowledge base, fostering their intellectual capacity, improving their ethical values consciousness, and nurturing their global interaction.

Description and Justification of the Bilingual Program

The developed bilingual education program and assessment plan are based on the vision and mission of the school. Also, it entails the commitment of the community in the realisation and the need for bilingualism. The target students for the program are of ages between 5 and 17 years old, noting they are fast learners.This program targets studying English as a second language in Kuwaiti schools, using the Al-Bayan Bilingual School as a case study for its implementation feasibility. This institution treats Arabic and English with equal status and emphasis (Al-Bayan Bilingual School, n.d). The designed program meets the curriculum requirement on the teaching and learning of bilingualism in Kuwaiti schools, using the outlines present in the government policy documents. Also, the program applies relevant linguistic curricula, such as the Australian curriculum on the study of multilingualism (Derewianka, 2012). The basis of the studying English program is because English is the second most spoken in the country, especially in schools and commercial areas. The program is designed such that diagnostic assessment of students occurs in the first. This strategy will enable the identification of the extent of knowledge acquisition by the learners, evaluating whether they can speak, write, or read in English. From this initial assessment, the teaching and learning pedagogies are developed in relation to the students’ age (Hasebe & Lee, 2015). The implementation of this program will start from the foundation level, whereby the basics for the English language will be taught, targeting students will be aged between 5 and 17years, noting they are easy to teach, and they can quickly grasp contents of teaching (Grieshaber & Graham, 2017). Another essential aspect entails formulating objectives of the language study. These aims will be availed to the students through the course outlines and when giving out program rubrics, as it will enable them to understand what is required of them in order to complete the course.

The program is designed to involve stakeholders from the community, students, teachers, and sponsoring agency who will take part in stages of assessment of the program implementation, aiming to enlighten the modern generation and improving their social ability through language literacy. Arguably, the success of any individual and nation in this modern world is tied to competitive and innovative aptness, requiring improved interaction, which is possible through speaking common languages (Bini, 2019). Leading on from this notion, success is guaranteed.

The Objectives of the Program

  • To enhance the participation of people in the community, citing the need to create a common language to unite the marginal communities in the country.
  • To unite a multilingual society, such as the Kuwaiti society consisting of various native language groups and cultures.
  • To enable individuals’ and communities’ interaction with the rest of the world.
  • To enhance and encourage students’ English and Arabic fluency.
  • To improve students’ creativity and innovation through bilingual empowerment.
  • To advocate and advance for students’ independence and collaboration, noting they will have a common communication language.
  • To prepare students so as to enhance their civic engagement, both locally and internationally.

These objectives are a vital description of the importance and the projected future need for bilingualism in the country, enabling cultural diversity and peace promotion in the country. With the implementation of the program, students and the community will embrace bilingualism, promoting inter-cultural interaction. Such acceptance will enhance the communal perspective of society, fostering citizens’ understanding of the rest of the world and different cultures (Horrigan, 2015). The basis of the program on the learning of English as the second language is since, in Kuwait, most businesses and institutions, such as schools and businesses, use English as the second language. The program will expand the use of the language and provide the citizens with the ability to communicate easily among themselves, even with those from different native language groups. Cultural learning and diversity will be expounded, as well as an individual’s psychology on bilingualism. Besides, the citizens’ social psychology and that of the community will be enhanced in order to improve interaction in the whole country.

A Description and Justification of the Bilingual Assessment

Bilingualism is encouraged in most Kuwaiti schools due to its considerable importance, not only to the students but also to the entire society. By being bilingual, one develops confidence in communication, enhances imaginative thinking, and becomes an informed citizen. These characteristics are achieved due to the opportunities characteristic of speaking more than one language. Learning English as a second language in Kuwait will enhance the interaction of the country’s human resources to the rest of the world, thereby encouraging economic development (Nagel, Temnikova, Wylie, & Koksharova, 2015). The choice of the study age based on the designed program is considered effective because young individuals are typically fast learners. It will teach students fundamental pedagogies, ensuring that the students are appropriately introduced to the English language and that they are able to understand, read speaking, and write it efficiently. Monitoring the progress of students makes them focused, and that is why it is a fundamental part of the program. This evaluation process will entail determining what the students already know, prior to the actual learning, as it enables the teacher to determine areas of focus. The three aspects constitute the tedious but most important process of learning, collectively known as assessment. Bilingual assessment will aid in determining the students’ language effectiveness, covering their prowess in writing, reading, speaking, and developed interests and skills. Overall, bilingual evaluation points will entail language speaking, writing ability, amassed intelligence. The assessment will define the students’ key areas of improvement, the level achieved, and the learning gap requiring revision.

