Language is a cultural resource because it is one of the mechanisms by which cultural and social relationships are represented. This is best understood from the perspective that explains how language is a cultural process pivotal in social interaction. …
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For an ethnic group, it forms part of the way meanings are constructed and contexts are created, facilitating social relations. It is, hence, easy to understand why ethnic groups cling to their languages with such fervor even when living in a foreign society – language is part of their cultural identity. The dynamics of this fact is illustrated in the way bilingualism persists among Americans. Latinos, Asians and other ethnic minorities speak at least two languages. Collectively, they represent a sizable portion of the American population. In education, this issue is important because, until only recently, the erstwhile government policy on language is “English only.” The government reduced support for bilingual programs in education, effectively reducing bilingual teachers in the process. According to Katz (2004), if this policy will continue, it will seriously affect the chances of the children of the 47 million non-native English speakers today and in the future. Teachers who understand the language requirements of students would be scarce and students study in “sink-or-swim” mainstream English classes, effectively compromising the attainment of academic proficiency. ...
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