Tue | Jun 19, 2018

Teaching Patois undermines poor

Published:Monday | April 18, 2011 | 12:00 AM


The current debate over teaching Patois in schools is much ado about nothing. What do the pro-Patois-teaching proponents hope to gain from this? These are all well-educated professionals who could not have graduated with PhDs without being firmly grounded in the English language. So then, why shouldn't the children of the poor, who I suspect are the intended targets, not benefit likewise?

I use that demographic because I can't see this being suggested of the children of the well-to-do. It is bad enough that the failure and dropout rate is what it is, why make it any worse?

get practical

I suggest that if we are so concerned about the achievements of our students, we should work together to find sound practical ways to teach English, which is our language of communication with the rest of the world. This means that the teachers' colleges will prepare teachers as specialists in English, which should be the language spoken in these classes, just like Spanish is spoken in a Spanish class.

No one has to teach a Jamaican child Patois; that is natural. However, the international language is English, and we are part of the global village. We do not conduct our international businesses in Patois, we do so in a number of other major languages, including Chinese. If one should suggest we teach Chinese as a second language to English, I would say go for it, but not Patois.

Patois is a very unique and colourful dialect and should be preserved and protected, but should not be used to limit the potential of our people.

I am, etc.,