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ERIC Number: EJ867875
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009-Jun
Pages: 5
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 15
ISBN: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0039-8322
What Can TESOL Do in Order Not to Participate in Crimes against Humanity?
Skutnabb-Kangas, Tove
TESOL Quarterly: A Journal for Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages and of Standard English as a Second Dialect, v43 n2 p340-344 Jun 2009
Subtractive education through the medium of a dominant language often transfers Indigenous and minority (IM) children to the dominant group linguistically and culturally within one or two generations. It may lead to the extinction of Indigenous languages, thus contributing to the disappearance of the world's linguistic diversity. A partial result of this extinction can be the disappearance of the knowledge about biodiversity and its maintenance and, through this, diminishing prerequisites for human life on earth. Linguistic diversity and biodiversity are correlationally and causally related. Most of the world's megabiodiversity is in areas under the management or guardianship of Indigenous peoples. Most of the world's linguistic diversity resides in the small languages of Indigenous peoples. Much of the detailed knowledge of how to maintain biodiversity is encoded in their languages. Through killing them people kill the prerequisites for maintaining biodiversity. If people continue as now, most of the world's Indigenous languages will be gone by 2100. When states, including the United States, refuse to grant Indigenous peoples and (both "national" and immigrated) minorities an unconditional right to the most decisive linguistic human right in education, the right to be educated mainly in one's own language in a non-fee state school, they are seriously harming both the children concerned and the planet. What can TESOL do in order not to participate in crimes against humanity? In this article, the author suggests that both Indigenous and minority education could be organized so as to promote high levels of multilingualism. This would give better results in terms of school achievement, learning of the dominant language, and issues around identity. In addition, not even the initial short-term costs would be more than a few percent higher, and in the long term, mainly mother-tongue medium education would lead to considerable savings, including eliminating much of the "illiteracy" of tens of millions of children, and today's educational wastage.
Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages, Inc. 700 South Washington Street Suite 200, Alexandria, VA 22314. Tel: 888-547-3369; Tel: 703-836-0774; Fax: 703-836-7864; Fax: 703-836-6447; e-mail: info@tesol.org; Web site: http://www.tesol.org
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A