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English Only and Multiculturalism Essay

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Updated: Nov 13th, 2021

In the USA, language diversity is one of the main characteristics of the national culture. Cultural diversity, or in other words – multiculturalism, is based on the idea that there should not be any ignorance or discharge of cultural identity. It should be rather valued and supported in their development and their culture and race saving. The article, “Mt Spanish Standoff” discusses the advantages of speaking one language only at home and gives reasons why the author did not want her daughter to study their native language and cultural traditions and values. Thesis Cultural knowledge and native language should be implemented on an ongoing basis inside a family, with the emphasis made on the practical side of knowledge expansion.

It should be recognized that interaction between American families and schools has a great impact on language acquisition and education achievements. As a result of familial and community upbringing, foreign-born students acquire a self-identity, perceptions of the world, and ways of communicating, thinking, and interacting within the world as they perceive it. I suppose that the cultural capital of children may or may not be congruent with the beliefs of institutional settings, such as schools, that have evolved their own sense of cultural capital. According to this account, Baker states that bilinguals’ lack of success in schools can be attributed to the discrepancy between children’s socio-cultural range and cultural capital and that expected by schools. The author of the article was afraid that her daughter would speak English with an accent and would know neither English nor Spanish well[1]. Cultural policy is a part of public policy-making that is responsible for activities that refer to the arts and culture. In general, this includes cultivating processes and legal institutions promoting cultural diversity and accessibility along with increasing the artistic, ethnic, literary expressions of each individual. The cultural policy includes a wide range of activities, starting from arranging community tennis clubs to hosting corporate-sponsored exhibitions of art, adopting legal codes, and establishing political institutions[2].

Personally, I suppose that it is an advantage for a child to speak two foreign languages. For instance, my partner’s native language is Arabic and he speaks Arabic with his children at home but outside they speak English. It is excellent that the children are speaking both Arabic and English well. In contrast to family, resources for language acquisition at schools involve peer groups and roles models, home support and classroom interaction, motivation and community programs for bilingual children. I suppose that building ties between funds of knowledge in families, communities, and schools appears promising in that it can provide bilingual students with a way to see how school learning fits into the everyday experiences of family and community members. Recent years, more attention to ways in which the everyday world of students is connected to schooling in and of itself will not ensure that students learn in classroom settings. The very nature of classroom activities needs to be reconceptualized and cast from within more effective models of teaching and learning. Subsequently, the teacher poses questions and selectively calls upon students to answer questions. Such instruction will be of benefit to students who have sufficient prior knowledge and skills, but will not benefit students who are incapable of independent learning of the materials and tasks at hand. The foregoing concern once again brings us back full circle to the need for teachers to better understand the everyday lives, families, and community of foreign and bilingual students and to make education relevant to students. The author states: “by eliminating Spanish we have also eliminated a part of their heritage”1. The reason why cultural policy is important, especially in the USA, is obvious. First of all, taking into consideration multicultural population of the country, it is understandable that a representative of any culture tries to maintain his or her identity and understand other cultures. Although history of the USA is rich in examples of suppressing minority cultures, nowadays, due to cultural policy it must be possible to promote diversity, to support minority cultural enterprises to attain economic parity in the dominant culture, to provide equal opportunities for everybody to take part in social and professional life of the country.

I personally think that parents’ culture and language is the critical component of educational success, and whether faculty members are prepared to broaden their cultural outlook and to quit their ethnocentric and culturally biased attitudes also predetermines the chances students have to achieve the best learning outcomes. The authors conclude that a well-developed educational program for faculty staff could potentially resolve the major portion of education issues at college. I suppose that educational aspect of cultural policy is of great importance, for it is supposed to give equal possibilities for representatives of each subculture to get education. Besides, teaching has to reflect the history and accomplishments of women and all the people who are representatives of different cultures that made their contributions to enrich American society. Financing for textbooks, teacher training and experimental curricula should be provided by the government.

Works Cited

Baker, C. Foundations of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism. Multilingual Matters Ltd; 3Rev Ed edition, 2001.

Kuntz, G. No Spanish Standoff. Newsweek, 1998.

Footnotes

  1. Baker, C. Foundations of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism. (Multilingual Matters Ltd; 3Rev Ed edition, 2001), 45
  2. Ibid., 55.
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