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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 > Program Description

Program Description


In our increasingly diverse world, the study of multiple languages-in-education is in high demand. The Program in Bilingual/Bicultural Education acknowledges the need to provide students with a foundation for understanding and working with bilingual learners in diverse educational settings. Our program specializes in education that privileges language minority student populations in the U.S. and in the world.

Students who select a course of study offered by our program will be prepared to work in schools, community organizations, and international agencies as teachers, specialists, consultants, curriculum designers, and evaluators.  Students may also pursue an interest in policy and research and/or continue further studies. 

Through our courses, students will examine the phenomenon of multiple languages and cultures in schools, classrooms, and communities within local and global contexts. The courses will allow students to explore their interests in teaching in schools where more than one language and culture are part of the curriculum, particularly within the multilingual, multicultural schools of New York City, and to explore how the local and unique situations of schools connect to those found in other parts of the world. Furthermore, students can observe and work in enrichment language education models that will enable them to develop the understanding and working knowledge necessary to educate language minorities while working with the goal of developing proficiency in more than one language for both language majority and minority students. Students will examine the nature of cross-cultural understanding and knowledge, as it provides support and access for language minority school populations to respect, develop, and preserve their languages within educational settings, to develop and strengthen their identities, and to go beyond their selves to engage in the world as productive citizens. The courses in our program will also help students explore their place within the context of multiple language and cultures in schools and communities and in promoting diversity in thinking and social justice in the U.S. and beyond.

Breadth courses within different departments at Teachers College will further allow students to explore the distinction between general education teaching and teaching in settings where the curriculum is taught in more than one language, to learn about second language learning theory, literacy, and allow students to pursue interdisciplinary intellectual endeavors.

Students will plan an appropriate course of study according to their background, knowledge, and experiences and in relation to their future goals, with their advisor.  Students are strongly advised to plan the whole curriculum during their first semester, so as to meet all requirements and to enjoy the multiple possible field experiences in educational settings. Please explore this website for FAQs to learn about the multiple strands available at the M.A. level, New York State requirements for certification, and distinctions in the different fields of study that might be important in the selection of the specific track within the Program in Bilingual/Bicultural Education.