The Misteaching of Academic Discourses: The Politics of Language in the Classroom

By Lilia I. Bartolome | Go to book overview

2
Language and Ideology: The (Il) literacy of LinguisticMinority Students

Much of the work that examines linguistic-minority students' language and literacy practices in the classroom has tended to take a cultural deficit or cultural mismatch perspective. Later in this chapter, I discuss these perspectives in greater depth. I argue that rather than subscribing to models of cultural difference and incongruence, researchers should develop a more comprehensive theoretical framework that takes into account the real ideological dimensions of linguistic-minority education. As I suggested in the previous chapter, the teaching of dominant cultural and linguistic bases (such as linguistically contextualized language) is not a politically neutral undertaking. All teaching and learning take place in real classrooms that often mirror the asymmetrical power relations among members of subordinate and dominant culture groups in the greater society. Given that, it is important for educators to more fully understand how to negotiate real and potential ideological tensions, which often take the form of students' linguistic resistance in the classroom. The real goal is not to attempt to suffocate these tensions because, in most cases, they are inevitable. In fact, the attempt to suffocate ideological tensions is part of a process in which the dominant ideology falsifies reality by pretending that ideological tensions no longer exist. The important pedagogical strategy is not to do away with the tensions but to recognize that they exist and to try to understand those ideological elements that produced the tensions, so that they can be negotiated in a democratic and safe manner.

I also argue that a critical sociocultural perspective of language and literacy leads to a more comprehensive model for understanding the political and ideological dimensions of teaching academic discourses

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