One of the most significant steps in any person’s life is getting own education. In order to provide each person with proper education, it is very important to any teacher to choose the best educative models and methods and help students to enlarge own level of knowledge and practical and communicative skills.
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Teacher training programs are considered to be a good start for understanding that linguistics and its diversity are important issues to discuss.
The book Relevant Linguistics: An Introduction to the Structure and Use of English for Teachers is a good source of information that provides teachers with strong background linguistic knowledge and with an opportunity to train their professional skills in order to cope with any linguistic situation that may happen during classes.
The ways of how descriptivism and prescriptivism are applied to English reading and writing, the dialects of English, which are inherent to the chosen community, and the examples of dominants dialects will be discussed in this paper.
For many reading and writing teachers, the value of learning linguistics is regarded to be considerable, because this course not only presents necessary information about language but also gives a kind of insight into one of the most significant aspects of human behavior.
The ideas of descriptivism and prescriptivism turn out to be crucial for those, who teach reading and writing English: some teachers still believe that it is important to prescribe how to speak English, and some teachers use another technology, describing how to speak English.
Many people find it very difficult to study grammar as it is a set of strict rules, which have to be followed any way by those, who want to speak correctly (Justice, 2004).
For a long period of time, educators use the prescribing approach in order to study their students what rules have to be followed, what it means to speak correctly, and why numerous exercises and practices should be used.
In fact, teachers do not want to concentrate on describing how it is to speak correctly, because they assure that following the already established rules is the only activity that has to be used.
This prescriptive approach proves that the value of reading and wiring English is closely connected to past studies and has certain grounds, which cannot be removed or neglected.
Another important issue that may raise the value of learning linguistics among reading and writing teachers is the presence of numerous dialects within one community.
English Language Learners (ELL) face too many challenges while reading and writing; the variety of dialects disturb students, and teachers have to be ready to support their students and improve the situations to teach and correct mistakes, which are made because of lack of practice and knowledge.
It may happen that certain ELL speak different dialects in one classroom; in my classroom, the dialects of British English and American English are the dominant ones, and it becomes very difficult to explain the students that both of their languages are correct, and it is not so important to discover the priority of their languages but to be able to think and speak properly.
English in the United States is considerably different from British English: various pronunciation, tones, colloquialisms, and spelling. These differences create certain challenges for tutors, who teach reading. One of the possible examples of the challenges with the dominant dialect may be observed at reading classes.
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It is necessary to choose one standard for proper reading, the people, who speak these two dialects, cannot comprehend why one way of speaking and reading is appropriate and another is not.
Teaching reading and speaking is not an easy assignment for teachers, whose students prefer different dialects. Such situations help to comprehend the value of linguistics and the effectiveness of prescribing approach.
When students have one standard to follow, this provides teachers with an opportunity to use one criterion for evaluation of students’ skills. In the United States, American students, who speak American English from their birth, and the students, who have been speaking British English and now have to adapt to a new dialect, cannot achieve the same results.
This is why one of the most important teachers’ purposes is to create an atmosphere in order to support each student and not to show the priority of another.
After reading a book by Paul Justice about learning linguistics and challenges, teachers may face with, the concept of value of this course becomes more or less clear. For many reading and writing teachers, the value of learning linguistics has to be put on the first place.
The variety of dialects within one community, different levels of background knowledge and students’ attitude to the studying process require proper choice of educative programs and clear establishment of criteria.
Students have to have a chance to study linguistics on a proper level, and teachers should care about successful methods and models of teaching, which will never decrease the value of reading and writing.
Justice, P. W. (2004) Relevant Linguistics: An Introduction to the Structure and Use of English for Teachers. Stanford, California: Center for the Study of Language and Information.