Department of Education The Importance of Mother Language for Bilingual Students in a Multicultural Education Setting The Case of Kurdish Students in Turkey Assignment for the course IPG 100 Education in Multicultural Societies Recommendations For Parents

Department of Education The Importance of Mother Language for Bilingual Students in a Multicultural Education Setting The Case of Kurdish Students in Turkey Assignment for the course IPG 100 Education in Multicultural Societies Recommendations For Parents. For Teachers. For Policy Makers. For the Society. Conclusion References Introduction This study will showcase whether or not these goals of multicultural education are successfully being achieved in the specialized context of language, correspondingly the current situation of bilingual Kurdish students in Turkey will be examined throughout this study, as Kurdish people are the most populated and one of the most controversial ethnic minority in the Turkish Republic. Furthermore, the issue of bilingual childrens mother tongue education will be examined from different aspects such as educational policies, childrens cognitive and social development and childrens educational rights. Globalization Education in Multicultural Societies As a result of globalization of economy which led to population mobility, societies inevitably became melting pots for the various cultures of the immigrants that they welcomed, creating different minority groups and different subcultures within the prominent culture of the majority, hence formulating multicultural societies around the globe. After the American Civil Rights Movement in 1969, it became clear that it was essential for multicultural societies to be at least tolerant to diversity of race, religion, language tolerant to the different in general (Aydin, 2013). With the new socio-cultural characteristics of societies, came the need for change in various social structures, one of which was education. As the immigrant children, began enrolling in schools, the schools became multicultural educational settings with linguistic, cultural, and religious multiplicity (Cummins, 2000). Aydin (2013) defined multicultural education as follows Through different perspectives and definition from well-known scholars in multicultural education field, however, researchers including (Gay, 2000 Gorski, 2010 Nieto, 1996 Salili Hoosain, 2001) agree that multicultural education aims at teaching students to accept, understand and appreciate different culture, race, social class, religion, gender, and geographical line differences, and instill in them during their formative years a sense of responsibility and commitment to work toward the democratic ideals of justice, equality and democracy (Manning Baruth, 1996, p. 3). (pg. 278) And that is the case in Turkey as well. Education is legislatively accepted to be one of the fundamental rights of the citizens in Turkey, contrastingly the official language to be used in education by law is Turkish which neglects the massive population of Kurdish population of 12 to 16 million people whose language is banned in many public domains including educational settings except some minority schools and some universities where the language of education is generally French, English, or German (Aydin, 2015). As including linguistic minority childrens mother tongues in their formal education increases their academic achievement and cognitive development, inclusion in submersion programs (Taylor Skutnabb-Kangas, 2009) generally lead to them performing worse in school than children whose mother tongue is the dominant language (Taylor Skutnabb-Kangas, 2009). With these children we can even talk about higher rates of drop-out from school and higher unemployment in their future lives (Taylor Skutnabb-Kangas, 2009). Social Development. The loss of ones mother tongue can result in social impacts alongside the cognitive and academic impacts. This loss can be minimized when the language is actively being used by the members of the minority group besides the school environment nonetheless, in the early years of schooling, if the mother tongue is being marginalized to only certain neighborhoods, loss of the mother tongue in daily conversations can be witnessed in the early school years (Cummins, 2000). Additionally, when the student reaches adolescence the linguistic gap between parents and children becomes so big that there is now an emotional alienation from parents, home and the culture of the minority group that they belong to, as well (Cummins, 2000). When we switch from the home environment to the school environment, we can see that when the general attitude toward bilingual students is Leave your language and culture at the schoolhouse door. (Cummins, 2000, p. 4), the exclusion the child feels leads them to be less active and less confident in the school environment. In the long run, bilingual children, whose mother tongues were embraced and reinforced by their schools and consequently who had the notion of being accepted in the society as a whole, also have the opportunity to become better, more socially inclined citizens for their societies whereas the lack of acceptance from the school and the society can result in drug use, criminal activities and suicidal tendencies in the linguistic minority students who are denied education in their mother tongues (Taylor Skutnabb-Kangas, 2009). Influences on Childrens Educational Rights Denying a childs mother tongue is denying their identities of which culture is a vital aspect. The online Cambridge Dictionary defines discrimination as treating apersonorparticulargroupofpeopledifferently, especiallyin aworseway from the way in which youtreatotherpeople, because oftheirskincolour,sex,sexuality, etc. Keeping this information and the information aforementioned about how mother tongue medium education is proven to be the mere education form that ensures full social and cognitive development in mind, we can conclude that denying childrens right to being educated in their own language because they have a different cultural orientation than the majority of the public when other students who are members of the dominant ethnic group can receive education in their vernacular language is by its definition discrimination (Taylor Skutnabb-Kangas, 2009). It is stated in the Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989) that States Parties shall respect and ensure the rights set forth in the present Convention to each child within their jurisdiction without discrimination of any kind, irrespective of the childs or his or her parents or legal guardians race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national, ethnic or social origin, property, disability, birth or other status. (p. 1) Therefore, not providing an education in their mother tongue simply because they do not have the same cultural orientation as the remainder of the society violates childrens right to non-discrimination and their right to a proper education. Additionally, as mentioned before threatens the communication and consequently the relationship the child has with their parents (Cummins, 2000). When we acquire an educational approach to the matter, we can easily come to the conclusion that, a school where not just teaching but also proper education is being provided to children, students abilities and talents should be praised and nurtured, and the education should be conducted in a manner that the students existing experience and knowledge are taken into consideration and information is accumulated upon that (Cummins, 2000). Otherwise, the very core of education is being neglected. Recommendations For Parents. In the