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August 22, 2011 / andreasterzuk

Montreal Teacher with a rural French variety told to teach in the country?

In my research in schools and universities, I regularly come across students, teachers, administrators, and professors who feel comfortable talking about “proper’ or ‘broken” English and who believe that some Englishes are better suited to certain tasks such as teaching and learning.  In our politically correct world, linguistic discrimination continues to be socially accepted in ways that other forms of discrimination are not.

This morning, I read this article about a Montreal teacher who speaks Lac-Saint-Jean French. The teacher’s contract with her Montreal school was not renewed and she was told by her school principal that certain parents, as well as the principal herself, weren’t comfortable with her accent. The principal went on to say that this teacher “didn’t speak like people here” and that this teacher should be in a rural setting.

Efforts to limit linguistic heterogeneity should not be confused with upholding educational standards. If a school administrator feels justified in this type of discriminatory practice towards an adult with agency, how does a school under this administrator’s guidance respond to the linguistic diversity of its students?

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