Reconsidering bilingual education programs: A case of Indonesian multilingual classrooms

Harni Kartika Ningsih, Indonesia University of Education, Indonesia

Classification of bilingual education programs has undergone changes. A common classification of any educational programs involving two or more languages has been critiqued (e.g. Hamers & Blanc, 2000). A more recent view of bilingual education is perceived in the stricter sense as balanced language competence (e.g. Garcia & Li Wei, 2014). However, there is a need to be more precise in specifying the role of bilingualism in teaching/learning as far as L2 competence is concerned. Some programs, which are not considered as bilingual education, in fact involve aspects of bilingualism and may offer useful insights for bilingual teaching/learning practices.
This paper proposes a new parameter to examine bilingual education programs. This parameter aims to offer a new perspective in looking at teaching/learning involving more than one language, using Indonesian multilingual classrooms as an example. It begins with mapping a topology of bilingual education programs by taking Halliday’s (1993) language learning perspective into account. This topology serves as the parameter, integrating language use and language learning to examine selected bilingual education programs (Kartika-Ningsih, 2016). EFL teaching/learning practices in Indonesian multilingual classrooms are set out as an example to apply the parameter.
This paper raises a point of bilingual teaching/learning aiming towards L2 competence. It is argued that to achieve L2 competence, L1 use should be transitional and both language and content are taking into account.

Garcia, O & Li Wei. 2014. Translanguaging: Language, Bilingualism, & Education. London: Palgrave MacMillan.
Halliday, M.A.K. 1993. Towards a language-based theory of learning. Linguistics and Education, 93-116.
Hamers, J & Blanc, M.H. 2000. Bilinguality & Bilingualism. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Kartika-Ningsih, H. 2016. Multilingual re-instantiation: Genre pedagogy in Indonesian classrooms. Sydney University: Unpublished PhD thesis.

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