The Differences Between Child Rearing Posed By Ahern ( 2012, Pg 51-52 ) Essay

The Differences Between Child Rearing Posed By Ahern ( 2012, Pg 51-52 ) Essay

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While viewing ‘Speaking in Tongues’ I was struck by the vast difference in attitude between the children featured in the film and myself at their ages. While we all share a common factor, a United States primary education, both the medium of instruction and the subliminal messages that come along with it differ in each case.

This contrast acts as an alternative example of the comparison of child rearing posed by Ahern (2012, pg 51-52) by highlighting the impacts of language socialization gained during education. Through equal prioritization of two languages children in language-immersion programs are being conditioned to accommodate themselves to the world and thus to view the world as a whole on more equal terms. In stark contrast, the traditional exclusive prioritization of English conditions students to greatly skew the importance of English as well as perpetuates socioeconomic and racial oppression in the United States.

Through this dual set of socializations two prominent language ideologies are being promoted. The first, that we currently live in a highly globalized society and importance should be placed both on an appreciation for varying cultures and that children should be provided with as many marketable skills as possible. The second, that in this globalized marketplace the onus is on non-English speakers to learn English due to the subconscious (and in some cases not so subconscious) belief in the superiority of America and thusly English. [Something about xenophobia maybe]

‘Speaking in Tongues’ exemplifies these differing ideologies by focusing on a conversation between the uncle of the Cantonese-immersion student Kelly and his mother. Kelly’s Uncle shares the hope of all the families of language-immersion stud...


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...nities for those higherup the socioeconomic ladder. This All three situations rob people who were initially This robs people who do or did not originally have English as a first language of positions that should be theirs and again perpetuates the idea that it’s only a certain type of person who deserves to succeed.

For those who were raised under the privilege and ease of white English monolingualism it’s easy to ignore the fact that in the United States we live under a system that perpetuates the success only of those that were born in the right set of circumstances. One where routinely culture is given up for fear of ostracization and communication rifts are caused between generations. It’s easy to tear down the merits of non-mainstream education when you have been born into the circumstances to expertly learn the tools to navigate the systems already in place.

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