© Francois Victor Tochon (2012)

Colonial representations of superior Self and inferior Other involving race, gender, ethnicity, class, and language, are constantly re/constructed in curricula, policies and practices related to foreign languages. Let us briefly examine the role of the Deep Approach to world languages and cultures in contexts in which systemic linguicism defined by Skutnabb-Kangas (2000), has created a situation of linguistic genocide:

  • Linguicism refers to the ideologies, structures, and practices that are used to legitimate, create, regulate, and reproduce an unequal division of power and resources (both material and non-material) between groups that are defined on the basis of language (Skutnabb-Kangas & Phillipson, 1989, p.455).
  • Linguistic genocide refers to a systemic or political situation that created and creates mental and physical harm to a minority population in transferring its children to the majority, "prohibiting the use of the language of the group in daily intercourse or in schools, or the printing and circulation of publications in the language of the group". This definition comes from the original Article III(1) of the final draft of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (E 794, 1948) of the United Nations (Skutnabb-Kangas, 2005).

The Deep Approach to languages and cultures may play the role of empowering micro-policy, forming an interface between government policies and classroom practices. It can help heritage learners broaden the scope of their native proficiency, preserving languages for which there are few sources and instructing learners about language ideologies and attitudes. Indeed minority languages are often underdeveloped in school contexts because of the lack of instructional materials. When instruction is based on educative projects, the learning teams can be in charge of gathering the materials needed for their projects, thus providing an effective solution in such contexts.

In this fashion, integrating this approach may help counteract attitudes influencing children and parents into believing that their language was worth less than the dominant language, which had a negative influence on the use of minority languages. Thus in the lack of instructional materials to maintain indigenous languages, the Deep Approach can be a response to linguistic genocide in Education. It can prove that the revitalization of minority languages is not incompatible with proficiency in the dominant language.

Excerpt from :

Tochon, F. V. (2012, in press). Chapter 8. Wisdom and Autonomy as Conditions for Deep Language Learning. In F. V. Tochon, Help Them Learning Languages Deeply! The Deep Approach to World Languages and Cultures (pp. 276-279). Blue Mounds, WI: Deep Institute Press.

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