Bilingual Community Education and Multilingualism Beyond Heritage Languages in a Global City Edited by: Ofelia García, Zeena Zakharia, Bahar Otcu

Paperback - 368 pages
Related Formats:
Hardback PDF EPUB
07 Sep 2012
Bilingual Education & Bilingualism
Multilingual Matters
210 x 148

Key features

- Description of bilingual educational efforts of over 18 language communities in New York and their broader sociolinguistic context and features

- Extensive discussion of bilingual community education, historical and contemporary features and future directions, with relevance for US public schools

- Theoretical extension to current US understandings of heritage language education, bilingual education, and ethnolinguistic speech communities

- Recommendations for parents, educators, and policy makers

- This volume makes an important contribution to educational policy and practice. At a time of rising educational standards and accountability for academic achievement of students, and especially of language minority students, there have been few studies that have looked at how complementary educational programs, run by ethnolinguistic communities, interact with mainstream public school education. By describing these bilingual community education programs, educators might learn how to build on children’s academic experiences outside of mainstream classrooms and public schools


This book explores bilingual community education, specifically the educational spaces shaped and organized by American ethnolinguistic communities for their children in the multilingual city of New York. Employing a rich variety of case studies which highlight the importance of the ethnolinguistic community in bilingual education, this collection examines the various structures that these communities use to educate their children as bilingual Americans. In doing so, it highlights the efforts and activism of these communities and what bilingual community education really means in today's globalized world. The volume offers new understandings of heritage language education, bilingual education, and speech communities for bilingual Americans in the 21st century.


This is a bold and political book. It asks us to rethink narrow and isolating categories which segregate the energy and efforts of our bilingual communities and the education of our children. It is a book about the education of all our children and describes the potential of multilingualism in our nation states. It is a joyful and hopeful book. It describes the parents and teachers as the real leaders in bilingual community education and shows the relevance of their efforts for our children, communities and nations in a globally networked world. It is a realistic book. It does not shy away from describing our responsibility to support these bilingual community endeavours, describing imperatives for collaboration across educational contexts in the exchange of expertise. This excellent and accessible book takes New York City as the starting point for introducing a rich variety of case studies, as authors describe the extensive efforts of bilingual community educators. Multilingual neighbourhood, community and city educational practices are shown to be connected to much larger diasporic plural networks, making a positive contribution to global markets and world politics.

- Angela Creese, University of Birmingham, UK

The importance of this book cannot be overstated in an era of unprecedented human mobility and intercultural contact. The reconstruction of language teaching and bilingual development elaborated by Ofelia García and her colleagues over the past five years is expanded into the sphere of community-based language teaching. The authors reject the monoglossic orientation characteristic of most forms of language teaching and bilingual education in favour of a heteroglossic orientation that reconceptualises language teaching as the development of dynamic and intertwined communicative resources among emergent bilinguals. These ideas entail immense implications for policy-makers and language teachers in both school and community contexts.

- Jim Cummins, University of Toronto, Canada

This is an important work by leading and emerging scholars, which provides a fresh look at bilingualism in the United States. The collection moves us beyond the stigmatizing depreciation of bilingualism that has dominated the national discussion for the past three decades. Ofelia García and her colleagues have succeeded in elevating our appreciation for the worth of living languages within the contexts of how they function in families and communities, beyond the more limited focus on heritage.

- Terrence G. Wiley, President Center for Applied Linguistics, and Professor Emeritus, Arizona State University, USA

The volume as a whole is more than an accumulation of the impressive collaborative work Garci´a and her colleagues have carried out in New York City over the last few years. It is a reconceptualization of bilingual education for the twenty first century. The studies included in the book have wide-ranging implications for policy-makers and educators.

- Language Policy (2015) 14:285–287 - Li Wei, Birkbeck College, University of London, UK

Overall, Bilingual Community Education forwards a compelling argument for examining how public schools and community language education programs can foster effective relationships that nurture global citizens with a critical awareness of the power of language. Through offering a range of studies in widely spoken languages—Spanish, Yiddish, Japanese, Russian, Bengali, Hindi, Sikh, Persian, Arabic, French, Haitian Creole, Hebrew and Korean—the editors demonstrate how language education is beginning to incorporate heteroglossic frameworks for acknowledging transcultural identities.In comparison with other studies on the subject of language education, Bilingual Community Education offers a wider spectrum of analysis for a particular geographic region and attends to the differing motivations for communities in establishing language education programs.

- Critical Multilingualism Studies, Vol 2, No 1 (2014) - Irene Jagla, University of Arizona, USA

Author Biography:

Ofelia García is Professor in the PhD programs of Urban Education and of Hispanic and Luso-Brazilian Literatures and Languages at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. Among her most recent books are: Bilingual Education in the 21st Century; Handbook of Language and Ethnic Identity, Vols. I & II; Educating Emergent Bilinguals; and Additive Schooling in Subtractive Times.

Zeena Zakharia is Assistant Professor in the Department of Leadership in Education at the University of Massachusetts, Boston. Her recent publications consider the interplay of language policy, collective identity, and human security in schools, during and after violent political conflict. These interests stem from over a decade of educational leadership in war-affected bilingual contexts.

Bahar Otcu is Assistant Professor at Mercy College, New York. Her research interests include bilingual education, applied linguistics, language policies and ideologies, discourse analysis, and pragmatics. Her recent publications include a co-authored book chapter titled Developmental Patterns in Internal Modification Use in Requests and an article titled Heritage Language Maintenance and Cultural Identity Formation.

Readership Level:

Postgraduate, Research / Professional, Undergraduate

Table of Contents

View PDF Table of Contents

Book Preview