|Message ||More than 300 different languages are now spoken in British schools. And in England, over 20% of primary school children use English as an additional language.
This equates to over 900,000 children for whom English is not their first language. These children might have been born in another country, their parents might speak another language to them at home, or they might just know a few words of another language because their grandparents immigrated to England a long time ago. But just like any other pupil, they attend schools across the country, speak (or learn to speak) in English and participate in the national curriculum. Yet the fact these children also bring with them a rich understanding of another language and culture can often go unnoticed.
In the 2011 British Census, for example, 4.2m people reported having a main language other than English. And just over half of all Europeans claim to speak at least one other language in addition to their mother tongue.
Research shows that some children never have the opportunity to use their home language at school. And in some cases, their teachers might not even know they speak another language.
In the absence of school or community support, these children can sometimes end up losing their home languages. This is something that may be particularly true in highly monolingual areas which experience less immigration.
I think the problem is that, as the UK has become more and more diverse, the curriculum has become more and more restricted. Young teachers (and that's most of them) don't often have the opportunity or the courage to step away from the set learning and try something different. No fault of theirs - the fault lies in our deeply flawed system. Try learning a new language. It will open up a different culture and new ways of seeing the world to you, more fun, and more friends. I recently went to a meeting were four languages were spoken, and none of us spoke them all. But we managed, and we achieved results that could not have been achieved had we each spoken only our native language. Many workplaces function very well on more than one language. :) Don't succumb to nativist fear!
A primary school teacher asking her pupils in the classroom: What do you call a person who speaks 3 languages? Trilingual! what do you call the person who speaks 2 languages? Bilingual. And what do you call a person who speaks only one language? British!
Why bother learning another language when English is the world's language..?? Do you really think English is the world's language? It's only third in the list of the world's most spoken languages
English people couldn't learn other languages so they forced everyone to speak their language; and now confronted with their own disability with all these immigrants with multilingual tongues they lash out at the immigrants because of jealousy - the cold reality of their own linguistic shortcomings is harsh. People are speaking 10 languages and you can barely speak one. I can see why they would resent and hate immigrants. The superiority is right in your face.
Multi-Culturalism is even more important and crucial after 9/11, 7/7 and terrorist attacks in various European countries. Muslim youths are also likely to feel alienated by a focus on shared Britishness, rather than multicultural diversity. Rather than promoting a single British “us” teaching should acknowledge that “us” can be diverse and plural. Children should be encouraged to explore differences in appearance, history and religion to reduce social and educational fears. The pressures of multi-Culturalism, racism, bullying and Islamophobia have forced the Muslim community to set up their own schools. Does the media label the troubles in Northern Ireland as Catholic terrorism, or Protestant terrorist, or Christian terrorism? No. There is bias and hate pointed right at Islam. As for race, why did white youths attack a Sikh thinking he was a Muslim? Answer skin colour. People see someone with brown skin and a scarf or foreign clothing and automatically assume they are Muslims.
English is not a peace building language for the Muslim children in British schooling. Majority of English speaking Muslim youths are extremists, find themselves cut off from their cultural heritage and are unable to enjoy the beauty of their literature and poetry. One can find English speaking Muslim youths in Syria and Iraq, in prison and in the mental hospital. Thanks to English language. English is the economic language of the Muslims while Arabic , Urdu and other community languages are the social and emotional languages of the Muslim community.
Bilingualism has positive effects on children’s linguistic and educational development. The level of development of children’s mother tongue is a strong predictor of their second language development. Mother tongue promotion in the school helps develop not only the mother tongue but also children abilities in the majority school language. Spending instructional time through minority language in the school does not hurt children’s academic development in the majority school language. When parent’s culture are recognized by the school, their interest and involvement in the curriculum often increase dramatically.
Speaking English does not promote integration into British, American and Australian societies, and broaden opportunities. English speaking Muslim youths are angry, frustrated and extremist, thanks to state schools with monolingual non-Muslim teachers and English language. English language is not only a lingua franca but also lingua frankensteinia. Human right are also covers linguistic right. Cultural and linguistic genocide are very common. British schooling is murdering community languages like Arabic, Urdu and others. English is today the world killer language. Linguistic genocide is a crime against humanity and British schooling is guilty of committing this crime. Language is not just a language. It defines one's culture, identity and consciousness. It defines how we think, communicate and express ourselves. The fact is the most South Asian Muslims have come to know Islam by way of Urdu, the children's alienation from the language that connects them the heritage of their parents and grand parents is disturbing. As a matter of fact, one has to get to know his mother tongue well if one is to master any other language.
