Teaching Multicultured Students: Culturism and Anti-Culturism in School Classrooms

By Alex Moore | Go to book overview

Notes
1
This argument is implicit in the second argument, since the best way to ensure appropriate cognitive levels with Stage 1 bilingual students is to facilitate such development through a language in which they are already fluent.
2
By this, I mean both formal, academic language and the less formal language used by students with one another as they share work and ideas.
3
We can, for instance, take a sentence like ‘The cat sat on the mat’ and discuss it, teach it or learn it in terms of its internal grammatical and lexical relations. The sentence itself—or variations of it—may subsequently be used in a variety of situations as appropriate. The trouble is, not many potentially useful sentences lend themselves quite so readily to this kind of decontextualization.
4
See also Perozzi et al. (1992) who, with reference to the learning of L2 grammatical features, argue for the benefits of initial instruction in this area through students’ L1.
5
There is a different notion of context here; however, the real issue is how this squares with Cummins’ language-in-context model.
6
For a fuller account of the differences between BICS and CALP, see Cummins 1984, pp.136-8.
7
Such a view ignores, for instance, other possible reasons—social and cultural—for schools and students wanting to continue to develop a first language. It is for this reason that SUP theory may be firmly situated within the broader integrationist discourse which focuses exclusively on how best to acquire L2 and C2 (‘second-culture’) expertise for the benefit of the wider (intransigent) society, rather than on personal development, happiness or empowerment.
8
This broad oversimplification of the BICS/CALP hypothesis can lead to a number of specific misunderstandings, of which the following are chief:
(a) BICS and CALP are perceived as always separate—with the corollaries that language is sometimes social and sometimes not, and that everyday language plays no great part in concept development.
(b) The terms BICS and CALP are used to describe language varieties rather than thought-language relationships.
(c) BICS is seen as somehow ‘easier’ in developmental terms (implied in the word ‘basic’): a view which can lead to inappropriate assessments of bilingual students’ development and to their marginalization as cognitively deficient when in fact there may be critical socio-cultural factors to explain apparent lack of cognitive-linguistic development, locating the problem within school practice rather than within the individual student or their cultural background. Furthermore—and not unrelated to this—such an interpretation too easily implies support for the notion of the intrinsic superiority of standard English—a notion which finds one of its most persuasive contradictions in the work of William Labov. Labov (1972) has demonstrated that the ‘non-standard’ English used in everyday social communication (we might say, the BICS) among black working-class American youngsters is as complex and rule-governed (that is, as ‘difficult’) as standard English, which comes closest to the academic English demanded in formal learning situations. Labov argues that it is not that their vernacular is inadequate or inferior that leads these youngsters to perform badly in school: rather, it is that they have not acquired sufficient expertise in those alternative speech styles and genres that are shaped and demanded by the etiquette and interests of the dominant social classes. In other words, their learning is effectively excluded from the conferment of success because of the terminology in which it is couched and presented. (See also Kress 1982 on linguistic ‘etiquette’, Bourdieu and

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Teaching Multicultured Students: Culturism and Anti-Culturism in School Classrooms
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Figures vii
  • Acknowledgements ix
  • Series Editor’s Preface xi
  • 1 - Themes and Perspectives 1
  • 2 - Marginalizing Bilingual Students 16
  • 3 - Bilingual Education Theory 43
  • Notes 59
  • 4 - Symbolic Exclusion 62
  • 5 - Partial Inclusion 82
  • 6 - Partial Inclusion 101
  • 7 - Working with Bidialectal Students 126
  • 8 - Exercises in Illumination 153
  • 9 - Afterword 175
  • References 186
  • Index 196
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