Communication and Language

Surmounting the Barriers to Cross-cultural Understanding

Edited by:
Alexander S. Yeung, University of Western Sydney
Elinor L. Brown, University of Kentucky
Cynthia Lee, Hong Kong Baptist University

A volume in the series: International Advances in Education: Global Initiatives for Equity and Social Justice. Editor(s): Elinor L. Brown, University of Kentucky. Rhonda G. Craven, University of Western Sydney. George McLean, Catholic Universities of America.

Published 2013

Communication and Language play a foundational role in the overall pursuit of equity and social justice in education. This volume does not take up the majority and dominant views which are especially visible in developments in the field of linguistic education and English language instruction. Rather, it travels the path less followed, to attend to the language and communication concerns of populations that possess little political and economic power and whose academic and social needs are often neglected. The volume attends to the role of language acquisition in “levelling the playing field” to enable ALL students to develop into contented family members, good neighbours, and productive citizens in an increasingly diverse and global society.

The issue takes on far greater importance, as it gradually comes to light that the capacity for language corresponds to and even implements the ability to interrelate with others. Far from being a mere utilitarian tool this is now appreciated as constituting the realm of abilities to take the position of the other, to share a field of meaning, and to project and pursue truly humane and indeed inter-humane attitudes and goals. In this light communication and language, whether verbal or preverbal, constitute the field in which one first attains and progressively evolves one’s humanity.

In this volume, scholars from ten different countries examine issues related to the influence of language and communication patterns on equity and social justice in the lives of disadvantaged and marginalized populations around the globe (i.e., educational opportunities, community stability, economic prospects, and political power). Critical issues addressed include: education in traditional, national, or Western languages; language integration through dialects and code switching; non-verbal academic engagement through art, signing, and photography; cross-cultural engagement through language equity in higher education; and the influence of Western language acquisition on the self-concepts of disadvantaged students. As the succession of sections in this volume makes clear, success in the realization of language and communication abilities is not simple. Rather it reflects human life and interaction in all its complexity.

Foreword, Lourdes Diaz Soto. Series Introduction: Communication and Language, Elinor L. Brown, Rhonda C. Craven, George McLean. Volume Introduction, Elinor L. Brown and George McLean. PART I: DOMINANT OR TRADITIONAL: WHICH LANGUAGE TO USE? Local Language of Instruction for Quality Learning and Social Equity in Tanzania, Zehlia Babaci-Wilhite. Linguistic and Social Equity for Yughur and Kyrgyz National Minorities in Northwest China: Disadvantages of Either–Or Choice Between Dominant-Language Submersion and Mother Tongue Education, Stephen A. Bahry and Rakhat Zholdoshalieva. Private Language Management in Singapore: Which Language to Practice and How, Xiao Lan Curdt-Christiansen. The Voice of the African Traditional Healer: Implications for Cross Cultural Educational Practices, Lynne Radomsky and Lisa Lopez Levers. PART II: LANGUAGE INTEGRATION FOR SOCIAL JUSTICE EMPOWERMENT. Language, Culture, and Communication: A Review of the Challenges Facing NESB Migrants in New Zealand, Mingsheng Li. Chinglish: An Interlanguage with Inherent Communicative Challenges for Chinese English Language Learners, Pierre Orelus and Wenjie Wang. Social Justice Education in the Language Classroom and Beyond, Nicole Benson. PART III: PROMOTING ENGAGEMENT THROUGH NON-VERBAL COMMUNICATION. Creating Language in a Vacuum: Deaf Children as Creative Communicators, Barbara Gerner de García. Auto-Photography and Captioning: Nonverbal Communication Tools, Elinor L. Brown. Art as Language, Pedagogy, and Method: Promoting Learning Engagement for Young African Refugee Migrant Students in Urban Australia, Felicity McArdle and Jennifer Pei-Ling Tan. Modes of Representation as Meanings for Second-Language Learners in Hong Kong, Tat Heung Choi. PART IV: CROSSCULTURAL COMMUNICATION: REMOVING BARRIERS TO EDUCATIONAL EQUITY? Immigrant Students: Barriers and Facilitators to Understanding in a New Socio-Linguistic Setting, Karen Nicholas, Jo Fletcher, and Faye Parkhill. Teaching ELLs in the USA: Toward a Pedagogy of Social Justice and Empowerment, Davi S. Reis and Lisa Lopez Levers. Epistemic Justice and the Communication of Non-Western Theoretical Tools: Advancing the Internationalization of Research Education, Michael Singh and Guihua Cui. The Pragmatics of Non-Compliance by Tertiary Cantonese Learners of English, Cynthia Lee. PART V: COMMUNICATION PROFICIENCY AND THE SELF. Self-Concepts of Englishspeaking and Non-English-Speaking Students in an English-Speaking Country, Alexander Seeshing Yeung. A Dual Disadvantage? Examining the Academic Self-Concept of Students with Learning Difficulties, Danielle Tracey. About the Authors. Reviewer Acknowledgements.