The sound knowledge of one's owns language would appear to help – not hinder the acquisition of a second language and bilingual children may even have cognitive advantages and that the ability to speak more than one language is going to be increasingly important for the world of the future. Therefore, Muslim children and young Muslims have potentially a major educational advantage, although sadly this is not being developed well at present. British policy makers now recognise bilingualism as an educational asset rather than a problem. Education plays a central role in the transmission of languages from one generation to the next. The teaching of mother tongues is essential in terms of culture and identity. Arabic is a religious language for the Muslims but for Pakistanis, Urdu is also essential for culture and identity. Blind Muslim children in Bradford are learning to read Arabic and Urdu Braille, by a blind teacher who travelled from Pakistan. Now blind Muslim children are not going to miss out on culture, religion, language and the social aspects and integration into their own community and identity.
As a British Asian myself, and a Muslim, I am deeply proud of my heritage and language. At home i speak my own languages, Punjabi and Urdu.
I have always said, the more languages you know, the broader your cultural knowledge. Those who say you must only use one language narrow their perception of the world. Also, people who can learn languages are good at playing musical instruments. Languages should be taught more in school. When I speak in Arabic I feel like a poet and when in English, I feel like a philosopher. "This mental flexibility pays big dividends especially later in life: the typical signs of cognitive ageing occur later in bilinguals – and the onset of age-related degenerative disorders such as dementia or Alzheimer’s are delayed in bilinguals by up to five years." We are amazed by being able to speak multilingual which is great Ever thought of the One God Creator Who made these languages.
A Muslim is a citizen of this tiny global village. he/she does not want to become notoriously monolingual Brit. British schooling has been forcing them to become notoriously monolingual Brits. It is a fact that British schooling is the home of institutional racism and British teachers are chicken racist. It is a crime against humanity to deprive a child form his/her mother tongue. Arabic is a religious language and all Muslims must learn and be well versed in Arabic to recite and understand the Holy Quran.Ed is very proud of his comprehensive school because students were speaking 60 languages. After leaving school, all those who spoke different languages, could only speak English because there is no arrangement for them to learn their own languages at school. Even teachers discouraged them to speak their language in school. British schooling regards bilingualism as a problem and not an asset. The Mayor of London is the product of British schooling. He is very proud that he is unable to speak, read and write Urdu language. I do not blame him. It is the fault of the school.
Legally, the state has an obligation to respect the rights of parents to ensure that 'education and teaching(of their children) is in conformity with their own religious and philosophical convictions.'
The schools must satisfy the spiritual, moral, social,and cultural needs of Muslim pupils. State schools with non-Muslim monolingual teachers are not in a position to satisfy their needs and demands. Bilingual Muslim children need state funded Muslim schools with bilingual Muslim teachers as role models during their developmental periods. There is no place for a non-Muslim child or a teacher in a Muslim school.
In Finland, every child who has a mother tongue which is not Finnish or Swedish (the official languages) is entitled to two lessons per week in their native language. In my city, dozens of different languages are taught in schools under this scheme. It enables the children to maintain/improve their mother tongue language skills in an academic environment, outside the home. This can have huge benefits for the country (eg economic) as well as for the children (language learning supports overall literacy). "Bilingualism is something we usually celebrate in adults yet not always in the classroom, where English is usually prioritised." - curious to see how the word "prioritise" has acquired a bad connotation. Surely schools should be to prepare children for life not just the workplace. But in both situations knowledge of more than one language is a bonus. Recognising respecting and encouraging our community languages rather than undermining and even mocking them might be the best place to start.
Muslim children must learn and be well versed in English to follow the National Curriculum and go for higher studies and research to serve humanity. At the same time they must learn and be well versed in Arabic, Urdu and other community languages to keep in touch with their cultural heritage and enjoy the beauty of their literature and poetry, otherwise, they would be lost in western jungle.