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,11 Macrothink 
All Institute" 

Journal of Educational Issues 

ISSN 2377-2263 
2017, Vol. 3, No. 2 

A Literature-Based Approach on International 
Perspectives of Bilingual Education 

Burhan Ozfidan (Corresponding author) 

Department of Teaching, Learning and Culture 
Texas A&M University, TX, USA 

Lynn M. Burlbaw 

Department of Teaching, Learning and Culture 
Texas A&M University, TX, USA 

Received: July 15, 2016 Accepted: August 25, 2017 Published: September 1, 2017 
doi: 10.5296/jei.v3i2.11551 URL: 


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This study examines the bilingual education in Spain and in Canada, and discusses their 
historical backgrounds, current bilingual education programs in use, and teacher proficiency 
within their bilingual education programs. The purpose of this study is to examine these two 
countries’ bilingual education programs and find a way to implement a bilingual education 
program in Turkey. Because of innovative legal conditions and the establishment of special 
programs in Basque Country in Spain, the potential for increasing learners and speakers of 
the language is greater than ever before. Bilingual education models in the BAC have 
increased the number of well-educated young students and allowed them to have a better 
future. French is taught as a foreign language in Canada, and English is usually accepted as a 
first language, which has hindered the development of diverse types of immersion programs. 
Immersion programs have helped students learn other subjects and have also allowed them to 
acquire an additional language. This study presents a comparison of the situation of minority 
languages in Turkey with Canada and Spain offers many lessons. The purpose of this 
discussion is to establish the benefits and shortcomings of these bilingual education programs 
and the suitability of their models for minority groups living in Turkey. To provide an 
efficient education system, the differing needs of various areas should be considered. This 
can be demonstrated in examples drawn from Canada’s consideration of the French language 
and Spain’s consideration of the Basque language. 

Keywords: Basque, French, Turkish, Bilingual education 

1. Introduction 

Many nations of the world are multilingual by nature of their multicultural populations, e.g., 
India, China, Republic of South Africa, etc. Other nations, while having diverse populations, 
have a dominant culture and a primary language, e.g., the United States of America, Spain, 
Singapore, etc. How these two categories of nations address the issue of minority languages 
varies from co-existence to contentious discussions on how best to incorporate, or assimilate, 
the non-dominate groups linguistic and cultural heritage into the social fabric. While the 
adoption of cultural practices of, and by, both the dominant and non-dominant populations 
occurs symbiotically, the relationship between languages used and cultural maintenance if 
often contentious (Blanton, 2004; De La Trinidad, 2015; Everling, 2009; Gandara, 2015; Kim, 
Hutchison, & Winsler, 2015; Peleato, 2013; San Miguel, 2004; Ozfidan & Burlbaw, 2016). 
Two countries, however, and not without controversy at times, have developed working 
models to allow for language use and recognition of non-dominant cultures. These countries, 
Spain and the Basque community and Canada and the Francophone community largely found 
in Quebec, offer possible solutions to the issue of multilingual societies. After an examination 
of the models used in Spain and Canada, the authors suggest how these models might be 
translated into another country, Turkey, which has multiple non-dominant populations, which 
have their own, distinct languages. 

The use of the Basque language has been officially allowed in zones in which the language 
has never been used before: elementary and secondary education, university, church, printed 
materials, media, and among others (Ozfidan & Burlbaw, 2016). Currently, the Basque 


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Autonomous Community has a very systematic ongoing bilingual education program. The 
sociological results of French immersion programs have also been found to have produced 
considerable progress in developing relationships and friendships between English-French 
speaking scholars, and “a strong feeling of assimilation” in the French-Canadian community 
(Ricento, 2013). This study examines the bilingual education in Spain and in Canada, and 
discusses their historical backgrounds, current bilingual education programs in use, and 
teacher proficiency within their bilingual education programs. The reason these two countries 
were chosen is their historical backgrounds and linguistic challenges are similar to minority 
groups in Turkey. 

