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Old 03-02-2012, 12:03 PM   #1
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Girl Punished for Speaking Native Language

Just going by the story, this really pssed me off! It's appalling to me that such a thing could still happen nowadays!

http://www.greenbaypressgazette.com/...xt|FRONTPAGE|s

No offense to teachers out there, but things like this make me wonder about the education departments in our colleges and universities.

As I've mentioned in some other threads, I'm a language geek. So I tend to be kinda sensitive about such things, and crap like this makes my blood boil! So I'm gonna go off on a little screed here

We had a similar case a few years ago here in town, except it was about kids speaking Spanish. This is addressed to all the language bigots in this country. Imo:

If it is at a time when visiting in class is allowed - then it is no one's business, including the teacher's, what language you're speaking. Generally, no one should think they have the right to eavesdrop/understand a conversation that they themselves are not a part of.

I've had arguments with various people over the years about this very thing:

If you are part of a group and a subset of that group decides to converse in a language that you don't understand, then that subset is being rude. They are knowingly excluding you from the conversation. But that only applies if you are actually a part of the group - not just a bystander. If, for example, you enter an elevator where there are two people conversing in another language, and you don't know those people and are not part of the conversation, they are not being rude by continuing their conversation in the other language. You are being rude by expecting to understand a conversation you are not a part of. I am amazed at how many people I've come across over the years that think that (in the elevator example) it's rude for the others not to switch to English so that they would be able to understand a private conversation between two people they don't even know!

Now, for those of us who are fluent in more than one language, especially languages that aren't widely known - there are times we talk about others a little more openly than we should b/c we know they can't understand what we're saying (admit it, you know you've done it )! Well, that is rude. But even so, the rudeness is because we have "lashon hara"/an evil tongue, not that we're using it in another language.

I can think of certain narrow situations where there might be cause to restrict what language is used, but that doesn't seem to be the case here.

If it upsets the teacher so much and she's going to remain teaching in that area, I say she should take it upon herself to learn some Menominee (sp?). Then she wouldn't have to worry about it.


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Old 03-02-2012, 01:27 PM   #2
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Old 03-02-2012, 01:56 PM   #3
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Coming from a country that requires its citizens to be bi-lingual in French and English (and boy was that a big social engineering failure - but that's another thread), it is expected that one is able to understand both official languages and if the speaker switches back and forth, you simply have to keep up or ask later what you missed.

This teacher would fail miserably in Canada if she insisted that a Francophone kid - say a military kid whose parents came in from a Quebec base to an Manitoba base - were made to speak the language of the class at all times... the French language police would have her fired.

But punishing a kid? Seems a bit assimilationist on the teacher's part... I bet this teacher's teachables are gym and English... probably still thinks NDNs sleep with a tomoahawks under their fur pillow.
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Old 03-02-2012, 03:45 PM   #4
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I read about this three weeks ago. Someone even started a petition to get the school to apologize.

It upset me when I read about this happening. No one should get punished for speaking another language.
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Old 03-02-2012, 07:20 PM   #5
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I think the Dean is to blame as he is supposed to ensure that instructors are of the calibre fit to teach at that level. Obviously, this person is not fit to teach, and this is not just based on how much a person knows, but on their ability to be culturally sensitive to whoever attends.
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Old 03-02-2012, 08:30 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yaahl View Post
Coming from a country that requires its citizens to be bi-lingual in French and English (and boy was that a big social engineering failure - but that's another thread)...
And, my being a language geek, I would love to hear your opinions about that sometime.
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Old 03-02-2012, 08:44 PM   #7
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Ask me again when I finish this 18 week course I have to take to perfect my French Accent so when I speak French in Court the reporter can catch every word... yet the Francophone speakers who have DDDDeeeeeee thickest French accent when speaking English in Court are perfectly understood and in no need of "special" classes. Where's that freaking teacher now eh?
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Old 03-02-2012, 08:48 PM   #8
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Ah, I understand.
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Old 03-03-2012, 10:03 AM   #9
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1. If the kid, in whatever situation this was, had been instructed to use English...
2. And was guilty of other transgressions throughout the day...
3. And this is where the line was drawn?

I don't see the issue beyond knee-jerk sensitivity as, sometimes, you get nuked for a $50 crime because it's your hundredth one of the day. (sigh)

As for conversation caveats, in a classroom it's always the teacher's time not the kids'. This wasn't during recess, right?
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Old 03-03-2012, 11:52 PM   #10
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Between the lines this teacher, I'm assuming a nun? is inferring that the parenting is not good with this child, that she is disrespectful. But some of these teachers have no children or family, have never raised children and have not only unrealistic expectations of the kids but also are so immature and socially stunted that they don't realize how they come off to other people.

Basically, this instructor says this childs behavior does not meet her standards. Well, she doesn't get to necessarily set those standards. Instead, she should be focusing on how she can get every child, no matter who they are, to become involved in class to the point that there are few if any distractions. Standing in front of a class and lecturing is not an effective classroom technique. And if she had group work going on, which allows students to talk to each other and discuss while having a final goal of a presentation or some such thing, this student probably wouldn't be bored and distracted.

