Benefits of the Seal of Biliteracy to Students

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When you send your children out for dual language studies, you are gifting them the opportunity to see the world in a new light. You are telling them to go out into the world and interpret things in their own ways; this is a powerful gesture. Likewise, you put them on a direct path to acquiring the Seal of Biliteracy, which is the one way of recognizing learners that have acquired the unquestionable command of two or more languages by the time they leave high school. The Seal of Biliteracy was first passed and implemented in California in 2011. Since then, 32 other states and DC have approved the seal for use in schools.

Why does the seal of biliteracy matter anyway?

1. It paves the way for a great academic future

Students who receive the seal are looked upon with favor by institutions of higher learning, making it easier for them to acquire education from top-tier universities and colleges of their choice. The recognition widens the scope of students’ choices and lifts restrictions on where they can attend college.

2. Boosts confidence going forward

Students need some sort of motivation to keep going, both academically and professionally, and the Seal of Biliteracy is just about the perfect approach. When your child is recognized, they find a reason to keep pushing themselves to become better in the languages involved. Working towards and earning the seal on their transcript or diploma is an experience every learner should have. At times, it even opens doors for future career choices.

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3. Promotes equality in education

In the average academic setting, English Language Learners (ELLs) have the odds stacked solidly against them. They are trying to learn a new language and thrive in a very difficult environment – like settle in with new friends and establish a life far away from their home – and don’t have the tools that native learners have. The Seal of Biliteracy brings them closer to their peers and goes some way toward leveling the playing field.

Continue reading to learn more about the benefits of the Seal of Biliteracy…

4. Symbolizes the endurance of culture

This recognition helps to preserve the native languages and cultures of dual language students. It is a way of keeping them firmly moored to their roots. With the seal comes the reminder that the learner stands for something and has an identity.

5. Raises the relevance of minority languages

The Seal of Biliteracy acts as a wakeup call for society to recognize and appreciate the existence of minority languages like Spanish. When society understands the importance of the existence of such languages, the exposure of these languages increases for all community members, especially students. As a result, students can engage with the languages with their peers, providing social and professional outlets.

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6. Helps students have an advantage in life after school

We are living in a world that becomes more diverse every day, and professionals need proficiency in several languages to navigate the intricate organizational demands of the corporate space. The Seal of Biliteracy allows students to demonstrate their language abilities, while also providing an advantage to be land jobs with skilled and favorable companies, teams, and groups. The Seal of Biliteracy allows students to strive in their professional careers well after graduation.

7. Encourages students to pursue opportunities in languages other than their native lingo.

The Seal of Biliteracy encourages students to think past their native language and develop an understanding and empathy for others. Not only does this allow them to achieve the esteemed honor through the Seal, but it allows students to become more comfortable with different cultures and groups other than those they come from. The Seal can create empathy with students.

As society makes progressive strides, bilingualism becomes a topic with significant importance. The Seal of Biliteracy gives students a well-deserved advantage; it recognizes their efforts to be proficient in various languages and acts as the catalyst for reforms in the education system, as well as society. It is important for parents to support and encourage their children to work hard in their language classes to potentially earn this honor, and graduate with something to show for their strides towards achieving biliteracy.

Angela Palmieri
Author: Angela Palmieri

Angela Palmieri is the founding teacher of a Spanish dual language immersion program in Glendale, California. She currently teaches sixth grade language immersion and has been an educator for eighteen years. She traveled to New Zealand on the Fulbright Distinguished Award in Teaching in 2016 to research and document the cultural practices taught in Maōri-medium schools. Angela holds a Master’s degree in Educational Administration from the Principal Leadership Institute at UCLA, a Master’s degree in Reading and Language Education, as well as a Bachelor’s degree in Urban Learning Education from CSULA. Ms. Palmieri is currently a doctoral student in the Educational Leadership Program at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). Ms. Palmieri was born and raised in Caracas, Venezuela, to Italian immigrant parents, and speaks Spanish and Italian fluently. She is a social justice-driven advocate for bilingual and indigenous language education and is an avid traveler. Angela travelled to China and Mongolia on a Fulbright-Hays Group Projects Abroad grant in June and July of 2018.

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