Integration: “Two -Way Street”
London School of Islamics Trust
“We’re as British as fish ‘n’ chips,” UK Muslims tell PM – Al Arabiya English
British people should think of integration as a “two-way street” and learn other languages such as Polish and Urdu, a Cambridge academic has said. Wendy Ayres-Bennett, professor of French philology and linguistics, said learning other languages is considered “something difficult and only for the intellectual elite” by many in Britain. She backed calls for immigrants to learn English once they arrive, as she warned migrant communities could develop “exclusive social networks and alternative labour markets” without learning the native language.
Prof Ayres-Bennett, who also leads the MEITS (Multilingualism: Empowering individuals, transforming societies) project promoting multilingualism, spoke out after two major reports into integration in British society, published by Dame Louise Casey and the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Social Integration. Many more English speakers should think of immigration as a ‘two-way street’ and be able to communicate in another language to aid integration and social cohesion, said academic Wendy Ayres-Bennett. The call flies in the face of two major reports into integration in British society which called on immigrants to learn English if they want to live in the UK.
“It is very important to think of integration as a two-way street,” she said. “Considering the issue from the point of view of language learning, we rightly expect immigrants to learn English but, as a nation, we often don’t see the need ourselves to learn another language, and consider it to be something difficult and only for the intellectual elite. She went on to say that society made a mistake in making significant effort to accommodate people coming in from the outside and that the onus should mostly be on immigrants themselves to adapt to British culture.
“I would like to see more opportunities for British people to learn some of the community languages of the UK, such as Polish, Punjabi and Urdu, particularly in areas where there are high numbers of those speakers, so that there is some mutual effort in understanding the others’ language and culture.
A primary school teacher asking her pupils in the classroom: What do you call a person who speaks 3 languages? Trilingual! what do you call the person who speaks 2 languages? Bilingual. And what do you call a person who speaks only one language? British!
Bilingualism is an asset but British schooling considers it as a problem. This is the main reason why 99.9% of native Brits are unable to speak any other foreign language. There are even seven million native Brits who are unable to read and write English.
Well to tell the truth it is amazing how being a bilingual or polyglot broadens the point of view on how u see the world how u understand it . Is even more painful to see what’s happening today in this world. Watching the hate brought about from peoples that don’t understand and a accept other cultures hurt each other I feel teaching of languages and cultures should be accentuated in schools to kids . Languages are gift from God. Ability to handle languages makes you confident and optimistic. In my view of point being multilingual is the best way to know the other cultures and tradition in close.. The place where I Iive more than seven languages spoken ,so it gives me the ability to grasp languages swiftly…. Speaking more than one language and knowing more than 1 language is also kind of knowledge & knowledge enlightens one’s mind.
The sound knowledge of one’s owns language would appear to help – not hinder the acquisition of a second language and bilingual children may even have cognitive advantages and that the ability to speak more than one language is going to be increasingly important for the world of the future. Therefore, Muslim children and young Muslims have potentially a major educational advantage, although sadly this is not being developed well at present. British policy makers now recognise bilingualism as an educational asset rather than a problem. Education plays a central role in the transmission of languages from one generation to the next. The teaching of mother tongues is essential in terms of culture and identity. Arabic is a religious language for the Muslims but for Pakistanis, Urdu is also essential for culture and identity. Blind Muslim children in Bradford are learning to read Arabic and Urdu Braille, by a blind teacher who travelled from Pakistan. Now blind Muslim children are not going to miss out on culture, religion, language and the social aspects and integration into their own community and identity.
I have always said, the more languages you know, the broader your cultural knowledge. Those who say you must only use one language narrow their perception of the world. Also, people who can learn languages are good at playing musical instruments. Languages should be taught more in school. When I speak in Arabic I feel like a poet and when in English, I feel like a philosopher. “This mental flexibility pays big dividends especially later in life: the typical signs of cognitive ageing occur later in bilinguals – and the onset of age-related degenerative disorders such as dementia or Alzheimer’s are delayed in bilinguals by up to five years.” We are amazed by being able to speak multilingual which is great Ever thought of the One God Creator Who made these languages.
Majority of Muslim children are from Pakistan. They must learn and be well versed in Arabic and Urdu to keep in touch with their cultural heritage and enjoy the beauty of their literature and poetry. On top of that they must learn and be well versed in standard English to follow the national Curriculum and go for higher studies and research to serve humanity. Schools do not allow Bilingual children to speak in their mother tongue. “A good grasp of one’s mother tongue is an essential base for a child who then has to get to grips with the language of their host country,” reckons Amelia Lambelet of the Fribourg Institute of Multilingualism. Therese Salzmann, an expert in multilingualism at the Swiss Institute of Youth and Media, agrees. “The teaching of mother tongues reinforces self-confidence and gives the child a feeling of security.” She adds that “taking account of a child’s double cultures is a determining factor in their social integration and professional success.” Our education system has always been fairly bad at teaching different languages. I guess the only way to ensure better linguistic skills is to be born into a family who uses more than one language during the child’s formative years.
‘Children who do not have English as their mother tongue generally perform as well as native speakers and are valued in many schools for creating linguistic and cultural diversity. Data published last year found that these pupils were now actually more likely to gain good GCSE grades in a range of academic subjects such as English, maths, science and foreign languages.’ I wouldn’t want any child in Britain to complete their education without excellent intelligible command of English – the language in which the school teaches and that of the bulk of the community in which they can make their way as an adult.
