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ERIC Number: ED443124
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2000-Apr
Pages: 14
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
The Imperative of Language Education in Composition Classrooms.
Thomas, Lee
One story that needs to be told in composition classes K-16 is the story of language--the "composition" class or the English class might be the only setting for most students to learn the broader picture of how language is used throughout the world in real life. To become proficient writers/speakers, students must comprehend the complex ways language is used in society: dialects, registers, global varieties of major languages, attitudes about language use, and both first language and second or multiple language acquisition. In the United States (U.S.), schools have maintained myths about language, despite strong position statements over the past 40 years acknowledging the country's linguistic diversity by most major professional language organizations. Myths perpetuate the ideas that: there is a "best" language, a "right" grammar; "language does not change"; and the U.S. is a monolingual English-speaking nation. This last myth often leads to ideas about languages other than English, especially the idea that all students should abandon other languages and non-standard dialects as they walk through the school door. Yet second language acquisition research has soundly demonstrated that if an instructional goal is reading/writing in English, nonnative speakers of English will achieve this most effectively through learning to read and write in their home language which will then transfer to English. What needs to be told is that being bilingual and/or bidialectal is an attribute, not something of which to be ashamed. One educator discusses in class what language is and is not and then explores not only English use in the US but the implications of English as a World Language or a Language of Wider Communication. (Contains 15 references.) (NKA)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A