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Harnessing Linguistic Variation to Improve Education

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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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Ian G. Malcolm and Adriano Truscott - 10 English Without Shame: Two-Way Aboriginal Classrooms in Australia 227

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Ian G. Malcolm and Adriano Truscott 10 English Without Shame: Two-Way Aboriginal Classrooms in Australia Introduction In Australian school classrooms language and literacy practices have often given priority to standard Australian English (SAE) and margin- alized or excluded the use of Aboriginal English, the ethnolect which has been maintained for communication within Aboriginal communi- ties. In these circumstances, communication in classrooms is, for many Aboriginal students, associated with a sense of unwelcome conspicuous- ness sometimes referred to as being (or feeling, or getting) ‘shame’. Shame on the part of students may be associated with self-consciousness, lack of engagement and inappropriate and non-compliant behaviours in the school setting. Two-way bidialectal education attempts to reduce shame by recogniz- ing Aboriginal English as a part of classroom communication and learning. This chapter outlines the principles and practices associated with two- way bidialectal education as practised in Western Australia, and examines its implementation in three diverse schools: fringe metropolitan, fringe rural and rural/remote. The key roles of the school principal, teachers and Aboriginal staf f are illustrated as are the impediments to the success of the programme and observations are made on the potential benefits, and limitations, of such a programme. 228 Ian G. Malcolm and Adriano Truscott Shame and education When asked to ref lect on their experience of being in school, Aboriginal Australians often refer to ‘shame’ or ‘big shame’. Typical comments are: ‘I was shame. I said nothing’, ‘I would have felt very shame if I’d done some- thing silly’ (Arthur,...

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