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A. Introduction
Peoples use of language in their daily life in a community is remarkably
varied (Wardhaugh, 2002). hey might use varieties of language in case of their
social class, gender, age, education, etc. !t might be in a fully different language or
merely a dialect of a particular language. "ecause of this #idely varied of
language use among people, one might be unintelligible to another language or
dialect used by someone else or in versa. !t can be a problem #hen
communication needs to be settled do#n. his problem can also occur in a
situation, let say, educational conte$t. o some e$tent, the students in a particular
class might use #hat #e call as non%standard varieties of language, and it leads to
some difficulties face by the students that speak non%standard varieties, the
ma&ority students, and even to the teacher.
'or e$ample in the case of immigrant children in the (nited )tates, in
#hich they cope #ith difficulties in obtaining proper education at school because
they do not speak the language that is officially used in their school (i.e. *nglish).
+vermaet (200,) stated that, language has become an important element in the
effort made by school in redressing social ine-uality. .o#ever, lo# literacy skills
(i.e. lack of proficiency in standard language) possessed by immigrant children
makes them difficult to participate in social debate. +nother e$ample is like #hat
has happened in .a#aii. .a#aiian students #ho speak .a#aii /reole *nglish
often find themselves in confusing situation in school (+llsop, 2000). hey are
often stereotyped as apathetic and unintelligent students because they are too often
corrected in their speech. hese students also find themselves disregarded in class
discussion because of their language and dialect is unintelligible.
herefore, in this paper, the #riter #ould like to discuss three problems
that may arise because of the non%standard varieties of language use in
educational conte$t, and eventually try to suggest #ays to cope #ith it, or at least
spark a#areness, and hence similar cases in the future can be remedied or
B. Problems regarding non-standard language use in educational context
+s has been discussed previously, some language variations, in #hich they
are considered non%standard varieties and are not officially used in educational
institution, cause some problems in classroom #hich result in the users lo#
literacy and inability to tackle social difficulties. he three problems by #hich the
use of non%standard varieties caused are1 (0) negative stereotyping to#ard the
minority students, (2) a practice of tokenism done by the teachers to avoid ruining
their image in the eyes of the minority group, and (2) problem in employing
appropriate non%verbal communication due to cultural differences.
he first problem that is going to be described is stereotype. "y
definition, stereotype is the negative reaction to#ard another group of people
through overgenerali3ation by shaping perception about them (4evine 5
+delman, 0672). he perception of others is usually obtained not by the real
e$perience or real kno#ledge of others. !t is the 8simplified picture9 about
something in our head (.inton, 2000 in *:;<, 2006). =oreover, it is usually
developed from numerous sources such as1 &okes, te$tbooks, movies, and
television (4evine 5 +delman, 0672). )tereotypical beliefs disallo# us from
seeing people as individuals #ith idiosyncratic characteristic, but it likely lead us
to pre&udice, suspicion, hatred, etc to other cultural group. 4et say, for e$ample, in
the situation #here children look upon the culture of !ndian people being
8uncivili3ed9 through a co#boy movie, in #hich the depicted image #ill build up
an overgenerali3ation to the rest of the !ndian tribes in the children point of vie#.
his thing happens also in educational conte$t. +s mentioned in the previous
section, +llsop (2000) found out that all .a#aiian students turn out to be
stereotyped as being unintelligent because, perhaps, some of them performed
poorly in classroom.
he stereotyping situation in a classroom might also affect the teachers
attitude to#ard the stereotyped minority group. hey ackno#ledge stereotype
thinking, but #ant to be seen as fair in giving chance to the stereotyped group.
his situation is called Tokenism. +ccording to Wright 5 aylor (0667), tokenism
is defined as an intergroup conte$t in #hich very fe# members of disadvantaged
group are accepted into positions usually reserved for the members of the
advantaged group, #hile formal access is denied for the rest of the members in the
disadvantaged group.
!n educational conte$t, tokenism might happened in a classroom situation,
in #hich very fe# students from the minority group (i.e. the students #ho speaks
non%standard varieties) are given chance to sho# their performance in learning
#hile the rest suffer unfair share of chance, or #orst, being ignored at all, because
once again, they are stereotyped of being unintelligent or slo# in learning. his
may result in lo#ering the learning motivation of the disadvantaged group.
he third problem that might appear because of non%standard varieties of
language use is inappropriate use of non%verbal signs as means of communication.
here are non%verbal differences across culture that may be confusing for different
people (4evine 5 +delman, 0672). )ay, for e$ample gesture. +cross culture, there
are different gestures that may mean differently one another. hus, teachers may
not think the meaning of a gesture is universal. >ot every student understands
universal body languages. + hand gesture to call a person by folding up one or
t#o fingers might be acceptable in the (nited )tates, but #ill be highly offensive
in Philippine because it is associated #ith the #ay to call an animal. !t might also
happen in the #ay around. he student #ho do not use non%standard varieties in
classroom, tend to use sign language #hich is only acceptable in their culture
#ithout kno#ing that the rest of the students #ill perceive it differently. +s a
result, they #ill be considered rude or strange or #orse.