2. Bilingual Education in Spain: The Case of Basque 

2.1 Historical Background 

The community of Basque speakers is split into three political units: the Basque Autonomous 
Community, Navarre in Spain, and the Atlantic Pyrenees Department of France. The Basque 
Provinces of Spain are situated in northern Spain and are among the 17 semi-autonomous 
communities of Spain (Lasagabaster, 2001; CIA World Factbook, 2017). For many centuries, 
the Basque language has been spoken natively in this area, which is on the border with 
France, south of the Atlantic Pyrenees Department of France. Historically speaking, most 
Basques had had little contact with the written version of their language as the written version 
of Basque was not used in administration (Lasagabaster, 2001; see also Hualde, Lakarra, & 
Trask, 1995). 

Today, the Basque Autonomous Community (BAC) in Spain is comprised of three provinces, 
Alva, Biscay, and Gipuskoa, with approximately 2.5 million inhabitants (Lasagabaster, 2001). 
Donostia-San Sebastian, Bilbao, and Vitoria-Gasteiz are the largest cities of the Basque 
Country and the centers of the BAC (P. M. Horn-Marsh & K. L. Horn-Marsh, 2009). 

The Basque Nationalist Party, established in 1895, followed a policy of recovering and 
restoring the Basque language in Spain. Basque nationalists, according to Gardner (2000), 
have control over both the parliament and the government in the Basque Autonomous 
Community of northern Spain. However, to ensure that a stable government is realized, they 
have had to rely on alliances with other parties. The strength of each Basque party: Basque 
Solidarity (EA, EuskoAlkartasuna), Unity (HB, now Batasuna), Basque Left (EE, Euskadiko 
Ezkerra), and the Basque Nationalist Party (PNV/EAJ, Partido Nacionalista Vasco/Eusko 
Alderdi Jeltzalea), varies noticeably from province to province in Spain. 

The use of the Basque language began to fall by the wayside as the result of several historical 
events. First, during the 18 th century, monarchies in France and Spain opposed the use of 
Basque. In 1716, the Spanish absolutist monarchy strengthened centralization and introduced 
Castilian as the official language of the country (affect the Basque population in 3 provinces 
in Spain). After the French Revolution of 1792, French became the only official language of 
the First Republic (affecting the people in what now is the Atlantic Pyrenees Department). In 
both cases using languages other than Castilian Spanish or French was officially forbidden 
(Lasagabaster, 2001). 


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A second primary cause of the decline of the Basque language was a byproduct of 
industrialization in the 19 th century, which lead to the ever-growing urbanization of Basque 
speakers in the industrial provinces. One factor of this industrialization was an in-migration 
to Basque areas, which included large numbers of non-Basque speaking workers in the newly 
industrial towns, especially Bilbao, where Spanish-speaking investors and managers 
developed an iron and steel industry. Urbanization and in-migration meant that Basque 
speakers had to leam Spanish to survive (Gardner, 2000). This phenomenon caused the use of 
the Basque language to vanish almost completely from the public and economic arenas 
(Lasagabaster, 2001). 

In 1918, efforts to preserve the Basque language led to the development of the Basque 
Language Academy and the Basque Studies Society (Gardner, 2000). The purpose of the 
language activities implemented by the academy was to increase the Basque language’s social 
status, rather than planning standardization of the Basque linguistic structure (Urla, 2009). 
Nevertheless, until the late 1960s, the Basque language was not taught as a subject in the 
schools in the Basque Provinces. 

However, all these efforts were disrupted in the aftermath of the Spanish Civil War 
(1936-1939), when all Basque territory in Spain came under the control of dictator Francisco 
Franco. One of the earliest measures “Franco took was to forbid the use of the Catalan and 
Basque languages, not only at school, but also in every single social sphere, and those who 
violated this were persecuted” (Etxeberria, 2006, p.127) For example, those “teachers who 
were members of nationalist parties were forced to give up their jobs, and those who 
sympathized with them were forcibly moved to other regions” (Etxeberria, 2006, p. 128). 
These measures and in-migration had damaging impacts, and the number of Basque speakers 
fell from 83% of the population at the beginning of the 20 th century to only 23% a half 
century later. However, during the last decade (1965-1975) of Franco’s rule this linguistic 
repression was somewhat lessened, as the regime was breaking down and was not as 
oppressive as before (Etxeberria, 2006; Zalbide & Cenoz, 2008). 

