Becoming Bilingual



Cassandra is a 4th grader at P.S. 189 in Brooklyn, New York. She is originally from Haiti and attends a bilingual school where classes are held in both English and Haitian Creole. If your first language is something other than English, practice it and don’t forget it. You’ll be glad you did!


My journey from Haiti to this wonderful country called the United States of America has been a great experience. I didn’t know how to speak English. This made me feel nervous. My parents placed me in a bilingual program at P.S. 189. Bilingual education makes me feel comfortable in school. It facilitates communication between my teachers and me, and it helps me preserve my culture.

The teachers at P.S. 189 made me feel comfortable by speaking my language and yet encouraging me to speak English. When my teacher would ask a question, I would answer in Creole. The teacher replied in my native language. That is how I learned he was Haitian. From that point on, when I did not understand something, I knew he would come and help me.

Bilingual education helps facilitate communication in many ways. When a student would say something in English, I would ask the teacher if he could translate it in Creole. This not only helped me become fluent in English, it also helped me with my writing.

Bilingual Education helps me preserve my native language and culture. Students and teachers respect my culture and values and that is how I am able to form a bond with other students. Bilingual education is a magnificent way for me to understand my culture and learn a new one. My teachers are fascinated with the progress and achievements I have made by speaking two languages. Bilingual education has been a key factor in my academic success. This is why I will treasure my experience in the bilingual setting.

I love being in a bilingual class. It has helped me in various ways. Bilingual education has been a positive experience for me. It has made me who I am today.


Kite Ayiti pou m vin viv isit Etazini, yon peyi estraòdinè, se on kokennchenn esperyans. M pa t konn pale angle lè m te vini. Sa te fè m santi m sou tansyon tout tan. Fanmi m mete mwen nan on pwogram bileng nan lekòl piblik 189. Edikasyon bileng pèmèt mwen santi m alèz nan lekòl la: li pèmèt mwen kominike ak pwofesè m yo; li pèmèt mwen konsève kilti mwen.

Pwofesè lekòl piblik 189 fè m santi m alèz de (2) fason: yo pale avè m nan lang mwen, epi, an menm tan tou, yo ankouraje m pale angle. Lè pwofesè m poze on kesyon, m reponn an kreyòl. Epi, lè li menm, li vin pale kreyòl tou, se konsa m aprann se Ayisyen li ye. Depi lè sa a, m konnen lè m pa konprann on bagay, l ap ka ede m.

Gen plizyè fason, edikasyon bileng pèmèt moun rive kominike youn ak lòt. Lè yon elèv di yon bagay ann angle, m mande pwofesè a si l ka tradui l an kreyòl pou mwen. Sa ede m vin pale angle kouraman, men tou sa ede m nan ekri lang lan.

Edikasyon bileng ede m kenbe lang natif-natal mwen ak kilti m. Ni elèv ni pwofesè respekte kilti m ak prensip mwen, e sa pèmèt mwen devlope bon rapò ak lòt elèv yo. Edikasyon bileng se on fason estraòdinè pou ede m konprann kilti pa m epi aprann on lòt. Pwofesè m yo sezi wè pwogrè m fè ak kalite travay m reyalize nan pale de lang. Edikasyon bileng se yon faktè kle nan reyisit akademik mwen. Se sa k fè m pa p jan m regrèt m te nan pwogram bileng.

M renmen lè m nan klas bileng. Sa ede m diferan fason. Esperyans mwen nan edikasyon bileng se on bagay pozitif. Se sa k fè m moun mwen ye jodi a.

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