// Mulilingual Britain
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Iftikhar
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« on: Oct 23, 2009 10:12 PM »



 
Multilingual Britain
The miracle of human variety is in danger of disappearing, if all of us speak alike, dress alike, eat the same food, read the same fiction and enjoy the same music. It would be a great loss to our colourful planet. Public sector needs a multilingual work force. Teachers and police officers can help with race relations in the classroom and in the community. Public sector is seeking multilingual recruits to serve multicultural Britain. The ability to speak languages from Arabic to Urdu is considered to be an asset. Linguistic skills, in addition to the usual entry criteria, will boost the number of recruits in teaching, police, medicine, nursing and the civil service. Bilingual teachers, police officers, doctors and nurses are in a better position to serve the bilingual Muslim community.  The language system has been used successfully in the United States. Mary Doherty at TTA, points out those bilingual teachers can be particularly welcome in state schools for bilingual pupils. Various studies show that bilingualism increases overall intelligence. Monolingualism leads to isolationist and inward thinking.

Exposure to different languages and cultures can increase tolerance. Language learning in childhood lays the foundations for developing real fluency in that language. Every child should have the opportunity to study a foreign language and develop their interest in the culture of other nations. Languages can be seen as an important way of putting more fun into primary learning and of broadening the children experience. Learning a second language boosts your intellectual powers by physically increasing the number of nerve cells in the language centres of the brain. A study at University College London shows that the brains of bilingual people are structurally enhanced compared to the brains of people who can only speak one language. The effect is even more marked in people who learnt a second language before they were five. Speaking a second language is like having access to another world. No other subject expands mental horizons in the same way. In an ordinary inner city school in England, nearly 100 languages are spoken, yet still essentially this is still a monolingual nation. London is the most multicultural city in the world with over 300 languages spoken everyday.

Bilingual Muslim children need state funded Muslim schools with bilingual teachers as role models during their developmental periods. All state schools where Muslim pupils are the majority should be designated as Muslim community schools. They are in a better position to provide balanced education by teaching the National Curriculum along with Arabic, Islamic studies, Urdu and other community languages. An Islamic atmosphere will help to develop Islamic Identity crucial for mental, emotional and personality development.
Iftikhar Ahmad

 
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