The two articles in this week really strike a chord with me. They remind me of many things about my English learning. In this blog, I would like to talk about how attitudes and ideologies from diverse groups affect my English learning experience.
Attitudes and ideologies from my parents
My mother told me, fifty years ago, in China, as long as people can speak English, it is very good. But since twenty years ago, with the development of Chinese economic reform, not only should people know how to speak English, but also they need to speak Standardized English (Native English). My parents perceived and predicted that speaking native English will be a survival tool for me in the future. Why is English a survival tool? Because they think native English will make me adapt better in a globalized environment so that I can live better. They demonstrated their beliefs by sending me to a bilingual (English-Chinese) school in another city when I was six. I guessed that was probably the toughest time in my whole life but I indeed learned a lot.
Attitudes and ideologies from my teachers
I think in China, the attitudes and ideologies of teachers are greatly exam-oriented. Whether a teacher is good depends on if his or her students can get higher marks or the highest mark in the exam. They think that teaching exam skills is much more important than teaching English skills. So in reading courses, they teach more about why this answer is correct but not what this article is all about. Students don’t need read the whole article. Instead, reading the first sentence in each paragraph is enough. For me, at that time, I really have no idea whether I was learning a language or I was learning math, because all the time I was taught about the rules and used the rule to solve problems.
However, in this way, my English grammar was improved dramatically. I learned a lot China English. And I found China English is different from Canada English and American English when I came to Canada and America. I realized what localized English means.
Attitudes and ideologies from myself
Personally, I’m not a big fan of English native speakerism. Just according to my experience, in daily conversations when I talked to others, I never feel I was treated unequally or inferior because of Chinese accent. The only thing that will make me upset is that I cannot convey my thought. So when I studied English, I placed more emphasis on content instead of form. I will spend time analysing how Ivanka Trump delivered her speech which could arouse so many people instead of reading the book American Accent Training.
My reflection and question:
“Now I know parents’ perception towards English and why they think in that way but how can I apply these knowledge as a teacher?” This question was always wandering in my mind after I finished this week’s readings. In the course of my seeking the answer, luckily, I found a relevant journal called Current Issues in Language Planning http://www.tandfonline.com/toc/rclp20/16/1-2?nav=tocList, in volume no.16 issue no.1-2, all articles are concerned about the role of ideologies and attitudes in language education, especially multilingual education. The most interesting part I learned in this journal is that I could study attitudes and ideology not only from living human beings, such as parents, teachers, students, but also from the mass media, such as newspaper, which is an inanimate object but representing ideas of people. (Inanimate objects can also have attitudes and ideologies!).
Now I rethink the question but to be honest, it’s still hard… I know I’m not a very clever student anyway…but it suddenly occurred to me that students are the persons who connect teachers and parents, so if I know the ideologies of my students’ parents, I could understand more about my students’ knowledge, attitudes, ways of thinking and these understandings will definitely facilitate my teaching practice. It echoes what we discussed in last class, “each student will bring their family into the classroom”. The difference is that in last class, “each student will bring their family into the classroom” is one reason of translanguaging and multilingualism, but in this week, “each student will bring their family into the classroom” is the result of parents’ attitudes and ideologies. These are all my reflections to this question. Am I on the right way? What do you think? How would you take advantage of various attitudes and ideologies to conduct teaching?