Profesionales de la Educación Bilingüe

D. Mark Levy



Mark is Head of English Programmes for the British Council in Spain with responsibility for the British Council’s initiatives in support of the teaching and learning of (and through) English across the country. In recent years the vast majority of this work has been focused on multilingual and bilingual education (and CLIL) and he manages the British Council’s partnership with the Spanish Ministry of Education on the national Bilingual Education Programme as well as British Council collaboration with Regional Governments. He is also involved in developing British Council schools work in Europe especially in relation to bilingual education, and represents the British Council at conferences across Europe as well as in Spain. He was previously an English teacher and a teacher educator, working with Spanish teachers of English for many years. He has lived in Spain for much, much longer than the 6 months he had originally planned for!

The Bilingual Effect: What’s happening to English in Bilingual Education

“¿Por qué países como España no consiguen que sus alumnos terminen la enseñanza obligatoria con un nivel de inglés aceptable?”

This opening question to David Marsh in a recent El País interview (20/10/2018) is evidence if needed that 23 years after the start of the first national bilingual programme in Spain in 1996 and 15 years into the Madrid bilingual programme, there are still widespread doubts of the success of these and other programmes in terms of their most basic aim: raising levels of English.

The British Council’s English Impact study of English language capability amongst students in 4º de ESO in Madrid (2017) allows comparisons to be drawn between the language profiles of students in bilingual and non-bilingual schools, between females and males and between different socio-economic groups. It also provided researchers with evidence-based insights into student motivation and language learning in bilingual and non-bilingual programmes.

In this presentation I will use data from this British Council English Impact study and other sources to look at what’s happening to levels of English and consider the claim that “¡Ni siquiera aprenden inglés!” (They don’t even learn English!).

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