The best instructors have children. They know that kids are kids and trying to control them can be like herding cats. No one can be "taught" anyhow, all any teacher can do is create an environment in which all students feel comfortable enough to learn. And kids learn chaotically alot of the time.

That instructor should feel proud that that student felt comfortable enough around her to speak her native language. If I was the girl, I'd never do that again. And the teacher needs cultural sensitivity training, she is looking down on the girl and her family and judging them from a position of superiority.
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Old 03-04-2012, 12:24 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zeke View Post
1. If the kid, in whatever situation this was, had been instructed to use English...
2. And was guilty of other transgressions throughout the day...
3. And this is where the line was drawn?

I don't see the issue beyond knee-jerk sensitivity as, sometimes, you get nuked for a $50 crime because it's your hundredth one of the day. (sigh)

As for conversation caveats, in a classroom it's always the teacher's time not the kids'. This wasn't during recess, right?
Why does this not surprise me that you'd take this stance. Anyone ewho teaches in a school TODAY and doesn't know about assimilation policies of the past, residential schools etc should not take on the issue without first checking with the principal and school board.

The childishness of the teacher's response that she ought to just speak Polish to the student is just that a childsh and non-professional way to deal with classroom management.


Now about this presumption that all school children from all ethnic and linguist backgrounds are required(forced) to speak at all times in English at school... show me the board and state policy on that and I'll show a document that is probably going to removed just as the prayers, signing anthems and speaking about religion in a secular school has been.

If the teacher had been on the ball... which I think she wasn't the brightest in the box of crayons.. she would have used this as a language lesson for the class... using as many of the languages spoken by the children - including her Polish to teach rather than punish.

And btw, not all teachers at Catholic schools are nuns - their criteria up here at least is a B.Ed and Catholic where there is separate school boards.
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Old 03-04-2012, 02:28 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by muskrat_skull View Post
Well, she doesn't get to necessarily set those standards.
Not at home. In their classroom? Yes, she/he does.

Quote:
Originally Posted by yaahl
Why does this not surprise me that you'd take this stance.
The one backed by the Board by virtue of the teacher still being employed?

I don't see the issue.

Whining about this is grotesque overreaching on our part.
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Old 03-04-2012, 02:50 PM   #13
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Not at home. In their classroom? Yes, she/he does.



The one backed by the Board by virtue of the teacher still being employed?

I don't see the issue.

Whining about this is grotesque overreaching on our part.


Did you ever get secret notes from little girls or boys in school?

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Old 03-04-2012, 03:09 PM   #14
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@Zeke Are you playing Devil's Advocate here?
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Old 03-04-2012, 06:27 PM   #15
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@Zeke Are you playing Devil's Advocate here?
While I am not above it, the answer -- here -- is "no."

A teacher's ability to adequately control their classroom is an exceedingly important thing. Further, past years of any sort of repression does not give us ample reason to try to dissuade that power simply because an activity allowed at home is curtailed.

Don't like it?

Home school.
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Old 03-04-2012, 07:18 PM   #16
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@Zeke
You may be right that a teacher has the right to control her classroom but in the context of this story I think the teacher and thus the school over reacted. I can understand the teacher's initial position of how did she know that the student wasn't saying "bad words", especially about her. The same situation could be applied to a student who speaks Arabic or Chinese in the classroom who is talking, or teaching in this case, to other students in their language. The over reaction came from the fact that the teacher slammed her hands down and scolded her in front of the entire class without first asking the student what she was saying. The school over reacted by benching her at her basketball game.

Do I think the teacher needs to be fired, well if this is the only time, then no. Repeat offender - yes. I think she needs some sensitivity and cultural awareness training. We live in an ever expanding global environment and to be narrow minded and socially conservative in areas such as education is backwards thinking. I'm a believer in giving most people a second chance - the only exceptions really are murderers, child molesters, rapists, and the crooks on Wall St and in Washington.
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Old 03-04-2012, 11:25 PM   #17
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Not at home. In their classroom? Yes, she/he does.



The one backed by the Board by virtue of the teacher still being employed?

I don't see the issue.

Whining about this is grotesque overreaching on our part.
Sure Zeke, you're getting so predictable you're bordering on autonomous.

A teacher behaving in the the manner reported is unacceptable -- Period. There is no classroom management if she has to devolve to a retort to a child that she should speak in her language of Polish to see how the child likes it. Her behaviour is not by any stretch professionally accomplished and that is what I have a problem with.