In the late 1960s, efforts were made to resuscitate the Basque language, and the Basque 
Language Academy created a standardized version of Basque called Batu, which melded 
eight dialects into a standardized version. This singular version now has official language 
status in Spain (Lasagabaster, 2001). Besides this, the academy also worked to develop the 
fundamental infrastructure for formal Basque education. Moreover, in the late 1960s and 
early 1970s, according to Haddican (2007), Basque Country education was secretly 
developed through a night school network; therefore, Basque education, in the beginning, 
was formed unofficially. These schools, which were known as Ikastola, began as a public 
service and later obtained legal status. 

In 1975, after the death of Franco, bilingual education models were introduced during the 
reign of King Juan Carlos I. Many students attended Basque daycare centers, and most of 
them went on to school to pursue their education (Zuazo, 1995). In the BAC, mandatory 
education involved six years of elementary education for children who were from age 6 to 12 
and four years of secondary school for children who were from age 12 to 16 and (Sierra, 




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2008). Currently, this bilingual education program remains successful in incorporating the 
preservation of the Basque culture and language in the face of the mainstream Spanish 
language (Valadez, Etxeberria, & Intxausti, 2015). 

2.2 Bilingual Teaching Models in Spain 

To meet the rising requests from parents, the Basque language was offered in public 
education beginning in 1975 (Intxausti, Etxeberria, & Joaristi, 2013). Since then educational 
language models in Basque have increasingly developed in all pre-university levels 
throughout Basque country. Breton and Ruiz (2008) noted that Basque language teaching in 
different models was proposed and added to public education in 1975. Based on the 
educational policy of the political party in power, the teaching Basque language was either 
promoted or benignly ignored but eventually was introduced throughout the whole 
community at all educational levels. Both private and public centers used the Basque 
language in pre-university teaching, which gave students the freedom to learn the Basque 
language. The Basque language officially started to be used in public and governmental 
places such as schools in 1976. From then on, the number of the Basque speakers and 
learners rapidly increased, and Basque language gained legal status in Spain in 1978. Both 
Basque and Spanish developed as mandatory focuses in entire educational institutions. 

Bilingual education in the Basque County is divided into three models, which are Model A, 
Model B, and Model D (Zalbide & Cenoz, 2008). In Model A, almost all topics are taught in 
Spanish, and Basque is taught as a second language for four to six hours in a week. This 
approach aims to assist students in comprehending the Basque language, in building stronger 
affirmative attitudes towards the Basque culture but not linguistic fluency. This model has 
limited success and use because more academic emphasis is placed on courses taught in 
Spanish (Gardner, 2000; Arzamendi & Genesee, 1997). 

In Model B, people who want to leam both Spanish and Basque are taught in the Basque 
language. The main goal in this model, according to Gardner (2000), is to reach fluency in 
the Basque language. The limitation of this model is that students cannot communicate 
fluently in schools because they have not learned Basque adequately; therefore, they do not 
prefer model B (Zalbide & Cenoz, 2008; Gardner, 2000). 

In Model D (no letter “C” exists in Basque), according to Gardner (2000), almost all subjects 
are taught in Spanish, and Basque is taught as an instructional language for five to six hours a 
week. This model aims for fluency in both Basque and Spanish. The limitation of the model 
is the lack of qualified teachers (Gardner, 2000; Zuazo, 1995; Lasagabaster, 2001; Etxeberria, 

Today, a generation of native Basque speakers is a completely new phenomenon that has been 
accompanied by a wave of printed materials and people well-educated and literate in the 
Basque language. The government has printed many books in the Basque language yearly 
(Gardner, 2000; Zalbide & Cenoz, 2008). Currently, using Basque (bilingually) in the 
elementary and secondary education, in published and written materials, and in public areas 
(such as church) has continued to develop. This situation of peaceful coexistence was arrived 




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at after a period of unrest, which included bombings and assassinations. 

