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Title: Exploring Singlish as a pedagogical resource in the ELT classroom: implementing bidialectal pedagogy in Singapore
Authors: Lu, Luke
Keywords: Humanities::Language::English
Issue Date: 2022
Source: Lu, L. (2022). Exploring Singlish as a pedagogical resource in the ELT classroom: implementing bidialectal pedagogy in Singapore. TESOL Quarterly.
Project: IRB-2018-05-045 
Journal: TESOL Quarterly 
Abstract: Despite the prevalence of Singlish use among the Singaporean public, the vernacular is often seen as “bad English” without rules and grammar, or cast as an impediment to learning the standard register (Wee, 2005). This rhetoric is reproduced by the state (Chang, 2016), often involving the fear that speakers are unable to distinguish and deploy the two varieties appropriately. It is therefore unsurprising that bidialectal strategies involving Standard English and Singlish have never been officially endorsed by the state in its ELT classrooms. This is despite the suggestion for intervention in schools the last 20 years (Alsagoff, 2016; Fong, Lim & Wee, 2002; Tupas, 2018). This study presents findings from a definitive attempt at implementing such bidialectal pedagogy in Singapore in a mainstream secondary school. The study involved strategies for teaching Standard English and Singlish as two separate registers appropriate for specific contexts. Lessons were 1 hour per week, over 8 weeks, and were taught to two classes of 13-year-old Secondary One students. In the study, students were able to negotiate and contest the appropriateness of Singlish in specific situations, while deploying Singlish and Standard English features appropriately in written tasks (i.e., designing advertisements for various products). This suggests that Singlish can be a useful pedagogical resource in the development of critical language awareness (Alim, 2005), and that prevalent discourses surrounding the use of Singlish and Standard English by Singaporean students severely underestimate the proficiencies that they possess.
ISSN: 1545-7249
DOI: 10.1002/tesq.3148
Schools: School of Humanities 
Rights: © 2022 TESOL International Association. All rights reserved. This paper was published by Wiley in TESOL Quarterly and is made available with permission of TESOL International Association.
Fulltext Permission: embargo_20240502
Fulltext Availability: With Fulltext
Appears in Collections:SoH Journal Articles

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