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Harnessing Linguistic Variation to Improve Education


Edited By Androula Yiakoumetti

This volume brings together research carried out in a variety of geographic and linguistic contexts including Africa, Asia, Australia, Canada, the Caribbean, Europe and the United States and explores efforts to incorporate linguistic diversity into education and to ‘harness’ this diversity for learners’ benefit. It challenges the largely anachronistic ideology that promotes exclusive use of an educational monolingual standard variety and advocates the use in formal education of aboriginal/indigenous languages, minority languages, nonstandard varieties and contact languages.
The contributors examine both historical and current practices for including linguistic diversity in education by considering specific bidialectal, bilingual and multilingual educational initiatives. The different geographical and linguistic settings covered in the volume are linked together by a unifying theme: linguistic diversity exists all over the world, but it is very rarely utilized effectively for the benefit of students. When it is used, whether in isolated studies or through governmental initiatives, the research findings point systematically to the many educational advantages experienced by linguistically-diverse students. This book will be of interest to teachers and language practitioners, as well as to students and scholars of language and education.


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Jessica Ball and Barbara May Hanford Bernhardt - 9 Standard English as a Second Dialect: A Canadian Perspective 189


Jessica Ball and Barbara May Hanford Bernhardt 9 Standard English as a Second Dialect: A Canadian Perspective During the years I spent kayaking along the coast of British Columbia and Southeast Alaska, I observed that the local raven populations spoke in distinct dialects. Ravens from Kwakiutl, Tsimshian, Haida, and Tlingit territory sounded dif ferent from one another, especially in their characteristic ‘tok’ and ‘tlik’. (Dyson, 2006: 136) Introduction Over 40 per cent of Aboriginal1 children in Canada do not receive a sec- ondary school diploma (Gilmore, 2010; Mendelson, 2006), and dialectal variation may play a key role. Combined with significant gaps in quality of life for First Nation2 children in Canada, dialect dif ferences between some First Nation children and mainstream educators likely contribute to ineq- uitable outcomes for First Nation youngsters on many dimensions, includ- ing education, health and social inclusion (Ball, 2008; Salée, 2006). High rates of identification of First Nation children as ‘at risk’ for dif ficulties in school and teacher referrals of these children for assessment and treatment 1 In Canada, the term Aboriginal refers to three groups of original inhabitants: First Nation, Métis and Inuit peoples. Many original inhabitants now prefer to be called Indigenous when not referred to by their specific cultural community. 2 First Nation is an ethnic identifier that can apply both to individuals and to commu- nities on or of f of reserve lands and in urban or rural/remote settings. In contrast, a First Nation is a culturally distinct,...

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