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Discrimination against bilinguals

(9 Posts)
Bobochic Mon 14-Nov-16 17:56:55

This is an issue I have encountered surprisingly often and it is usually perpetrated in innocence by well-meaning but misinformed individuals with stereotypical anec-data. However, I have recently been dismayed - even disturbed - to discover that the British Council in Paris has institutionalised discrimination against bilingual children by obliging them to work one year behind the English national curriculum versus their age when taking Bilingual English classes, designed for bilingual DC who attend mainstream French schools. The rationale is that bilingual DC have a whole host of language issues such as confused spelling, poor syntax, limited lexicon and therefore cannot possibly be up to following age appropriate NC English classes. Yet, manifestly, many bilingual DC do not have any such language issues but the British Council refuses to countenance that.

I am actually shocked. Replace bilingual by black, woman etc and it sounds just like all the sorts of discrimination we are all aware of.

Madamfrog Fri 09-Dec-16 19:30:23

This seems extraordinarily dim of them. Is it the année civile vs academic year thing? Maybe they are putting them in the 'right' year for their age in the UK (grasping at straws). But why don't they just do a placement test to see where to put them? For what it is worth this would drive me mad, I am bilingual as are my children, but in my experience there are many supposedly bilingual children who aren't at all what I'd call properly bilingual. In fact I know many who should be perfectly bilingual and aren't very good at French OR English, which is terrible, really.

Sobachka Fri 09-Dec-16 19:57:55

many bilingual DC do not have any such language issues

In my experience, bilingual children often have stronger language skills than their monolingual peers... but that's beside the point.

You're right Bobo, the policy is plain discriminatory.

Why not simply assess each student to establish appropriate level of study?

MarjorieSimpson Fri 09-Dec-16 20:05:11

Actually I can see where it is coming from.

I'm assuming that they are going with the principle that French is their strong language and that English is the weaker language.
Onthat ground, they are also assuming that the level of English will not be as good as their English counterpart whose English is their strong language.

And TBH, my experience with bilingual children is that, yes they are usually behind in their weaker language for the simple reason that they don't use it as much.

MarjorieSimpson Fri 09-Dec-16 20:06:05

I wouldn't call that 'language issues' though as these children do NOT have specific language problems that might be requiring SALT etc...

OhtoblazeswithElvira Fri 09-Dec-16 20:12:51

Children should be assessed based on their individual ability. I imagine their circumstances vary wildly - as in language of the home, language they've been schooled in previously etc.

What a ridiculous policy hmm

Sobachka Fri 09-Dec-16 20:13:07

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

MarjorieSimpson Fri 09-Dec-16 20:45:33

I agree on principle that children should be assessed.
I'm not sure how it would work practically. I suppose it depends a lot of on how the teaching is set up, e.g. Are we only talking about teaching English according the the English curriculum or about teaching other subjects in English?

It is also worth remembering that some children will much more behind that one school year worth.

I just don't see that as being a discrimination iyswim.

sakura06 Mon 17-Apr-17 07:19:44

That does sound like an odd situation. Children in Welsh-medium schools stay in their age-appropriate year. But then I suppose the media in the U.K. is dominated by English. The level of Welsh you study for GCSE is based on your ability in the subject.

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