2.3 Materials for Teaching 

The introduction of Basque mainly for literature and language into teaching created the need 
for curriculum development on an extensive official basis (Gardner, 2000). Furthermore, the 
government immediately required essential materials in Basque to teach all topics. Subjects 
such as history and geography that had specific Basque-centered components were integrated 
into the curriculum. In incorporating bilingual education, the government has become more 
supportive and has increasingly improved its finance mechanisms for Basque-centered 
education (Zalbide & Cenoz, 2008; Gardner, 2000). The Spanish central government, in 
Madrid, has completely funded the public schools, and supported and funded the private 
Ikastola schools, which had been funded completely parents in the later part of the Franco 
regime, have been supported and financed by the central government. Both governmental and 
private school students were provided teaching materials and funded by the Basque 
Government (Gardner, 2000). 

2.4 Teachers ’ Proficiency 

The main challenge for the educational system in the BAG has been the lack of teachers with 
the required ability and competence in Basque (Gardner, 2000). Teachers must get a 
proficiency diploma to be qualified. However, without acquiring this proficiency via a formal 
diploma, many teachers taught the medium of Basque in schools (Cenoz, 2008). Likewise, 
because of the language instruction in the 1980s, teachers whose native language was Basque 
only used Basque verbally; therefore, Spanish students had many difficulties (Cenoz, 2008). 
Hence, special courses have been organized to strengthen the grammar and vocabulary of 
Basque teachers and to increase their literacy level. 

The Minister of Education in the BAC has organized in-service training through the Teacher 
Literacy and Second Language Learning (IRALE) program, which offers the possibility of 
entire or limited release from teaching responsibilities (Zalbide &Cenoz, 2008). Participation 
is available every year. In the program, participants can become full-time students for a 
period of up to three years at particular universities in the IRALE program. In this case, 
teachers receive their full salary (Cenoz, 2012). To speed up teacher training, the IRALE 
program also included teachers who were on part-time courses during the school year or on 
full-time courses during the summer holidays (Zalbide & Cenoz, 2008). At the end of three 
years, each teacher who has attended and successfully passed each part of this program 
receives a certificate of proficiency in both Basque and Spanish (Cenoz, 2012). 

2.5 Summary 

Because of innovative legal conditions and the establishment of special programs in Basque 
Country, the potential for increasing learners and speakers of the language is greater than ever 
before. Bilingual education models in the BAC have increased the number of well-educated 
young students and allowed them to have a better future. The use of the Basque language has 
been officially allowed in zones in which the language has never been used before: 
elementary and secondary education, university, church, printed materials, media, and among 


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others. Currently, the Basque Autonomous Community has a very systematic ongoing 
bilingual education program (Valadez, Etxeberria, & Intxausti, 2015). 

3. Bilingual Education in Canada: The Case of French Immersion 

The social and political development of Canada has had a strong connection with its neighbor 
the United States. Since the colonial period, the French and English, and later the Americans, 
have had extremely dramatic influences on what is kn own today as Canada (Mady, 2013; 
Laborda, 1997). In Canada, according to Laborda (1997), people use English for 
English-speaking groups, national business, overseas’ visitors, and communicating with 
foreigners. However, French is commonly used in Quebec, in everyday informal situations, 
and in community relations. Therefore, bilingualism was necessary in particular regions in 
Canada. To provide an international perspective on bilingual education, the purpose of this 
section is to analyze and describe the prevalence of bilingual education in French Canada. 

3.1 Historical Background of Bilingual Education in Canada 

As bilingualism can be seen in the European colonization of Canada, it is not a unique notion 
in Canadian politics (Mady, 2013). Distinct European groups of people, particularly English 
and French, colonized the Canadian territories (Ricento, 2013). Powerful colonies that stood 
alongside pre-existing aboriginal communities in Canada, according to Hermans-Nymark 
(2013), were constructed by England and France. In the central and the eastern parts of 
Canada, the British founded and inhabited a province on the eastern seaboard, now 
Newfoundland, while the French colonies flourished and settled provinces in what is now 
Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Quebec, and Prince Edward Island; all provinces located in the 
eastern part of Canada (Cooke, 2009). Colonial groups were geographically clustered mostly 
by cultural ethnicities (Ricento, 2013). 