current environment, parents of bilingual children can somewhat achieve to diminish the range of language loss by creating a home environment with a language policy and by enabling their children to broaden the scope of which they use their vernacular languages via providing social circumstances where the children are exposed to their mother tongues in for instance play groups for younger children or, reading and writing exercises in that respective language for older ones (Cummins, 2000). For Teachers. The first step the teachers should take is to send affirmative messages to the children about using their vernacular languages and bilingualism after all in order to fully accept the child the teacher should accept their language as well (Cummins, 2000). Even though the official language of education might be different from the linguistic minority students mother tongues the teacher can integrate those childrens languages with various classroom activities such and encourage those students to take initiative to write and read in their mother tongues, only this way the teacher can establish an all-encompassing teaching atmosphere where the cultural and linguistic diversity linguistic minority students bring to the classroom can be fully embraced and appreciated. (Cummins, 2000). For Policy Makers. Before unveiling recommendations for policy makers within the context of multicultural education, it is critical to emphasize that in general it is the policy makers and politicians duty to create a sense of national identity which complies with the fundamental rights of all citizens with no exceptions where multicultural capabilities are enlarged (Cummins, 2000). In a more condense parameter of analysis, within the educational context, globally renowned bilingual programs of education can be implemented where minority languages are improved in literacy, programs comparable to ones in various parts of Europe such as the Foyer Program in Belgium (Cummins, 2000). Specifically speaking for the case of Turkey, keeping in mind that with the interdependent relationship the two languages have – mastering literacy in ones native language helps one to become successful in the dominant language as well- we can conclude that, if the government would like to teach the Kurdish students Turkish properly, the best way would be to organize an educational system where Kurdish is the main language of education and Turkish is thoroughly being taught (alongside the English education kids normally receive in school as well) by preferably bilingual teachers who are competent in both languages (Taylor Skutnabb-Kangas, 2009). Thereby, bilingual multicultural education (and even trilingual if we regard English education too) can be achieved. For the Society. The key aspect for the society to embrace children with multicultural backgrounds and a non-dominant vernacular language is intercultural understanding and consequently intercultural sensitivity (Perry Southwell, 2011). As long as the society as a whole is accepting of bilingual children in their communities, consequently the school environment becomes a much safer and all-encompassing place for these children. The relationship between the perceptions of the society and an accepting instructional atmosphere is truly bi-directional in the sense that the teachers, school staff, school administrators, other students who are members of the majority are elements which create the society and as the societys perceptions affect the attitudes of the school community, the attitudes of the school community to bilingual students reflects the societys perceptions whereas influencing the societys perceptions again comes down to the education system and the educational environment creating a cycle of impact. However, before acceptance comes understanding by deteriorating stigmatization. For the society, the steps to fully accepting the bilingual students are, intercultural understanding, intercultural competence, intercultural communication, intercultural training which are all attributes that are gained through multicultural education (Perry Southwell, 2015). Conclusion Children of linguistic minorities are forced to assimilate into the majority language of the country they live in all around the world and it is the current condition for Kurdish students in Turkey as well. It has been proven that this situation is a violation to many fundamental human and child rights considering the fact that receiving a proper education in ones own language is essential for both social and cognitive development and on top of it all it helps the child to learn the majority language better as well, and denying ones right to proper education because of their language can be considered to be discrimination. The reason for such a basic human right isnt granted to these children is because, the policy makers often try to create a national identity for the public and they believe that these children should be assimilated into the dominant culture if they have an intention of staying in the country, or in a much specific sense the school because in their opinion the existing of an alternative way of schooling and language threatens the very being that is the national identity. There are many things that can be done to reverse this situation and the people to take care of it are the parents, the society but most significantly the educators and the policy makers. Finally, creating an all-encompassing schooling environment for all children regardless of ethnicity, race, religion and language is the duty of the government and the school staff deriving from the school administrators to teachers, and this can be achieved in Turkey as well. References Angeli, E., Wagner, J., Lawrick, E., Moore, K., Anderson, M., Soderlund, L., Brizee, A. (2010, May 5).General format. Retrieved from HYPERLINK http//owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/560/01/ http//owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/560/01/ Aydin, H. (2013). A literature-based approaches on multicultural education.The Anthropologist,16(1-2), 31-44. Baker, C., Sienkewicz, A. (n.d.). The Care and Education of Young Bilinguals An Introduction for Professionals. Available from HYPERLINK https//books.google.se/bookshltrlridzh93dOA7hcACoifndpgPR6dqimportanceofmothertoungeforbilingualstudentsinmulticulturaleducationotsKKQeFkcTrXsig2laOlSmXuhgaE-JnyapsAWmsbaMredir_escyvonepageqffalse https//books.google.se/bookshltrlridzh93dOA7hcACoifndpgPR6dqimportanceofmothertoungeforbilingualstudentsinmulticulturaleducationotsKKQeFkcTrXsig2laOlSmXuhgaE-JnyapsAWmsbaMredir_escyvonepageqffalse Unicef. (1989). Convention on the Rights of the Child.Child labor, 8. Retrieved from HYPERLINK https//digitalcommons.ilr.cornell.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgirefererhttps//scholar.google.com/httpsredir1article1007contextchild https//digitalcommons.ilr.cornell.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgirefererhttps//scholar.google.com/httpsredir1article1007contextchild Cummins, J. (2000). Bilingual childrens mother tongue Why is it important for education. Retrieved from HYPERLINK https//doc.uments.com/s-bilingual-childrens-mother-tongue-why-is-it-important-for-education.pdf https//doc.uments.com/s-bilingual-childrens-mother-tongue-why-is-it-important-for-education.pdf Discrimination. (n.d.) In Cambridge Dictionary online. Retrieved from HYPERLINK https//dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/discrimination https//dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/discrimination h XbOx [email protected]_S,q04TNGFfrAl) wwmx- [email protected]
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