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Teaching Standard English - Essay Example

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Instructor Date Linda Christensen. "Teaching Standard English: Whose Standard? Analysis In her paper, Christensen expresses her opposition to the classification of the English language into standard and non-standard, where the latter is viewed as lower quality, and the speakers end up being too focused on correctness rather than the content…
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Teaching Standard English
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"Teaching Standard English"

Download file to see previous pages The essay is meant for a general audience but it brings up several issues that specifically appear to be addressed to language teachers in America. Christensen explains that the stigma experienced by children brought up in backgrounds not advocating Standard English throughout their school life and beyond negatively impacts on their self-esteem. Using the example of Fred, one of her students, she discusses the fear resulting from societal expectations and the criticisms that sometimes scare learners into not writing at all, rather than risk doing so and end up making errors. Fred has trouble learning because he is too scared to write and when he finally does; his creativity is severely hindered by his obsession with writing the “correct” English rather than expressing himself. (Christensen 36). Through this case study, the writer is successful in appealing to the audience’s sympathy by depicting Fred as a victim of the societal expectations that are beyond his control. By presenting her argument alongside Fred’s case, she is likely to convince an objective audience of the error of putting too much emphasis on the structure parts of the language as opposed to the functions. Bringing about social change, as she is evidently trying to do with her essay is a complicated affair that requires that one not only creates a rapport with their audience but also convinces them to step outside their previous assumptions and bias about a subject. However by initiating and emotional presenting Fred as a victim and showing his emotional challenge in an objective manner, she forces the reader to open their mind, acknowledge and confront the reality of the underlying problem. She breaks down the whole issue and brings it to a personal level showing the audience that if it can happen to Fred it can happen to any of them or even their children etc. Christensen emphasizes the need for English teachers to be careful when it comes to correcting their student’s mistakes since the manner in which they do it could negatively impact on their learning process. She mentions how a teacher can learn a lot about their learner’s lives by encouraging them to express themselves through writing, if teachers understood the importance of assisting the students in such expression they will be more conscious of their approaches and pursue learner centred as opposed to language centred teaching methods. For example, students who have been sexually abused could be hiding behind their problems and failing to express or report them; however, given chance to write without being judged based on grammar, teachers can learn their problem and advise them on the appropriate actions they should take. She concludes with an assertion that while it is important for students to learn standard English, they also need to understand why they are learning it, and they should not do it to avoid criticisms, but rather because they want to (Christensen 36). Teaching the rules of Standard English without imparting the need to reflect on them is only likely to force the students to comply out a need to conform rather than the intrinsic desire to learn. At the end of the day, she convinces he reader that the focus of education is in the learners personal and academic development, therefore teachers should ensure they use the educational opportunity assist ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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