Many French and English speaking colonists were found in Canada by the early 1700s (Mady, 
2014). The French colonists pursued their own legal routines, including civil law, usually 
spoke French, and practiced Catholicism. Civil Law is a body of law that can be referred to in 
each individual circumstance and was passed by parliament (Ricento, 2013). It is found in 
continental Europe and among is the oldest and most commonly surviving legal systems in 
the world. On the other hand, based on the common-law tradition, the British colonists 
followed a different legal system and generally spoke English and practiced Protestantism. 
The British Common Law system is one in which the law continually develops via judicial 
decisions in addition to being amended by laws passed by the legislature (CROP, 2006). In 
short, there were obvious differences between these two ethnicities in Canada. 

During the early 18 th century, the British strengthened their power over the Canadian 
provinces. Thanks to a series of European wars (z'.e., the Seven Years’ War and Queen Anne’s 
War), the British acquired many French colonies from eastern Canada in Quebec and the 
Maritimes (Roy, 2008). These new provinces were linguistically and culturally 
French-dominated while being politically dominated by the British; however, those who lived 
in these new provinces primarily spoke French and French religious and legal practices 
generally characterized their populations (Mady, 2012). 


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Because of the history of colonialism, the federal government has followed a policy for 
language mainly based on a common bilingual community vision, described by the 
advancement of both French and English in all Canadian provinces (Government of Canada, 
2003). Thus, the duality of linguistics is an essential aspect of the Canadian heritage. The 
language politics in Canada especially in Quebec, which is the core region of French Canada, 
are fierce (Mady, 2013; Ricento, 2013). In fact, developing a common bilingual community 
was not a main purpose of French-speaking Canada; instead, two different linguistic 
populations were envisioned, one centered in Quebec and the other inhabiting the rest of 

These visions of the two populations have been mirrored frequently in the language policy of 
Quebec’s Government (Government of Canada, 2003). The population of French-speaking 
Canada wanted French to be respected across the country, and they appreciated the work that 
the Canadian Government in Quebec was making to ensure the survival of the French culture 
and language all over Canada (Roy & Galiev, 2011). The local governments of Quebec have 
followed language-related strategies to develop the French language as opposed to English 
since the 1930s. These strategies have been aimed at establishing Quebec as the center of the 
French language and community in Canada. Thus, the government in Quebec has promoted 
the development of a uniquely French community within the region (Ricento, 2013). Quebec 
had attempted several referenda to establish independence and sovereigntyand separateness 
from English-speaking Canada; the two attempts failed because of political unrest (Mady, 

In 2000, the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA), a worldwide study in 
member and non-member nations of school children’s scholastic performance, affirmed that 
French Immersion in the Canadian School System followed a model of bilingual education 
utilized around the world, and was one of the most well-funded programs in the world. 
Parisot and R in fret (2012) noted that French immersion began in Quebec in the 1960s due to 
political and parental pressures, and French immersion grew and bilingualism increased by 
approximately 25% among young and adult Canadians aged 18-29. In Quebec, the first 
French immersion course began in 1965, and the program reached out to each of the nine 
other provinces. From then on, French immersion in all provinces in Canada has become 
available (Roy, 2008). All provinces in Canada offer voluntary programs for children who 
cannot speak French, so they are taught in French to encourage bilingualism. 

Both French and English are the official languages throughout most Canadian provinces, 
although many parts of the country are not officially bilingual (Laborda, 1997). The English 
language is used for outsiders, national business, in discussions and dialogues with foreign 
visitors, and within the English-speaking community in Canada. In Quebec, however, French 
is used in all aspects of social life and in politics. Laborda (1997) stated, “French is widely 
used in the provincial government, in community relations, in everyday informal 
situations—such as jeux d’esprit (Riddles and Jokes) and laughing” (p. 1046). In the large 
cities, particularly in Quebec’s largest city, Montreal, and among the educated classes, 
bilingualism is essential, but all other French-speaking provinces mostly use French. 


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3.2 Challenges Facing Canada s Bilingual Model 

In the 1960s, parents were not satisfied with their children’s education in language because 
Anglophone students (a Canadian citizen whose first language was English) used the old 
fashioned audio-lingual method that was not aiding or improving their communicative 
abilities in the French language (Alberta Department of Education, 1992; Laborda, 1997); 
therefore, a new program was designed. Laborda said that the new program, French 
Immersion, was created. 

