As I wrote last week, I have gotten a regional practicum. This means that I am after 10 hours of driving, somewhere halfway between my university and the school I will be working on for the coming six weeks. As you can imagine, I am flat out right now. Therefore, I will keep this blog post nice and short.
The most interesting thing, I discussed at university this week was about linguistic diversity. As a linguistic student, I found language change, contact and just language in general very interesting. In this particular case, it was about why some dialects are seen as prestigious (Received Pronunciation, General American, Standard Australian English) and everything else just as not acceptable.
As a second language speaker of English, it is great to see that English has more than one standard to conform to. However, I think that it is important for students to know that the English we learn at school is not necessarily better than any other form of English. Instead, we should appreciate the students’ form of English and teach them how to code-switch.
Code-switching means that you change your language to meet the standards of the setting. For example, it will not be accepted if I speak Dutch in an Australian classroom, but my parents will prefer me to speak Dutch. When I speak to my peers, I will use a different vocabulary than when I speak to my students. Making students aware of code-switching and appropriate language use, but yet still appreciating their own language will, according to several linguists, engage students more.