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Ye Olde English

Heather further discusses the use of language is the her home country and her current residence, and the challenges that can arise when it comes to testing. 

Ye Olde English - the classes that exist invisibly but not!

In Canada, there is a standardized test that every student must pass in order to obtain a High School Diploma. Further to the 40 hours of volunteer work that is required, students must take a literacy test in Grade 10. During the allocated time in which the test is administered, students across the country must demonstrate their abilities in reading, writing, and comprehension.

Since moving here to Australia, and picking up from the previous article I’ve written, I noted the difference in language that is often overheard in everyday life. The slang words that are used in addition to the short forms, would not be deemed ‘appropriate’ for use on such a test.

A country with such a far straying vocabulary from the origin, would create a very different sort of measuring device and dilemma in Australia. Whilst class seems non-existent in the educational system (ignoring boarding schools and other costly institutions), our tests are written for the benefit of the population and justified as a means of communicating with one another.

I feel a bit weary on using the word ‘bogan’, but when we look at someone who may use slang to conduct most of their sentences, they would differ greatly from someone who attended a school in the middle of Perth. Thus, their surroundings would affect their use of language. While arguably there’s an image that comes to mind when using this term to reference a certain individual, ‘bogan’ is used to suggest the low variation in the overall population.

I would be very curious to see how a state/country test could be administered in a way that didn’t discriminate against the various people of Australia, and other places in the world, as it brings into question equality and necessity. Is the acknowledgment of communicating abilities essential and just in allowing someone to complete their education (fully)? Whilst they can continue to complete their academics, a diploma will not be granted without a passing score on the test. I call into question and reflect on all the ESL students who I have assisted in my time, in addition to those who have limited vocabulary use in their homes with families who speak more languages.

I can understand the need for a competency test when learning in an institution where they are speaking a language foreign to their own, but to impose an English test to students already developed and administering their knowledge is a debate I’d like to explore as time continues to shift our language as it forms its own ‘life’ varying from it’s origins. (Ye Olde English)

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Tags: Heather, Canada, London, Australia

Category: Australian Teachers


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