To insist on the students understanding and appreciation of French Canadians without 
detracting from English Canadian culture; to provide the participating children with 
functional competence in both written and spoken French; to ensure achievement in 
academic subjects to commensurate with students’ academic ability and grade level; and 
to promote and maintain normal levels of English language development (Laborda, 1997, 
p. 1047). 

The new model mentioned covered both the second language and language learning 
curriculum needs for all students. In view of the new program, teaching methods changed 
significantly (CCL, 2007). Students obtained a vital amount of language information they 
could understand, and this was used to teach them a new language in the Canadian Gradual 
Immersion Program. Students were not pushed to learn and speak very soon, but rather in the 
natural stage of their individual development. In answering questions, students have been 
permitted to speak their mother tongue, particularly in the first stages, called early total 
immersion. All language skills comprising writing, reading, speaking, and listening skills are 
considered (Lambert & Tucker, 1976). Activity begins with reading, and second grade 
students can read materials written in the French language. Gradually, English takes over as 
the language used for the most vital parts of instruction. 

The Canadian Council on Learning (CCL) (2007) asserted that French immersion is a 
successful program; however, present French-immersion participation rates of 10% show that 
education via French immersion to enhance substantial French-English bilingualism among 
Canadians is not adequately extensive. Statistically, CCL also asserts that French immersion 
experienced a rapid increase during the 1980s and then was stagnant during the 1990s. 
Because less than 10% of French-immersion’s eligible students registered in programs 
nationwide in 2006, the decision was made to increase French immersion over the next six 
years (CCL, 2007). 

3.3 French Immersion Programs 

Currently, in all ten Canadian provinces, French Immersion programs are available. Initially, 
classes for French Immersion in Quebec opened in 1965, and they extended to the other nine 
provinces in Canada. The Canadian government provides these programs for non-native 
children in French, and participation is voluntary. To encourage bilingualism, the children are 
taught in French (Parisot & Rinfret, 2012). The major aim of these programs is to develop 
bilingualism in Canada (PISA, 2000). French Immersion also assists in the development of 
the appreciation and extension of the French culture. Because no differences exist in the 


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curriculum, students will learn the same curricular content even if they are not registered in 
the French Immersion program. The only distinction is the language of instruction, and this 
distinction was intended to provide many affirmative results for students (McEachern, 2002). 

3.4 Types of Immersion Programs 

French immersion programs in the Canadian bilingual education system are divided into three 
models: Early French Immersion, Middle French Immersion, and Late French Immersion 
(McEachern, 2002). 

3.4.1 Early French Immersion 

Within these three models, Early French Immersion is generally considered to be the most 
efficient model because specialists who can speak both French and English teach the courses, 
and all instructions are in French except for English Language Arts at the elementary level 
(beginning in Grade 3) (Peirce& And, 1993; Cummins, 1982; Taylor, 1992). The program 
starts no later than Grade 1 and continues to Grade 12 and is characterized by full French 
instruction from the start of school through Grade 2. French instruction, with the introduction 
of English language arts (in Grade 3), drops to about 80% and then continues a slow but 
steady decline till the end of high school (PISA, 2000). Immersion teachers in the primary 
grades have been shown to utilize teaching techniques such as teaching in both languages, 
that make the acquisition of a language easier and the retention of a second language much 
more effective than bilingual teachers in higher grades (Taylor, 1992). The registration 
decision of the early immersion program is mostly made by the parents and therefore reflects 
the personal goals of parents for their children. 

3.4.2 Middle French Immersion 

Middle French Immersion starts with a level of 80% French instruction at Grade 3, with the 
remaining 20% of instruction in the English language (Peirce& And, 1993). This immersion 
is a mix of Early and Late Immersion program. Students in a middle immersion program tend 
to outperfonn students in late immersion program. Testing regularly indicates this to be the 
case for the spontaneous and oral fluency of using language (Dicks, 1995; Peirce & And, 
1993). Therefore, students in this program can be eligible in the early immersion program for 
writing and reading skills and more analytical language testing. Thus, the effectiveness of this 
program has been reported to be somewhere between Early and Late French programs (PISA, 
2000 ). 

