Teaching creole-speaking children
Issues, concerns and resolutions for the classroom
There are now significant numbers of children who speak a language other than English when they enter the formal school system in Australia. Many of these children come from a language background that is entirely different from the school language. Many Indigenous children, however, come from creole-speaking backgrounds where their home language may share features with the school language whilst remaining substantially different in other ways. What often makes this situation more challenging is the tendency to view creole, rather than as a different language, as a kind of deficient version of the standard language. Children entering the school system with a creole thus often encounter considerable difficulties. In addition, teachers who are not trained in teaching creole-speaking children may not recognise these difficulties. This paper explores some of these issues in the Australian context with reference to home languages such as Kriol and Torres Strait Creole (TSC) as well as minority dialects such as Australian Aboriginal English (AAE), and discusses possible resolutions.
Keywords: attitudes, education and bilingual education, creoles, language differences
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