C. Solution to the problems
!t is actually not easy to change stereotype since it is fairly resistant to
change and depend to society (*:;<, 2006). .o#ever, there is a vie# proposed by
+llport (06?@) that the contact bet#een groups (i.e. in school and #orkplace) #ill
increase positive value bet#een them. !t is called the 8/ontact .ypothesis9
(+llsop, 2006 in )tangor, 200010?). he main cause of stereotype, as e$plained
previously, is the lack of information obtained by a group of people about the
culture of other group. herefore, stereotype might change if there is enough
information about the characteristics of the stereotyped groups by having them
interact #ith each other. he core is that once people learn more about the other
groups culture, the stereotype thinking itself can be dispelled (*:;<, 2006). he
concept of vanishing stereotype thinking seems to be in line #ith the #ay to
overcome tokenism. +dair 5 .o#ell (066A) suggest that tokenism can be
overcome by enabling every individual (including each member of minority
group) to claim both their individual and cultural integrity. !t also decreases the
isolation that the people from the disadvantaged group might feel. hus, it is of
importance to build up alliances #ith groups rooted in different communities.
!f #e connect this to educational conte$t, the need to have the minority
group to make a 8contact9 #ith the ma&ority group can be achieved through an
appropriate approach of bilingual educationB the enrichment bilingual education.
his term is kno#n in many names, such as1 bilingual immersion, t#o%#ay
immersion, t#o%#ay maintenance bilingual education, etc. +ll of #hich refer to
elementary school bilingual that are designed for both *nglish language learners
and native speakers of *nglish (/hristian, 066@ in 'altis 5 .udelson, 0667). he
main goal of this approach are to1 (0) let the speaker of each language learn the
language of others as #ell as their o#n language, (2) let them achieve
academically through and in both languages, and (2) let them come to appreciate
each others language and culture (4indholm, 066@ in 'altis 5 .udelson, 0667).
'or e$ample, in the situation of elementary school in the (nited )tates #here the
monolingual >ava&o speakers and monolingual *nglish speakers enroll in
enrichment bilingual education program, both of the speakers #ill be able to reach
demanded literacy in both languages. herefore, by achieving these goals, the
students #ill have more 8contact9 to each other, and #ill sho# much more
respect, and hence, stereotype and tokenism can be gradually removed.
Cifferent from the case of stereotyping and tokenism, non%verbal language
can be both the problem and also the solution for the problem related to non%
standard language use. +s e$plained previously, inappropriate use of non%verbal
language (i.e. gestures) can lead the students as #ell as the teachers in a situation
#here misunderstanding tends to occur. >evertheless, using the right non%verbal
language can help #ith difficulties coping #ith non%standard language use in
classroom. /ommunication is mostly fabricated non%verbally. !n his research, +li
(2000) found out that non%verbal sign assists in a #ide range of classroom
practices. !t includes many aspects that improve students understanding and
motivation, and above all avoiding misunderstanding and improving intercultural
competence. hese things can be achieved only #hen the teacher can raise non%
verbal a#areness in the classroom, thus the students and the teachers can be better
receivers of any non%verbal message. 4et say, for e$ample by making a list of
allo#ed gestures including the meaning for the classroom, so that the students
may have universal idea of particular non%verbal signs, and hence
misunderstanding can be avoided.
D. Conclusion
4anguage varieties is something usual in peoples daily live in their
community. he varieties of language used by the people are affected by their
social class, gender, age, education, etc. hese varieties someho# make people
become unintelligible to each other and can be a problem #hen communication
need to be settled. his thing can also be a problem in educational conte$t.
here are at least three problems that are occurred because of the use of
non%standard varieties of languages in classroom. hey are1 (0) stereotyping, (2)
tokenism, and (2) inappropriate use of sign. +ll of them are solvable, first of all is
by implementing t#o%#ay bilingual education #hich stresses on cultural
8contact9 in #hich it involves the non%native speaker of *nglish and the native
speaker of *nglish to be respectful to their respective language. he second
solution is by using the right non%verbal signs in classroom to avoid
misunderstanding. his can be done by giving the class a list of allo#ed signs of
the standard language used in school including the meaning, thus each student
(regardless of their cultural background) #ill have universal idea about the non%
verbal signs used by them.
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