Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

From the Archive - 23.11.1973: News

Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

From the Archive - 23.11.1973: News

Article excerpt

BBC English 'bar to learning'

Schools are so geared to BBC English that working-class children find language a major stumbling block to learning, Dr Harold Rosen of the University of London's Institute of Education said this week.

Speaking at a conference on language in the middle years of secondary schooling, he said that the richness of working-class language had never been appreciated. Very little research had been done on it and the main aim of people who had studied it had been to find out what was wrong with it, he argued.

Schools discounted the language spoken by the majority of their pupils and were invariably geared to middle-class English, he said. A working-class child who wanted to climb the educational ladder had to learn middle-class English first.

"It is only by looking at working-class language that we can perceive the strength in it," Dr Rosen said. "And we won't find out by assuming that we are dealing with a fundamentally inferior kind of discourse.

"All kinds of things are said about the inadequacy of the language of working-class children, but very little is known about it. …

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