Language Awareness Essay

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Stacy Frederick Educational Linguistics 10/11/2014 The term Language Awareness has been appropriated by practitioners, theorists and researchers operating in a wide range of educational contexts. Language Awareness blends; content about language, language skill, attitudinal education and metacognitive opportunities, which allow the students to reflect on the process of language acquisition, learning and language use. All four of these aspects of Language Awareness need to be integrated into existing subject areas. A focus on Language Awareness is a key aspect of creating student-centred classrooms. Educational Linguist Leo Van Lier claimed: “One of the first task of Language Awareness is to examine the so called ‘normal’ and to see if it really is the way it’s supposed to be and the way we want it to be.” In the process of analysing this thesis we will delve into the works of Dr Jeffery Siegel whose work compliments this statement, identify one ‘normal’ practice in the teaching of Language Arts in Trinidad and Tobago, and discuss how important Educational Linguistics is to teaching Language Arts. Van Lier’s statement causes linguists as well as educators to take a close look at the way language is taught and learned in the classroom. Dr Jeffery Siegel, a prominent socio-linguist who specializes in Creole Languages, critically examines the barring of Creoles and Dialects from the classroom. Dr Siegel looks at the misconceptions about the nature of educational programs using vernaculars. Dr Siegel exposes the feelings some teachers as well as administrators have when it comes to vernacular language. According to Dr Siegel, “they think of vernacular varieties as deviant forms of Standard English” (40). However, we know that this is not true. Dialects and Vernaculars have their own grammatical rules and pronunciation. Dr Siegel views the use of the L1 (First

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