Bilingual Assessment Methods

Several bilingual assessment methods exist, including the International English Language Testing System (IELTS), Cambridge English Language Assessment (Advanced (CAE), and Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). Each one of them is meant to measure the language proficiency of students of all ages, considering their language performance. The assessment methods do not dwell on the student’s verbal intelligence, but rather one’s communication language ability, taking English as a second language. Due to the absence of age limit imposed on the assessed students, all students can benefit from the program. The most suitable assessment method for the program will be the TOEFL method. This technique is widely used in over 150 countries across the world and applied in more than 11, 000 institutions of learning and provides online tests in areas where internet is accessible, as well as paper assessment for regions that do not have access to the internet (Nagel, Temnikova, Wylie, & Koksharova, 2015). This tactic aids in determining the student’s language efficiency and enhances the identification process of one’s mastery prowess. The evaluation is then done through disseminating tests, involving writing, reading, and listening. A score of 100 and above in the assessment describes an able student who can use English effectively, and such learner qualifies to join any English using school. A score of 60 marks and below defines an average student whose mastery of the English language is selective and may require additional learning in order to communicate, interact, develop skills, and solve problems in the English language (Bayley-I, Barrera, Matrices15, & Ethiopia ). As much as TOEFL is considered most effective due to its use of examinable questions that boost student’s confidence, the need to measure student’s verbal intelligence is also necessary. Verbal intelligence describes the English speaking ability of students, as well as their imaginative solutions to everyday problems and their confidence in communication. The reason for learning English is basically for communication purposes between the students in the school environment, with peers out of school, and interaction with the outside world. These definitions, therefore, necessitate verbal intelligence assessment.

The Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test (PPVT)

The Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test (PPVT) is an assessment test used in determining the verbal intelligence of students. This assessment method was designed by Llyod M. Dunn and Leota M. Dunn and was first put to use in 1959 (Fell & Baydak, 2015). It was explicitly designed to measure the verbal ability of students in the English language. Its application also defines the language proficiency of students, making it a more effective method compared to the TOEFL method. As opposed to TOEFL, the PPVT provides tests based on age, and as such, questions do vary based on age. The PPVT technique involves a short test, lasting less than 30 minutes. The test consists of a series of numbered black and white pictures used to answer a directed question to the student. The assessor speaks a word representing a picture, and in turn, the student is supposed to pick a specific image matching the assessor’s words. Students experiencing speech problems may have difficulty in choosing the right picture, and even choosing the correct color, corresponding to the requirement. This method provides twelve sets of items to match the ages of the students with a ceiling set and the basal set, using upper and lower boundaries of the sets, respectively. The number of errors in a set is determined, and where minimal errors are involved, then the Basal set is ruled. Eight and above errors in a set depict the Ceiling set (Nagel, Temnikova, Wylie, & Koksharova, 2015). This criterion does not analyze the English efficiency deeply, noting the disparity in the languages students speak when at home and when in school. PPVT will be the most effective method to assess the designed program based on the varied age limit from 5 – 17 years, offering different sets depending on age. The assessment method also determines both the language proficiency and language production of the students in a single test as opposed to the other assessment tests that only dwell on language proficiency and have no age limit in their tests.

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Bilingualism is one aspect becoming common in Kuwait, noting school management now believes in it. This way, institutions are able to empower their students, making them competent, participative, and development conscious. Besides, bilingual students are typically optimistic, citing their improved communication ability with non-Arabic English speakers. Bilingualism is a fast-rising issue in all countries globally. In Kuwait, the English language has become rampant, as most schools contemplate introducing it as mandatory, a strategy to enhance the country’s leaners’ competency. Besides, the English dialect is extensively used in commercial industries, citing the urge to trade with everyone, including foreigners. So, studying English other than native languages is beneficial. This way, students will be able to expand their thinking ability, foster their communication skills, and improve their interaction capability with the rest of the world. Because the importance and need for bilingualism are explicit globally, formulating effective teaching programs to train students is essential, necessitating the teaching and learning of English as a second language in Kuwait-based schools. Different assessment methods, such as IELTS, TOEFL, CAE, and PPVT, have been designed to promote learning processes. Most of these techniques requires a comprehensive analysis of the macro level and micro level concepts surrounding the idea in order to encourage bilingualism in schools. Individual student ability, as well as their bilingualism perception, are crucial for their mastery skills. The designed program, when matched with an effective assessment method, will promote the development of English usage, fostering people’s application in their social, economic, and political lives.


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Table 1: Program Description and Roll-Out Plan

Table 2: Proposed Program

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