Language and Identity in Education essay

If they re lucky, they’ll have teachers who have a deep interest in their well- Ewing, who will cherish the student’s different cultural backgrounds while providing them with opportunities for success in their lives after school. On the contrary, they could feel the helplessness that comes with normalization and be left unable to rise above the oppression. The American Education system needs to improve to better help these nontraditional students succeed while promoting cultural diversity.

When teachers focus solely on teaching Standard English, they ignore the varied backgrounds of their students. While knowing Standard English facilitates what it takes to succeed, nontraditional students may need extra elf in understanding and producing it. For instance, children whose first language is Spanish may have trouble pronouncing or spelling words that start with Is-I. They would unintentionally add an /e-/ to the front of the word, as that is how Spanish works (Bough 1999:23). Furthermore, students’ cultural background could be ignored by how lessons are taught.

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As an example, Patricia Bequeathed-L©fez tells of the difference between a catechism class taught in Standard English and a doctrinal class taught in Spanish. While they are basically the same idea, the doctrinal class teaches souses on the vision of Our Lady of Guadalupe and reinforces ideas that help to generate a collective identity for the Mexican students (Bequeathed-Lopez 2009364). On the other hand, in the catechism class learns about the variety of apparitions of the Virgin Mary, instead of just a single instance and one ethnicity (Bequeathed-Lopez 2009:374).

The two classes provide different meanings to the visions. While it may not necessarily harm the Mexican to learn about the other instances, they may miss out on a big part of their cue Trial heritage (Bequeathed-Lopez 2009:375). Another possibility of focusing o much on Standard English is subtractive bilingualism, which affects more disadvantaged youth than it does other youth. This phenomenon of losing one’s first language impacts a person’s cultural identity by not being able to communicate with relatives who do not speak the child’s other language.

It can also have negative influence on a child’s self-esteem. Often these children are stuck between the two languages as they haven’t mastered the academic language yet nor have they continued to develop their family’s language (Lightning and Spade 2013:32-33). Racism in the classroom presents another roadblock for these children. Many African Americans have reported that their most memorable racist experiences were with teachers and the police.

This is especially exacerbating since when parents have had problems gaining and education for themselves their skepticism for their children’s educational prospects can hinder the relationship between the schools and them. Furthermore, it is difficult for these students to find teachers who are not white (Bough 1999:21). While linguists and anthropologists have tried to confront linguistic racism, phrases such as “official English” and arguments about the moral panic regarding “Ebonies” permeate textbooks.

So even though the experts on language are trying to convince people that all languages and dialects are equal, the education industry hasn’t seemed to completely catch on (Hill 2009481 When speakers of Black English and speakers of other minority languages have their language seen as inferior, it can severely affect the kind of education they receive. There have been many court cases regarding educators’ and linguists’ approaches to dealing with the conflicts between the teaching of or in Black English. One of the most prominent cases is the Martin Luther King Junior Elementary School vs..

Ann Arbor School District case. The elementary school claimed that the officials had put African America students in special education and speech classes and held them at lower grade levels because of their differences, language, culture, and class. Linguists purported to the court that Black English has its own distinct set of linguistic rules, includes many features of the Southern dialect, shows derivation from an earlier Creole, and has a “highly developed aspect system, quite different from other dialects of English. Because of these points, the judge ruled that teachers need to recognize Black English as language and to use the knowledge of it to help teach reading skills in Standard English. However, the media and politicians were highly outspoken about this ruling. The truth of the case got diluted and reduced so much that even though it might have genuinely helped the students, it was treated with much suspicion from the African-American community (Morgan 2009:76). Linguists have proposed many solutions to how to better education for these non-traditional students.

One such solution is to better train and pay teachers. Many teachers do not have enough training on how to work with students from various backgrounds (Bough 199924). Also, it can be difficult for teachers to devote the necessary extra time to help these students and their families. There is currently not much incentive for teachers to put in the overtime for this purpose as they are usually not paid overtime (Bough 1999:22). As a country, we spend more on prisons than we do on schools (Bough 199927). Few spent more money on schools instead, we could better pay our teachers, reduce class sizes, and provide the necessary tools and training teachers need to better educate all students. Linguists have suggested extensive educational reform “of bilingual education to reinforce the preservation of languages other than English. ” Many schools have instituted two way bilingual education programs where students who are native speakers of English go to class with non-native speakers and these students help each other learn the others language (Bough 199929).

These dual-immersion programs help to prevent subtractive bilingualism as well as promote intercultural communication. These programs usually start in kindergarten and the instruction is given half in English by a native English speaker and half in another language by a native speaker of that language, which is usually Spanish. The teachers coordinate with one another to guarantee that the lessons in the two languages are complementary and not redundant. These programs have shown great results for both groups of students (Lightning & Spade 2013:174-175).

However, because of the continued devaluing of education and other languages, as was mentioned before, without the funds, these programs cannot be started or utilized (Bough 1999:29). John Bough also came up with some games to help students Of all backgrounds learn Standard English grammar. The games, called Lyric Shuffle games, were created with Black English speaking students in mind. The game allows for students, with the help of their teacher, to choose songs to listen to, transcribe, and then use the words to learn vocabulary and grammar.

As many African-American artists use Standard English grammar in their lyrics, it’s a fun and innovative way to teach them about grammar without the stigma of it being too “white” (Bough 1999:34-35). These games help to lower what second language acquisition expert Dry. Crasher would call the affective filter. When the filter is raised, students’ feelings for what they’re learning can get in the way of them learning effectively. When it is lowered, however, dents can easily acquire what is being taught, because there is no emotional baggage closing their minds off to what is trying to be imparted.

Since this game utilizes something that is a major part of their culture, music, it lowers their affective filters and allows for them to accept Standard English without the stigma or the feeling of risk of losing their social identities (Bough 199934). Identities change throughout time, but childhood is the time when the foundations of our identities are built. It is of the utmost importance that parents and educators work together to ensure that these foundations are lilt firm and able to succeed after their tenure as students is complete.