ERIC Number: ED175030
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1979-Apr
Reference Count: 0
"My Excuse-me Tongue" or a Chicana in the English Classroom.
Cantu, Norma E.
To spur English teachers to change their attitudes and methods in dealing with nonnative English speaking students, this autobiographical account by a Chicana woman describes how English teachers caused her to feel insecurity, frustration, and embarrassment about her use of language. Among the problems the author describes are her suffering at being forbidden to use Spanish, and at being punished when she did so, in elementary school; her shame at being ridiculed by a junior high school English teacher because she and the other Mexican-American students had never heard of Tom Sawyer; her pain in high school at having her oral reports frequently interrupted with pronunciation corrections; her shame in a college public speaking course at having her "poor" English pronunciation corrected in a cruel and humiliating manner; and her continuing apprehension about public speaking. She also describes current episodes showing that similar problems continue to exist for students. The author argues that English instruction creates a negative attitude toward English and that English teachers are responsible for the high dropout rate among Chicanos and Chicanas, and she concludes by urging English teachers to treat students and their native languages with respect while reinforcing the acquisition of English language skills. (GT)
Descriptors: Bilingual Students, Dropout Prevention, Educational Problems, Elementary Secondary Education, English Instruction, English (Second Language), Higher Education, Language Usage, Mexican Americans, Negative Attitudes, Public Speaking, Self Concept, Spanish Speaking, Student Problems, Student Teacher Relationship, Teacher Attitudes
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Conference on College Composition and Communication (30th, Minneapolis, Minnesota, April 5-7, 1979)