3.4.3 Late French Immersion 

Late French Immersion programs start at Grade 7 and continue to Grade 12 (Cummins, n.d., 
1982). Instruction in core subjects such as social studies, science, and math are delivered 
completely in French apart from English and language arts. On the other hand, due to the 
assortment of course options taught in English, “the amount of French instruction tends to 
decrease in the higher grades” (PISA, 2000, p. 34). 


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3.5 Support for Immersion Programs 

French immersion programs receive a great deal of support because they promote 
bilingualism in the country. Bilingualism has been found to have positive impacts on 
cognitive skills such as learning a language and does not hinder performance in either 
language (Genessee & Gandara, 1999; Cummins, 1982). French Immersion program students, 
particularly early immersion participants, achieve levels of written and oral comprehension 
very much like those of native French speakers. French immersion students are perfectly 
capable of participating in a program at a French university, in a French community, or even 
work in a French workplace by the end of their education (Dicks, 1995). 

Early Immersion students in the primary grades may show a bit of a lag in their English skills, 
particularly in areas of grammar, such as capitalization; however, this lag quickly disappears 
by the introduction of language arts studies in Grade 3 (Taylor, 1992). According to Roy 
(2008), no noticeable differences exist in the English proficiency of students between 
non-French immersion students and French immersion students until Grade 5. Indeed, French 
immersion students continually have surpassed their counterparts on English reading 
assessments (PISA, 2000). 

3.6 Teachers ’Proficiency within French Immersion Programs 

Since the inception of language immersion programs, immersion teachers have played a key 
role in promoting bilingualism in Canada. Teacher qualification in French-immersion 
programs in most Canadian provinces is an important concern (McEachern, 2002). A lack of 
qualified teachers in Canadian provinces, where the demand for French-immersion services 
has been increasing, has meant that many districts were unable to provide space for all 
children who desired to be involved in French-immersion programs. The lack of bilingual 
educators at the secondary level, where teachers must specialize in their content area and 
their French-language abilities, has been acute (Hermans-Nymark, 2013; McEachern, 2002). 
The French teachers are usually fluent in French as their native language, and therefore not 
all the pre-service teachers follow their preparation of French program in Canada. That is 
why “for all FSL (French as a second language) teachers, a special qualification certificate in 
FSL whether teaching in core or immersion programs is a requirement” (McEachern, 2002, p. 

Ministries of Education and universities have been made more conscious of the unique 
professional development needs of French immersion teachers (Day & Shapson, 1996). They 
have been pressured to increase their support and obligation to provide professional 
development activities for immersion teachers. Courses and opportunities considered 
specifically for teaching subject matter in a second language are particularly necessary for 
immersion teachers in the Canadian bilingual education system (Sanders, 1992). 

3.7 Summary 

Most Canadians (81%) strongly support bilingual education and bilingualism and willingly 
desire to remain as a bilingual country (CROP, 2006). The rate of French-English 
bilingualism outside of Quebec (57%) that has been reported is not high enough for students 


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to learn both languages; therefore, the rate of French-English bilingualism outside of Quebec, 
according to parents, should be higher (CROP, 2006). Most Canadians (86%), according to 
the Centre for Research and Information on Canada (2002), have articulated the importance 
of learning a second language for their children. Likewise, 66% of Canadians (aged 11-29) 
believe that high-school graduates should know both French and English for their future 

With more potential learners and speakers than ever before, the innovative legal approach to 
education in Canada has helped develop bilingualism (Roy & Galiev, 2011; Cummins, 2001). 
Currently, many of new generation speak both in English and French, are well educated, and 
completely literate in Canada. A growing new wave of printed materials in French and 
English has helped according to Roy and Galiev (2011). The use of French bilingually in 
church, in printed materials, and in elementary and secondary educational environments has 
increased continuously. The existence of the French language and culture has now been 
ensured at least well into the 21 st century, and French is being used in zones in which it has 
never been used in before, such as school or university positions, audiovisual materials, 
administration, and computer software (Cummins, 2000). This indicates the pervasiveness of 
bilingualism in the academy and public in Canada. 

