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1) General introduction.

Spain and
Scotland are two different countries that belong to the European continent but
hey differ in some aspects. To start with, Spain’s official language is Spanish
whereas in Scotland there are three official languages, English, Scots and
Scottish-Gaelic.

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“English
is spoken by 99% of the Scottish population, while Scots and Scottish Gaelic
are the most common minority languages in the country.” (Sawe, 2017)

As Colin
Baker stresses, Gaelic speakers are concentrated in Western Isles mainly, so
they resist Anglicisation because of their inaccessibility. Meanwhile, Gaelic
language fights for survival in the rest of the country. (Baker, 1997)

Taking
into account previous data, we can clearly see that they are two different
countries as regards language and it will necessarily lead to a different
bilingual education system as well.

2) Presentation and characterization of
the analysed systems, with explicit references to the different forms of
bilingual education.

a.       Bilingual educational system in Spain

We will
first look at the Bilingual School Programme of Spain. We will focus mainly on
its capital city Bilingual School Programme, Order 5958/201 for Bilingual
Schools in Madrid, as there is no a national document which establishes
bilingual program for all the Spanish territory. It is developed along the
whole Primary Education Stage, while in other Communities it is developed only
in some parts of this Stage. (Consejería de Educación, 2010)

As
regards the way of learning, it is linked to CLIL model (Content and Language
Integrated Learning). This model is based on the use of the second language
throughout the learning of contents. The main objective is to learn the
contents not though the mother tongue, but though the second language. For this
reason, English language is at least 30% of the curriculum and every subject
can be taught in this language, except Maths and Spanish Language. (Consejería
de Educación, 2010)

In every
Bilingual School there must be a Coordinator elected by the Headmaster or
Headmistress of the School. The Coordinator is in charge of language assistants.
As regards money, Spanish State provides Bilingual Schools with 3.000 euros
during the first year for operating expenses. (Consejería de Educación, 2010)

When
dealing with resources, Bilingual Schools of the Community of Madrid have at
least two digital boards and teachers must carry out training courses. Also,
there are special materials designed for 5th and 6th of
Primary Education Stage by the Ministry of Education. It can be downloaded and
in the TV Channel “La Otra” there are English subtitled cartoons. (Consejería
de Educación, 2010)Bilingual educational system in Scotland

Now we
will look at Bilingual School Programme of Scotland. The Scottish Government
Languages Working Group elaborated a policy called the Language Learning in
Scotland A 1+2 Approach. The main aim of this policy is to ensure that Scottish
young students have opportunities to learn a modern language during the Primary
Education Stage and a second modern language from Primary 5th
onwards.

 

There were
two main reasons to apply this approach in Scotland. The first one: there is evidence
in the fact that  young children learn
languages more easily than older learners when dealing with mental flexibility
and the efficiency of the input received; and the second one: in the European
countries it is compulsory to study at least one foreign language when children
are between six and nine years old. (Scottish Government Languages Working
Group, 2012).

When
choosing a language to teach, the Working Group stresses the priority for nearest
European neighbours languages such as French, German, Italian and Spanish, but
also it encourages the promotion of Chinese.

 Apart from that, Gaelic education is a key
element and it will be the L2 language for some pupils. Scots language will be encouraged
at all levels of the school.  The aim is
to secure a sustainable future for these two languages. Local language
strategies should consider the teaching of English as an Additional Language within
schools and they should review their provision of languages as a wide range of
options for learners as well.

Learning
about the culture of a country is highlighted as it is closely linked with
motivation.

There is
not a fixed number of hours for the learning of language in primary schools
because it is preferable to build blocks of language learning into the daily
routine of learners, apart from using the target language across other aspects
of learning.

“This can
avoid the danger that a 18 language ‘hour’ is the first to go when responding
to the pressure of holidays or other pressures on the timetable.” (Scottish
Government Languages Working Group, 2012, page 17).

 

When
dealing with teachers’ language knowledge, results taken from census indicate
that thay are qualified in two or even three languages. Usually native speakers
will be a great support during the lessons as a linguistic and cultural model.

Materials
necessary for the development of the curriculum should be created by modern
languages teachers. Activities and materials should be imaginative, relevant
and promote real progression. The key point is to keep students motivated and
engages to learn languages. (Scottish Government Languages Working Group, 2012).

 

 

3) Criticism of these systems, based on both academic
and informative bibliography.

