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COMMENTARY: Why do French and Spanish language teachers reflexively do a better job at inculcating English than English Language teachers do to West Indian Students?

It may appear unconventional, yet as a polyglot, I have discovered that my proficiency in English has been significantly enriched through my study of foreign languages such as French and Spanish. The depth of my English comprehension was notably and thankfully influenced by French language educators like Mr. Foggy Burrowes, Mr. Douglas Forrest, and Mr. Insan Ali, surpassing the impact of numerous English language instructors, with the exception of Mrs. Sybil Prescod and Dr. Eddie Bough who did a tolerably good job on my young head.

In my role as a college mentor primarily assisting Sixth-Form students, I consistently receive feedback from my perceptive students that they glean a greater understanding of English language usage from their foreign language instructors than from traditional "English Language" teachers in Jamaican high schools. This unique, evidence-based observation continues to intrigue me, my learned friend.

What is the explanation?

by Dennis A. Minott, PhD.

March 23, 2024

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