The impression that she knows nothing of past treatment of First Nation and languages shows a teacher with little or no historical reference points. I would expect a teacher to also know about holocausts, genocides, wars, colonial oppressions from anywhere in the world and behave accordingly with a student who may fall into a group that has experienced any of the above. Intolerance and ignorance has no place in the classroom. It has nothing really to do with past transgressions schools have done against our languages... it is about a teacher with a loss of class room management/control, frightfully ignorant and barbarically behaved. Had she been in control, the child would have probably not spoke out. If you want to take the stance that the teacher has the right to control her class, then don't blame the kid if it just doesn't happen. No control, teacher's responsibility.

I doubt this issue is over and the teacher may still find herself looking through the trades for a new position. The teacher is still going to have to deal with the story hitting the mainstream and school boards don't like adverse publicity.
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Old 03-04-2012, 11:58 PM   #18
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Actually the teacher does not set the standard for behavior in her classroom, thank goodness. There are rules and regulations set forth by the school, the state, and the federal government to some degree. Even private schools have to abide by non-discriminatory laws, especially if they receive state and federal funding or grants and take non-Catholic kids.

Principals,governesses, or higher ranking church officials in administrative non-teaching positions are generally the disciplinarians of the school for good reason as the teachers get "burned out" on some kids and couldn't treat the kid fairly if they tried. if the teacher was having problems, she certainly could have roped in her "boss". The fact she didnt question her own impulses before acting makes me think this teacher probably acts like that all the time to people speaking other languages and feels its appropriate.

If the child is non-Catholic, she can't be expected to respect the authority of a nun in the same way a Catholic child would, nor would I, as a non-Catholic see a nun as any more holy than any other woman who attends my non-Catholic church. Every one I've known has had major problems being compassionate while having an over-inflated opinion of themselves. They are paid employees of the church and darn lucky that the congregation and parents of kids in the school pay their way in life because most of them couldn't keep a job outside of the church and frankly don't deserve the charity they receive.
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Old 03-05-2012, 12:56 AM   #19
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If the child is non-Catholic, she can't be expected to respect the authority of a nun in the same way a Catholic child would, nor would I, as a non-Catholic see a nun as any more holy than any other woman who attends my non-Catholic church. Every one I've known has had major problems being compassionate while having an over-inflated opinion of themselves. They are paid employees of the church and darn lucky that the congregation and parents of kids in the school pay their way in life because most of them couldn't keep a job outside of the church and frankly don't deserve the charity they receive.
Catholic school is a choice, if you choose to attend then the child must respect the faculty and staff regardless of religion. If you don't wish to respect the faculty then what why would you go? It reminds me of college, the university I went to was Jesuit (branch of Catholicism) and I remember every Lent season I would hear people complain about the no meat on Friday rule which the cafeteria would abide. I would turn to them and say "YOU CHOSE to go to a Catholic university!". The university didn't have anything against anyone who chooses to eat meat those days, or if they brought them in or even cooked burgers and dogs on the campus grills, they just weren't going to serve them in the cafeteria. The point being that when you choose to attend a school you must respect the faculty the same way that you would any other authority figure. Now if the faculty isn't giving you respect then thats a different story.

You are correct though, Catholic schools must abide by local, state and federal laws. They can run things a little bit differently, especially because they have exemption from certain laws about religion, food service, and how they run their class and holiday schedules.
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Last edited by Toolbox; 03-05-2012 at 12:58 AM.. Reason: forgot a couple of words
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Old 03-05-2012, 09:51 AM   #20
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A teacher behaving in the the manner reported is unacceptable -- Period.
No. A CHILD behaving in this manner is unacceptable, period.

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Originally Posted by yaahl View Post
There is no classroom management if she has to devolve to a retort to a child that she should speak in her language of Polish to see how the child likes it.
Sort of makes the point as to why the child should cease, right? It's an outstanding metaphor.

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Her behaviour is not by any stretch professionally accomplished and that is what I have a problem with.
It's perfectly acceptable and that's why she is, and still will be, employed by the Board which has backed her via a minor admission and ongoing employment.

Quote:
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I would expect a teacher to also know about holocausts, genocides, wars, colonial oppressions from anywhere in the world and behave accordingly with a student who may fall into a group that has experienced any of the above.
I would expect it to NOT influence her teaching style and NOT pander to Natives or anyone else.


Quote:
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Intolerance and ignorance has no place in the classroom.
Which is why the kid should speak English.

Quote:
Originally Posted by yaahl View Post
It has nothing really to do with past transgressions schools have done against our languages... it is about a teacher with a loss of class room management/control...
Demanding English IS classroom management and control.

Quote:
Originally Posted by yaahl View Post
No control, teacher's responsibility.
Which is, of course, why she had to address the child.

Quote:
Originally Posted by yaahl View Post
I doubt this issue is over and the teacher may still find herself looking through the trades for a new position. The teacher is still going to have to deal with the story hitting the mainstream and school boards don't like adverse publicity.
The mainstream won't care about anything beyond incessantly weak Native whining. The bigger this story becomes (if at all) the worse we will appear.

Bottom line? If the kid does as instructed, there is no issue. That's what will -- correctly -- be painted. Once again, we'll be the rubes.

Brilliant! (Not.)
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