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Socio-Political Contexts

The sixth blog in my Applied Practice in Context paper as part of the Postgraduate Certificated in Applied Practice.

Requirement:

Assessment Requirement : Please read the below documents, PDF'S and required book chapter. Add to your portfolio (Blog) an comprehensive personal interpretation of the following activities in relation to your student community.

  • The impact of language loss on culture and identity.
  • International and/or local initiatives that are being undertaken to address language use and revitalisation
  • The differences and similarities involved regarding the following
    • indigenous language revival
    • maintenance of migrant languages
    • the continued use of minority dialects
The impact of language loss on culture and identity.Include, where possible, a reflection on your school's commitment to celebrating language and cultural diversity. In your blog comment on new strategies that you could implement to support language maintenance and revitalisation.

Loosing a language prevents the transfer of cultural knowledge.  Many of the stories, experiences, knowledge of the environment and other aspects of culture are lost without the ability for future generations to speak the language that these were learnt in.  A person has a right to know their own language, this identifies us.  While many people speak more than one language we all identify with the language we spoke first - it's the language we think in. 

International and/or local initiatives that are being undertaken to address language use and revitalisation
At our school we celebrate the many ethnicities our students and families identify themselves as.  One such way of celebrating these cultures is our language weeks.  Each year we participate in a number of Pacific language weeks including Samoan, Tongan, Cook Island and Maori.  We also celebrate an Indian culture week, sometimes celebrated around Diwaili.  During each of these weeks classrooms participate in activities associated with that culture.  

One of our great teachers (Junior Siilata) also implemented blog video challenges where each class needed to post a on their class blog each day in order to get the reward at the end of the week.  These challenges promoted the learning of languages and sharing of culture amongst children and staff.  At the end of a language week children and staff dress up appropriately to celebrate that culture and we try very hard to have our own and other cultural groups come in and preform at the end of a week.  These special assemblies were organised by the same teacher, along with special lunches where the food of the particular culture was shared with staff and students. 

These celebrations have, I think made a real difference to our student's awareness of their own and others cultures and also have helped to build relationships between our families, teachers and students by the sharing of food, performances and language.

The differences and similarities involved regarding the following
  • indigenous language revival
  • maintenance of migrant languages
  • the continued use of minority dialects
All three of these activities need to involve the people that already speak the language and those that regularly come into contact with them.  They all need to have buy in from those that speak the language otherwise they won't work.  They're all working towards improving the economic and environmental status of those that speak the language but also the rest of the country they're in.  The knowledge that is held in a language will be lost if the language doesn't continue to be spoken. 

All three require a regular population of people speaking the language and free movement of that population to spread the use of the language.  However if the population that speak the language is too spread out the language isn't likely to survive.  

Indigenous language includes the knowledge, stories and experiences connected to the land it's spoken in.  The knowledge and experiences are really important to keep as they are about the land of that particular country.  There is environmental and economic benefit in keeping these languages alive not just in giving indigenous people an identity but in keeping alive the knowledge they have about the land and how it works.  

In contrast migrant languages don't give any more detail about the land but provide a diversity for the people of the country they are in.  They also give the people that speak them an identify an important aspect to ensure people remain happy, connected and comfortable in their new country.  

Minority dialects give smaller groups an identity and may hold knowledge that isn't known in the wider indigenous population or migrant population.  

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