4. Discussion and Conclusion 

A comparison of the situation of minority languages in Turkey with Canada and Spain offers 
many lessons. Currently, in Turkey, there is not any educational model to handle the 
non-Turkish languages. The structures of bilingual education programs in Spain and Canada 
used in education for minority groups can be debated in consideration of their historical and 
political contexts. The purpose of this discussion is to establish the benefits and shortcomings 
of these bilingual education programs and the suitability of their models for minority groups 
living in Turkey. To provide an efficient education system, the differing needs of various 
areas should be considered. This can be demonstrated in examples drawn from Canada’s 
consideration of the French language and Spain’s consideration of the Basque language. 

Implementing a bilingual program following either the Spanish and Canadian models could 
enable learners to develop better attitudes towards schools in Turkey. Adapting a bilingual 
program could influence positively the accomplishment of students and help them gain 
self-confidence (Cummins, 2003). Moreover, students who have an efficient and expanding 
education are better able to engage in intercultural communication, which, in turn, may 
increase peace within the Turkish society (Aydin, & Ozfidan, 2014; Ozfidan, Burlbaw, & Kuo, 
2016). That is in no small measure because they can have meaningful dialogues with other 
people of diverse cultures who speak different languages (Cummins, 1991). Such 
effectiveness can be seen in both the Canadian French and Spanish Basque bilingual 
education examples. Therefore, the successful aspects of these bilingual education programs 
should be considered for minority groups who cannot speak the Turkish language in Turkey. 

For the education of minority students, a bilingual educational model in Turkey should be 
improved. Crucial work parallel to this development should consider the implementation of 
educational measures such as the being currently employed by Spain and Canada’s bilingual 


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education programs. Because of changing conditions and needs, experts should revise the 
Turkish education system while considering the bilingual aspects. 

However, to overcome these problems, Turkey should choose the best from the Spanish and 
Canadian models, while developing and improving their own model. During the development 
of this model, the needs of students, parents, and teachers, as seen in Spain and Canada, 
should be considered. When creating policies in Turkey, challenges such as the lack of 
proficiency in teaching, funding, the use of a standard variety of the language, the 
development of teaching materials and appropriate teaching methods such as occurs in the 
Canadian and Spanish models should be emulated so as not encounter the problems Turkish 
education has faced before. For the development of a Turkish model of bilingual education, 
exploring the effective bilingual programs of these two countries would provide inspiration. 

To implement an educational system incorporating the best of the Canadian and Spanish 
models, fundamental work should be perfonned. Examining the Basque Country’s efficient 
bilingual models and the Canadian French immersion programs in Canada could provide 
guidance for the development of bilingual education programs in Turkey. For instance, the 
Basque bilingual education and Canadian French immersion program both have three 
different models. These models are options for parents, and they can choose an appropriate 
model for their children. For example, in Basque bilingual education program, students, in 
model A, learn in Spanish only. In model B, students learn in Basque only. In model D, 
students learn in both Basque and Spanish. 

The Turkish government should also consider a model such as Spain and Canada currently 
use. The Turkish government can also establish three different models (1, 2, 3) as Spain and 
Canada have done. In Model 1, the minority language would be taught for three to five hours 
a week as a second language, and almost all subjects would be taught in Turkish. Model 2 
would be optimal for both Turkish and minority speakers who want to be bilingual in both 
languages. This model’s purpose would be to help students acquire fluency in both languages. 
In Model 3, the minority language would be the primary language of instruction for four to 
five hours a week, and Turkish would be taught as a subject. 

Bilingual education in both Spain and Canada indicated that teaching in both Spanish and 
French is undoubtedly related to human rights. Speaking a mother tongue in educational, 
social, and governmental environments is considered a human right (UNESCO, 2003; May, 
2005). One important problem to solve with respect to the language issue of minority groups 
is educational rights (Ozfidan, Machtmes, & Demir, 2014). In doing so, the Turkish 
government should consider bilingual education programs such as Basque bilingual education 
in Spain and French Immersion program in Canada. For a potential bilingual education 
program in Turkey, the government should consider the needs and demands of minority 
groups in Turkey. The government should also consider protecting and developing the mother 
tongue because being bilingual offers many benefits, such as preserving cultural and ethnic 
identity, linguistic knowledge, and helping to socialize people to participate in the community. 
In spite of governmental concern about the development of separatist mentality if minority 
languages are recognized and widely taught and accepted language, similar concerns in 


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