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Bilingual/Bicultural Education
Teachers College, Columbia University
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Bilingual/Bicultural Education

In the Department of Arts & Humanities

About the Program > A Letter from the BBE Program

A Letter from the BBE Program

Dear Prospective Student:

  • Do you want to promote multilingualism in the world?
  • Do you want to better understand how language, power and education are related?
  • Do you want to learn the difference between multililngualism and learning a second language?
  • Do you want to explore how cultural and linguistic diversity interact within learning?
  • Do you wonder why language matters?
  • Do you wish to learn how teachers can promote language freedoms in schools?
  • Do you wonder why it is important for children to be able to access all the language systems they know?

If any of these questions or similar ones describe you, we urge you to continue exploring our program.

The Program in Bilingual/Bicultural Education focuses on promoting multilingualism worldwide. We specifically prepare educators to promote multilingualism through the exploration of issues of learning and teaching in more than one language. Language allows us to codify our worlds in a dynamic way. The use of more than one language in instruction calls for new ways of teaching and learning as the multiple languages represent different cultures and world views that converge within a social space.

We value the heritage languages of the children and communities we serve.

Literacy as we understand it represents not only the decoding and encoding of words and knowledge, but also the codified legacies of a people. Thus, we believe that in educational institutions, we must work with multiple literacies: the school, the community, and the home. Legacies, however, have more than one medium -- they are more than just print. They can also be experienced through oral, visual, and emotive means. They are also constitutive of identities that need to be explored as part of the settings in which we work. Moreover, all of the different means are embedded in power structures that we also have to explore through the individual and the society we live in.

The diversity of New York City is a source of inspiration for us to craft our instruction in ways that take advantage of and mine its resources. So, that while we concentrate on the major language minority groups of the city -- Spanish speakers and Chinese speakers -- we have something to say and contribute to other settings in which the co-existence and intermingling of languages occur around the world.

Be our guest and explore our program website. Please send questions you may still have to our Academic Program Secretary, Lauren Wyner at bilingual-bicultural@tc.edu.

We leave you with the hopes that we can respond to your questions. We look forward to seeing your admissions forms in the near future, and hope to see you in our classrooms in the coming semesters.

Sincerely,
The Program in Bilingual/Bicultural Education

Please note that Prof. Garcia has left Teachers College and is now working at the Graduate Center of the CUNY. If you need to contact her, please email her at ogarcia@gc.cuny.edu.