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Educating Aboriginal Children - Essay Example

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Before the 1970s Aboriginal education was not sufficiently important to the Australian education curricular developers. This educational program was not well organized and was neglected by the educationist and the educational system. Keith McConnochie1 brought up the issue of the absence of serious commitment on fundamental issues in Aboriginal education…
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Educating Aboriginal Children
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Educating Aboriginal Children

The shift from this stance has been gradual. Many aspects of the Aborigines' lifestyle including cultural values, skills, behaviour and language are still considered as primitive and bad. Aboriginal English, which is a dialect of English used by their group, is considered as lazy and incorrect (Eades, 1995). There are several theoretical as well as practical implications of this kind of attitude for Aboriginal children in the school system. After closely examining case study one, it is evident that Ben's problems in class have their origin in his Aboriginal heritage.
His English teacher views Ben's language skills as deficient and in need of urgent addressing The teacher's attitude is that Ben needs to change his language inorder to be assimilated into the society and does not consider integrating Ben's home language in the classroom. The classroom teacher perceives Ben to be behind in his stage development. The teacher is convinced that if Ben's speech patterns are not corrected, it would affect his future learning ability (case study 1). The teacher takes it upon herself to consult with the mother inorder to point out the problem to her so that together they may address the "anomaly". She considers it to be Ben's mother's job to teach him what she considers proper language so that he may be able to catch up in school. The teacher ignores the fact that Aboriginal English is the home language of both Ben and his mother.
Ben's grandfather spoke the traditional Aboriginal language. It can therefore be presumed that Ben has only been exposed to Aboriginal English since his family as well as the surrounding community spoke Aboriginal English to him. His mother could not have taught him Standard English since she herself spoke Aboriginal English most of the time. According to the case study, the teacher has failed to recognize Aboriginal English as an important language used by the indigenous people. She also does not take into account the vast differences between Aboriginal English and the Standard English in her evaluation of Ben's literacy development. She has thus formed an opinion based on her misconceptions. Due to being treated as a special needs child, Ben has withdrawn to himself whereas he was outgoing. He has been unfairly targeted as a slow and lazy child just because he had learnt to speak Aboriginal English all his life while now he is expected to use Standard English in school.
Aboriginal English refers to the numerous kinds of English spoken by the Aboriginal people in Australia. It originated from the British settlers who due to their reluctance to learn the indigenous languages made it necessary for the aboriginal people to, learn some English in there relations with them. The language that developed was simplified English used in situations of limited contact (Eades 1995). However the language gained prominence when different aboriginal groups began to use it. In the subsequent developments the language resulted in widespread Aboriginal dialects of English. Today aboriginal English is an important means of communication for most of the aboriginal people. It is also important to the aboriginal identity. (Eades 1995)
The language bears several similarities to the Standard Engl ... Read More
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