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Study On Linguistic Human Rights

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Education
Wordcount: 1177 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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Nowadays schools throughout the United States have to deal with a growing number of students speaking different languages. In this article, Rojas and Reagan (2003) discuss the case for bilingual education programs from a somewhat different perspective from that generally offered by supporters and advocates of bilingual schooling in the United States. Most of the arguments in favour of bilingual education are grounded in defences of the “effectiveness” of bilingual education programs, it is in arguing that bilingual education is a good thing because it works. Although they believe this to be true, and briefly review the arguments and evidence for this claim, what they suggest here is that there is a far more powerful, and relevant argument for bilingual education programs. The need of educational reform has prompted a great deal of debate among educators and policymakers. Bilingual education system was introduced as an alternative way to solve social problems at the time when ethnic pride movement supporters insisted all ethnic subcultures should be treated equally. The program’s original goal was to offer minority language students the way to improve communicational and written skills in English while learning the new material in their first language, and to prepare them for an effective integration into American society through gradually introducing to a new culture. They emphasize that the debate has focused almost exclusively on “empirical matters”. In challenging us to rethink bilingual education, they suggest that not to debate the effectiveness of the bilingual program but the real issue is how the society addresses the difference. Similarly, there are certain fundamental rights (including linguistic human rights) that must be observed in the educational process. It is in this sphere, they argue, rather than in the sphere of pedagogical effectiveness alone, that the real case for bilingual education needs to be made. There are, they believe, some common, core assumptions shared by virtually all educators, policy-makers, and indeed, by most individuals in the general public that relate to the issues that they address in this article.

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Historically, Americans have not shown great tolerance of linguistic diversity. The bilingual learners have to knowledge the learning materials, to have literacy skill and to have communication skill in English (Rojas and Reagan, 2003). The authors prove that bilingual education in America has “cut off” the bilingual learners from the “standard curriculum”. The bilingual learners are obstructed in some period before they can understand the learning contents. In addition, bilingual education does not respect the language diversity. They suggest that the first language of bilingual learners should be respected as groundwork for other languages learning. As Brisk (1998) says that inconsistency is happened in bilingual education. The bilingual education is established in private school for the privileged group, but it is not accepted for the language minority education in public school. The bilingual education condition in Indonesia is similar to the Brisk’s opinion. It is accepted in both private and public schools, but it is only available for the smart students. In recent years, Chinese and Japanese are also taught as a second language.

Research on bilingual education shows that it has ascertained a failure both on the bilingual education and the research itself. The unsuccessful bilingual education is demonstrated by Porter (1990) and Krashen (1996). They find that native learners who do not learn second language are better than bilingual learners. Despite of the research imperfection, the authors find some good indicators to improve the bilingual education, such as combination between language development with learning content development and maintenance of content development using student’s native language. Moreover, they explain that the essence of the bilingual education debate is related to the ideological and political matters, but it does not give suggestion to improve the academic side of bilingual education.

The authors believe that the bilingual education is effective method to teach language marginal students and to guarantee the students gain knowledge other subject matters. Along with the raising of consciousness of individual human right, the authors convince us that linguistic human rights have a potency to be recognized internationally. The dispute of bilingual education has objective to achieve balance between community union and forbearance of language diversity. They appeals to policy makers and educators to protect linguistic human rights and not to put it in threat. The authors interpret the linguistic human rights are in need of recognition as basic human rights for all, because it is parallel with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. In the fact, American government does not respect the linguistic human rights. The real policies and practices of the Unites States of America do not reflex high opinion to native people rights. The government does not care, pay no attention even infringe to the linguistic human rights. The authors also emphasize that “linguistic genocide” is in progress, because native people and their languages in Latin America and Canada are neglected.

I agree with the author that language rights may be considered as a unit of cultural rights. But, the notion of culture, especially ‘traditional’ culture, is sometimes considered as an obstacle to the spread or realisation of human rights, since ‘culture’ and ‘tradition’ can be invoked by one group in order to uphold practices that infringe on another’s rights. Therefore, this argument is for the positive value of language right as a crucial element in human rights.

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In my mind, the civil right to an equal opportunity in education is clearly violated when children are denied an education that is comprehensible. If students are placed in English engagement classes, big portion of the curriculum will be incomprehensible. This violates a basic civil right to equal treatment under the law. As educators who believe in social justice, I think it is important to fight for everyone’s human rights. Ultimately, I believe that all children should have the right to learn subject matters with their native language. I appreciate this article because it brings together a theme and topic on which they have worked in the past, but moves forward in a substantial manner the debate about language policy in education broadly conceived. It will challenge me to more honestly and thoughtfully address language-related issues in education. As an Indonesian scholar who have been devoting my research and practice to English as an important second language, I may well begin paying some attention to the less researched area in bilingual education in my home country


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