Letters to the Editor

Patois won't help

Friday, August 24, 2012    

Print this page Email A Friend!


Dear Editor,

I wish to comment on the calls made by the president of the Jamaica Teachers' Association for English to be taught as a second language in schools and for the Jamaican creole to be used as the language of instruction in our classrooms. I do not believe that such an approach will prove beneficial to our students, and it will not improve their educational performance.

First, in order for English to be taught as a second language in Jamaica, creole has to be standardised. There has to be an associated alphabet, as well as spelling, grammar and rules regarding sentence structure. Because of the "non-standardisation" of the Jamaican creole, many Jamaicans are able to speak it, but are unable to read it with fluency and understanding.

If we first standardise our native tongue, our children will be able to read it and will be able to translate the target language from Jamaican creole to English. Until the Jamaican creole is standardised, it is highly unlikely that we will have much success in teaching English as a second language. Second, if we encourage our teachers to conduct classes in the Jamaican creole, we will inevitably stifle our children's global competiveness. We must accept that English is an international language, and individuals who are able to use it with a level of competence are at an advantage. If teachers limit their use of English in the classroom, it will impact negatively on our children's' ability to compete on a global scale. It is essential that schools need to be equipped with the necessary tools that will allow teachers to improve literacy. As a teacher, I can tell you that our teachers' colleges ought to be commended for the work they do in equipping student-teachers with strategies and ideas as to how to elevate literacy in our schools.

If we first standardise our native tongue, our children will be able to read it and will be able to translate the target language from Jamaican creole to English. Until the Jamaican creole is standardised, it is highly unlikely that we will have much success in teaching English as a second language. Second, if we encourage our teachers to conduct classes in the Jamaican creole, we will inevitably stifle our children's global competiveness. We must accept that English is an international language, and individuals who are able to use it with a level of competence are at an advantage. If teachers limit their use of English in the classroom, it will impact negatively on our children's' ability to compete on a global scale. It is essential that schools need to be equipped with the necessary tools that will allow teachers to improve literacy. As a teacher, I can tell you that our teachers' colleges ought to be commended for the work they do in equipping student-teachers with strategies and ideas as to how to elevate literacy in our schools.

However, there is a disparity between what we are taught in teachers' college and the realities of our schools, as most of our classrooms are overcrowded and poorly equipped. These factors severely compromise the processes of teaching and learning, as children will not get the best instruction if our classrooms are hot, noisy, crowded and lack resources that will enrich learning. While I understand the concerns expressed by the newly installed JTA president, I do not endorse his suggestions. I believe that the solution to the problems of improving our students' performance right across educational disciplines is simply to enrich the classrooms and make them conducive to learning. We now need to figure out how to achieve those objectives, considering the current economic constraints faced by our country.

Zandrea Banton

Montego Bay, St James

ADVERTISEMENT

POST A COMMENT

HOUSE RULES

 

1. We welcome reader comments on the top stories of the day. Some comments may be republished on the website or in the newspaper – email addresses will not be published.

2. Please understand that comments are moderated and it is not always possible to publish all that have been submitted. We will, however, try to publish comments that are representative of all received.

3. We ask that comments are civil and free of libellous or hateful material. Also please stick to the topic under discussion.

4. Please do not write in block capitals since this makes your comment hard to read.

5. Please don't use the comments to advertise. However, our advertising department can be more than accommodating if emailed: advertising@jamaicaobserver.com.

6. If readers wish to report offensive comments, suggest a correction or share a story then please email: community@jamaicaobserver.com.

7. Lastly, read our Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy



comments powered by Disqus
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT

Poll

Should the next Police Commissioner be recruited from overseas?
Yes
No


View Results »


ADVERTISEMENT

Today's Cartoon

Click image to view full size editorial cartoon
ADVERTISEMENT