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Original Message
Forum Muslim Schools 
Topic BIlingualism 
Author Iftikhar Ahmad 
Date Created 05/07/2003 20:53:14 
Message Established 1981
London School of Islamics
An Educational Trust
63 Margery Park Road London E7 9LD
Email: info@londonschoolofislamics.org.uk
Tel/Fax: 0208 555 2733 / 07817 112 667


Bilingual education is a human and civil right. Being bilingual and bi-cultural is an important resource in today’s global economy and the British government should be encouraging this rather than suppressing it. It is crucial that children feel secure in their bilingual identity. A research project at the Institute of Education, University of London, shows that five and six years olds cope well with biliteracy and gain advantages from it. If young people see their community language and culture is valued, they will feel integrated into British society. There is a great demand for individuals fluent in English and mother tongues by educational institutions, TV Channel, radio stations and service industries.

Bilingualism has positive effects on children’s linguistic and educational development. The level of development of children’s mother tongue is a strong predictor of their second language development. Mother tongue promotion in the school helps develop not only the mother tongue but also children abilities in the majority school language. Spending instructional time through minority language in the school does not hurt children’s academic development in the majority school language. When parent’s culture are recognized by the school, their interest and involvement in the curriculum often increase dramatically.

Children’s mother tongue is fragile and easily lost in the early years of school. Language lies at the heart of any culture. The different languages spoken provide clear links with the family and community traditions which enrich British culture. To reject a child’s language in the school is to reject a child. Children cultural and linguistic experience in the home is the foundation of their future learning and we must build on that foundation rather than undermine it. Increased cultural and language awareness could help to combat hooliganism.

Languages, by virtue of their direct contribution to economic competitiveness, intercultural tolerance and social cohesion, should have the status of a key skill alongside literacy, numeracy and ICT. The government should establish a national strategy for developing capability in languages and a system capable of supporting such a strategy. A language supremo should be attached to the cabinet office and have direct access to the Prime Minister. He should persuade the notoriously monolingual British to learn a language. New languages supremo must persuade reluctant Brits to speak something other than English. British society is already a multilingual society. The first wave of immigrants arrived with two or three languages from the sub-continent but its young generation is unable to feel pride in its mother tongue. The government should declare a firm commitment to early language learning for all children at age five. The key to success in business, the law and politics in the future will be the mastry of at least one foreign language. Knowledge of more than one language demonstrates that a candidate has the ability to think across cultural boundaries. Bilingualism enhances children’s development.
Iftikhar Ahmad

Topic Re: BIlingualism 
Author Ian Upton 
Date Created 12/07/2003 12:15:00 
Message So seen as the most populated country on Earth is China why dont we all learn Mandarin Chinese from a very early age?

And seen as China imports 40% of its goods into the EU why not? As you say its surely good for business.

There really is no contest is there?

You said "Increased cultural and language awareness could help to combat hooliganism."

Yes I couldnt agree more, if more asian individuals took time to learn english as their second language instead of ignoring it completely it would help them to integrate more quickly into this English Society. It would also have the added benefit of costing less money for the government who provide interpreters and so forth.

On the point of hooliganism I can also speak from personal experience, each time I visit a relative in the Lower Blackburn Road area of Bolton, I would appreciate it if the Asian youths, who are often drug dealing, smoking draw and generally causing a nusiance whilst joy riding around the area in Stolen cars, stop calling me a white honky when I dont even have eye contact with them.

However I am unsure that just because I could tell them off in their own language it doesnt mean to say they are going to act upon it and listen.

Launguage barriers DOES NOT excuse the anti social and bad behaviour no matter what ethnicicty you come from.

Billingual Education is certainly not a civil right.I wish people would really stop talking such drivel and gibberish.What the hell is "A language supremo"

You said "New languages supremo must persuade reluctant Brits to speak something other than English"

I have two english words in response to that comment, the last one being "off". which is just as meaningful as the Hindu,Urd,Chinsese,Polish or Japanese versions.

Topic Re: BIlingualism 
Author Penny 
Date Created 10/10/2003 23:52:36 
Message Could somebody from this organisation please tell me why there seems to be a policy of blanket mailing of various local fora. This is acceptable as an opening for debate, but what I find most offensive is the policy of mailing a posting, and then never returning to find out what responses there were! Our own forum has had two postings from Iftikhar now, but there can be no useful outcome to these, as he does not return to engage in debate! How is this supposed to aid understanding and tolerance between communities? It is the virtual equivalent of playing Postman's Knock - leave a posting and run away! Hardly likely to influence people, is it? 
Topic Re: BIlingualism 
Author People of Grimsby & Cleethorpes 
Date Created 13/10/2003 18:35:39 
Message Dear Sir/Madam,
We are now fed up of having spam posted on our local message boards. These are here for the help of the local people, in and around a particular place. PLease tell this Iftikhar person NOT to place postings on message boards. Our moderator will also be in touch soon..... 
Topic Re: BIlingualism 
Author jack Ladd 
Date Created 17/10/2003 19:44:35 
Message Five posts within five minutes on the message board at www.thisisgrimsby.com all cut and pasted to various other message boards around the country,and everyone of them identical to this post.

Why? Theres enough spam around as it is.

If you want a discussion,then fine have one.But don't go dumping hundreds of copies of your essay's all over the place. 
Topic Re: BIlingualism 
Author Penny 
Date Created 27/10/2003 15:23:03 
Message Having just received your last post concerning racism and bilingualism, I would like to say that I work in a primary school; those children of ethnic origin are not treated any differently by pupils or teachers. Maybe we are lucky, but racism is often bred outside school, not in it. Part of this is the bilingual problem. Iftikhar, you are very enthusiastic about this particular issue, but you are missing the entire point of bilingualism; that is the ability to speak more than one language. In reality, many of the ethnic children we educate cannot speak two languages; they can only speak their native tongue, as their mothers have not learned to speak English. This isolates them more than anything else. There are huge financial resources poured into this problem, as these children have to miss ordinary lessons in order to learn english; once again, isolationism. Specialist teachers are employed to teach them language, so that they may join the rest of their class for all lessons. Yet you are asking for these children to be taught in their native language, thereby compounding the problem. In what way would they be bilingual then? The mothers of these children, unable to join in the usual playground chats of other mothers, are isolated. The valuable help and understanding they could bring to such ordinary activities as helping in class, joining the PTA, etc., helping at sports day, are lost, as these young women have never had the opportunity to learn english. Just think of what they could do for community relations if they were allowed to do so. The problem doesn't get any better with the passage of time, as most of these young brides have been brought over purely for marriage purposes, so the language barrier is never overcome. Isn't it about time that the Islamic/Asian community realised, that if they wish to properly join in the life of this country, that they must embrace the language too? It is this problem that has brought about the ghetto situation, and the isolationist problems that have ocurred in the North of England. Get out there, be a part of life; we're not contagious, you know! It won't compromise either religion or way of life; it would just add an enriching dimension to the daily lives of these people. As you rightly say, bilingualism is a benefit, and children who can speak more than one language are usually brighter and learn more. Well, let them be truly bilingual then! What has your community got to lose?  
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