Before moving further, I would like to mention some
legal aspects to be taken into account about these two bilingual systems.
Spanish Bilingual Order 5958/2010 date from 2010 and it still deals with
Educative aspects already nonexistent because LOMCE Organic Law 8/2013 modifies
the Organic Law to which Bilingual Order is liked to, LOE 2/2006. So, in this
sense there are some aspects which should to be looked at and modifies
according to current educative laws. On the other hand, Bilingual Scottish
system, based on Language Learning A 1+2 Approach was last updated on Wednesday
27 May 2015, therefore it seems it hasn’t be overlooked as Scottish Government
is still working on it.

When dealing with these systems features, we could
clearly see they have both common aspects and differences. First of all, in
Spain children who go to English bilingual schools do not usually have direct
contact with native speakers of the English language out of the school
environment. As we have stress before, there is only one official language of
Spain which is the Spanish language. Despite the fact there are official
minority languages within some of the Autonomous Communities such as Valencian
language or Galician language. On the other hand, in Scotland, children have
more opportunities to experiment with not only English language but Scots and
Scottish-Gaelic language when they are not within the school. These three
languages coexist in the same country even if they are not spoken with the same
importance because Scots and Scottish-Gaelic are minority languages. However,
the important point is that the three of them are promoted within all the
Scottish territory while in Spain all the languages are only promoted within
their Autonomous Community, not out of them. Instead, English language is the
only compulsory foreign language within all Spanish territory.

In Scotland there are parallels projects to be
developed apart from the Language Learning A 1+2 Approach. These are some collaborative
projects that have been implemented in order to promote early access to
language learning in Scottish schools. We could highlight five: Let’s become a
bilingual family, School and family
together (SOFT), A sustainable
framework for British Sign Language in Scottish schools, Early learning of Chinese project and
Volunteer language assistants programme. (The University of
Edinburgh, 2016)

I would like to stress that in both countries Culture
is an essential aspect to be work when learning another language. In Spain,
within Royal Decree 126/2014, we find key competence number seven, English
Culture and Expression Competence, that has to be developed along the Primary
Education Stage; as well as general objective d), which as to do with culture
aspects, in its article 7. Furhtermore, in Scotland they do consider essential
this aspect too.

The headteacher of the Glendale Gaelic Primary School in Glasgow,
Elspeth McCoull, said: “Research has shown children who are bilingual are more
aware of different cultures, other people and other points of view.” (Denholm, 2017).

To end up, both countries bear in mind advantages of
learning two or more languages. That is one of the main reasons to promote
bilingual systems, because they not only provide children with more tools to
communicate with other people, but also has brain positive effects.

“Some
people think speaking two languages to children makes them confused so they
don’t learn either language properly and experience developmental delays. We
know from research that this is not true.” (Derry, 2016)4) Personal assessment and conclusions.After carrying out this
brief work about the research of bilingual systems of Spain and Scotland, I
would like to resume the main points of it. First of all, it is important to
highlight that in Spain the Order which establish bilingual concretions is based
on previous laws and it is not modified or updates since 2010. Meanwhile, in
Scotland they did update the Language Learning A 1+2 Approach in May 2015.
Thus, we can clearly notice the compromise each Government has with Bilingual
Education Systems. It is basic to bear in mind that both countries do believe that learning
more than a language is important nowadays. In Spain English language teaching
is one of the main parts of the Spanish Primary Education Curriculum. In
Scotland not only the three official languages are promoted, English, Scots and
Scottish-Gaelic, but there is a need to have knowledge about other languages.
Here we could highlight they give a great importance to close countries
languages such as French and Spanish, and they also consider further countries
languages such as Chinese.

There is a need to highlight that both countries analysed are part of
the European Union and they are not too far, and it leads them to have some
point is common, as they are shearing European Union treats. As an example, I
would like to highlight Article 165, section 2, of the Treaty on the
Functioning of the European Union, which claims: “Union action shall be aimed
at … developing the European dimension in education, particularly through
the teaching
and dissemination of the languages of the Member States.” (The Lisbon Treaty, 2013).

For all the reasons given before and the facts we
could read, I do not really thing it is a matter of a better system, the main
problem is within the sociocultural context and language availability out of
the school. So, in Spain there are not so many possibilities to use English in
a real way out of the school environment whereas in Scotland they do have
options to use the three main languages promoted.

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