Why bother learning another language when English is the world’s language..?? Do you really think English is the world’s language? It’s only third in the list of the world’s most spoken languages. English people couldn’t learn other languages so they forced everyone to speak their language; and now confronted with their own disability with all these immigrants with multilingual tongues they lash out at the immigrants because of jealousy – the cold reality of their own linguistic shortcomings is harsh. People are speaking 10 languages and you can barely speak one. I can see why they would resent and hate immigrants. The superiority is right in your face.
Speaking English does not promote integration into British, American and Australian societies, and broaden opportunities. English speaking Muslim youths are angry, frustrated and extremist, thanks to state schools with monolingual non-Muslim teachers and English language. English language is not only a lingua franca but also lingua frankensteinia. Human right are also covers linguistic right. Cultural and linguistic genocide are very common. British schooling is murdering community languages like Arabic, Urdu and others. English is today the world killer language. Linguistic genocide is a crime against humanity and British schooling is guilty of committing this crime. Language is not just a language. It defines one’s culture, identity and consciousness. It defines how we think, communicate and express ourselves. The fact is the most South Asian Muslims have come to know Islam by way of Urdu, the children’s alienation from the language that connects them the heritage of their parents and grandparents is disturbing. As a matter of fact, one has to get to know his mother tongue well if one is to master any other language.
Bilingual Muslims children have a right, as much as any other faith group, to be taught their culture, languages and faith alongside a mainstream curriculum. More faith schools will be opened under sweeping reforms of the education system in England. There is a dire need for the growth of state funded Muslim schools to meet the growing needs and demands of the Muslim parents and children.
There are hundreds of state primary and secondary schools where Muslim pupils are in majority. In my opinion all such schools may be opted out to become Muslim Academies. This mean the Muslim children will get a decent education. Muslim schools turned out balanced citizens, more tolerant of others and less likely to succumb to criminality or extremism. Muslim schools give young people confidence in who they are and an understanding of Islam’s teaching of tolerance and respect which prepares them for a positive and fulfilling role in society. Muslim schools are attractive to Muslim parents because they have better discipline and teaching Islamic values. Children like discipline, structure and boundaries. Bilingual Muslim children need Bilingual Muslim teachers as role models during their developmental periods, who understand their needs and demands.
The Casey review and the APPG’s report highlighted the need for more English language classes to reach communities that predominantly speak other languages. Prof Ayres-Bennett said the reports reinforced the importance of languages in social cohesion as she supported their recommendations for immigrants to learn English. “Without English, immigrants are likely to develop exclusive social networks and alternative labour markets,” she said.
“For most people, language is at the very heart of their identity. “We need to respect and celebrate this and to see English as adding to their multilingual and multicultural identities, rather than trying to force immigrants to suppress or even lose their home language and culture.” “Even a basic knowledge would be beneficial, which might be acquired formally or through engaging in joint community projects.
In my opinion, native Brits and Muslim children must learn Arabic and Urdu to make Muslims feel at home. The teaching of these languages will help native Brits to understand the needs and demands of the Muslim community and healthy community relations. It will help Muslim children to keep in touch with their cultural heritage and enjoy the beauty of their literature and poetry.
I live in a very multi-cultural area but the races rarely interact. One road is entirely populated by the Asian community, with sari shops and Indian gold sold. Rarely do you see any other race walk down it. On the high street there are a number of polish shops sprouting up. When I hear people passing by talking, it is never the English language. Immigrants do not think it necessary to integrate. Polish stick with Polish, Indians stick with Indians. It will never change no matter what the government say.
Why complain when it’s the British who first migrated into other lands enslaving those people? When it is a question on immigration, the feelings are so strong. I wonder why. Serves you right! Britain! When the British colonised the world, it was ok. But now when people from the former colonies and from other countries come to Britain, its not ok?
During colonial days, British did not follow local customs or culture. They didn’t exactly “go native”. They even forced the native Americans and native Australian to adopt all the evils of their culture and customs. They are still the underdogs of American and Australian societies. At least Australian Prime Minister apologised to the natives for their evil deeds. Brits living in Spain and France don’t even bother learning the language of the new adopted country.Frankly suggesting that people don’t want to become “British” they should move elsewhere is extremely irritating. Immigrants are in UK because they are needed, it was never an act of charity. Without migration, British economy and society will bleed to death. British culture and customs will undoubtedly change as it has for millennium due to immigration. I am not quite sure why Brits would be worried about that.
The linguistic abilities of large number of Muslim children were being ignored because they had to learn another European language as well as mastering English. The Government must promote the status of Arabic/Urdu languages instead of languages of European origin. Tim Benson, head of Nelson primary school in Newham said that the “nationalistic curriculum failed to recognize the staggering array of linguistic abilities and competencies” in schools such as his, where the pupils spoke more than 40 languages. The linguistic dexterity of families speaking an array of languages was celebrated but the “awesome achievements” of children mastering three or four languages were barely recognised by the education system. Social and emotional education comes with your own language-literature and poetry. A DFE’s document clearly states that children should be encouraged to maintain and develop their home languages.
A study shows that bilingualism is a positive benefit to cognitive development and bilingual teacher is a dire necessity and is a role model. The price of ignoring children’s bilingualism is educational failure and social exclusion. Bilingualism could be developed by bringing a partner from Pakistan. The kids will get better at both languages. One will speak English while the other will speak Urdu.
Stop treating foreigners like garbage and they will stop ruining your precious country. Why did you let them in in the first place if you didn’t want them here? They left everything in their countries because of your promises. Are you so anxious to please that you can’t say “no”? I would love to see you go to a foreign land where you don’t have any friends, you don’t even know anyone and you don’t speak the language, and start from scratch. I would just LOVE to watch you do that. Let them integrate and stop segregating them. What I want is people being nice to each other. I don’t care about race.
London School of Islamics Trust