Home Forums Reflection Forum Reflection 3.2 – ‘Learning/teaching cultures’

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    • #2735
      admin adminadmin

      Not sure if this goes against plurilithic approaches directly, but one educational philosophy that comes to mind regarding teaching English in the US in the “English only” policy that many (if not all?) language schools have. Students must abide by this rule when inside the classroom and are encouraged to use it around the school during their free time as well. While I understand the good intentions behind this policy, it does feel a bit like a coercive measure. Perhaps advanced speakers have no issues with this but what about the beginner level learners who need to use all their linguistic resources to express a thought? It also feels like their own languages are somehow kicked to the curb and seen as inferior and must not be used or else. I don’t feel like this is sending a positive message or creating an inclusive environment for the learner, yet we constantly hear teachers complain about the use of L1 in class. I agree that if a group of students in constantly talking about their weekend plans in their L1 during class that can be disrespectful and can disturb the class, but if they are trying to create/negotiate meaning, this should not be penalized. Does any one have experience with this policy, and what do you think of it?
      (I read an article once about an issue at a university in the US where a director had sent an email to the Chinese student population asking them to refrain from speaking Chinese in the cafeteria (!) This was after professors had complained about this to the head. I couldn’t believe it and it goes against human rights at that point, in my view. Thoughts?)

      To view past replies go to: https://changingenglishes.proboards.com/thread/18/learning-teaching-cultures

      • This topic was modified 2 years, 8 months ago by admin adminadmin.
    • #3744

      learners who use their L1 in class should not be penalized. it is helpful to both the learners and the teacher.

    • #4166

      I find it absurd if someone prohibits someone from speaking their local language in the foreign country. We must have linguistic freedom wherever we are. After all, if they (Americans or other English native speakers) come to our country, we never impose them to speak English. As a matter of fact, we communicate using their language. Linguicism must not be promoted.

    • #4356

      Constant change in policy decisions of shifting regimes paves the way for an unstable status of ESL teaching/learning in school education to a certain extent and at tertiary and higher education to a greater extent. The failure of addressing these issues at least to a satisfactory level makes the scenario here a bit ‘tricky’, but it should be streamlined and taken to a correct track !

    • #4576
      Dauda PikawiDauda Pikawi

      The prestige accorded the speakers of what is seen to look like ‘standard’ English in Nigeria is a cultural factor. There was a time if a politician does not sound to be speaking ‘educated’ English he may not win the people. Politicians may speak in lingo that only them may understand and the people may hail them for being brains.

    • #4753

      In Sri Lanka, both Standard Sri Lankan English and Standard British English are promoted in educational institutes. Most of the times, Standard Sri Lankan English as a subject is promoted at the university context, but everyone dreams to learn and be proficiency in Standard British English which is far more reaching than the possible Standard Sri Lankan English, for instances; prepare with Cambridge university exams.

    • #4761

      My school has an English only policy, and my enforcement of it in the classroom tends to increase as their levels do. Our level 1 students can barely introduce themselves in English, so they need their first language to build their English on.

      They all group up and speak their native languages outside of class, and the school rarely regulates the rule in the lobby and student lounge, which I think is fine. I think students have to make that commitment to “English only” themselves, it can’t be forced on them.

    • #5250

      I would say that even a native speaker is not sure of their knowledge.

    • #5301

      Even natives are flummoxed sometimes.

    • #5332

      At lower level I always explain grammar in L1 because there are some KEY differences between English and Hungarian (English has a strict word order, Hungarian DOES NOT have any), which result in serious grammatical mistakes.
      But at higher levels I advocate speaking giving leeway to expressing themselves (and I also advocate non-standard English).

    • #5386

      Some language school penalizes the learners just because they are L1. And, in my opinion they shouldn`t be penalized.

    • #5422

      In Nigeria, the English only policy largely influences it’s plurilithic nature as it supports teaching and learning only one (standard) form of English. However, this varies based on the institution and the functions English language perform in such institutions.

      In some private schools in Nigeria, it is prohibited to speak vernacular in the school environment. Vernacular meaning every other languages except English. This implies that English language is been used as a medium of instruction as well as been taught as a subject. On the other hand, in public schools, the use of the learner’s L1 is been encouraged both as a medium of instruction and as a means of learning English language itself.

      Also, parents often see English language as a language of prestige thereby encouraging their children to improve their proficiency in English by prohibiting them or limiting their use of other languages (including their mother tongue). However, as awareness is been created on the importance of mother tongue/ indigenous languages, this view is gradually changing.

    • #5448

      In Australia, learners find it essential to learn English for communication, for work and educational purposes. In this situation, as we have a multilingual culture there are various versions on English depending on the community in which one belongs.

    • #5487

      Translanguaging should exist in classroom, particularly if there are a number of students having the same L1. it will help learners, specifically of lower levels to better understand certain structures and language items of the English language. Learners should never be penalised if they use their idiolect in the classroom. The teaching/learning culture should always be student-oriented.

    • #5523
      Saul SantosSaul Santos

      In Mexico, I think the evaluation system in public basic education goes against the plurilitic view of English (and Spanish!). There is a universal syllabus from K-9 and the expectation that students should pass a standarized exam. Also in universities, English competence is an exit requirement, with an exam based on a standar vision of English is used (often international examinations such as TOEFL or one of Cambridge tests.
      The compulsory use of texbooks, the establishment of a very controlled syllabus that goes from kindergarten to level 9. As I see it now, the whole official policy hinders the development fo a plurilitic view of language.

    • #5596

      I agree that L1 can be very useful at lower levels. It’s up to the teacher to check that students are using it to negotiate meaning and/or to prepare tasks to be carried out in English and not to discuss their plans for the weekend.
      In Italian schools (both private and public) there’s a monolithic approach, sometimes so monolithic that American English is considered as an abnormal deviation from Standard English and must be avoided (especially when the grammar is too far from the British model). I hope that more and more teachers in the future will start considering a plurithic approach.

    • #5601

      In Vietnam, where I used to work, there is a good example of the mountain peak analogy. The parents and learners certainly favour a British or American accent because of their goal to live and work in another country. Native speaking teachers from the UK or US are thus rewarded accordingly. However, increasingly, other countries are favoured and many non-native English speakers have built successful and well-paid careers there. The level of discrimination in online teaching, particularly for Chinese companies, which I have also worked for is much higher. Some companies only accept applicants from the US because they are striving towards a particular English. In fact, companies wishing to pay their teachers less tend to focus on only recruiting teachers from less developed/ sought after countries like South Africa or the Philippines. This monolithic approach means that they could be missing out on a vast amount of highly skilled teachers. With a more plurilithic approach, the effectiveness of the teaching would be what determines employment. Qualifications should outweigh nationalities.

      • #5948

        Being a Vietnamese and I couldn’t agree more with the point you make. This, as a results, increases the gap between NESTs and non-NESTs in the ELT profession in many Expanding Circle countries.

    • #5745

      Particularly with YL, I suggest the English-speaking zone at the table (where we sit; I am an EFL tutor and teach in private houses) and the L2 (Italian)-speaking zone some way away, down the corridor. The results (in encouraging my Ss to speak English) are miraculous!

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