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Should Patois Be Taught In Schools?

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: English Language
Wordcount: 3504 words Published: 25th Apr 2017

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Serious deliberation have been placed on teaching patois in schools by advocates such as professor Hubert Devonish of the department of Language, Linguistics and Philosophy at the University of the West Indies. However patois have no standard way of spelling and grammar and will only bring confusion and limits students ability to write, or express themselves in English. Notwithstanding the cultural impact it has on our Jamaican society, the debate of teaching patois in schools signifies an admission of failure. According to former Prime Minister Bruce Golding, speaking at a graduation at Kings Way High School recently, teaching patois in school would be saying, “We have failed to impart our accepted language of English so we are giving up.”

Patois does not have any place in academics or to the global society, therefore if Jamaicans need to move forward internationally, concentration, on speech, and writing in English will broaden students learning and concept of how important it will be in the long run.

Should patois be taught in school?

Listening to an interview with our track and field ambassadors, Usain Bolt and Shelly Ann Fraser, expressing themselves with precision without having an interpreter translating patois is invigorating, showing how educated enough they are and how aware of the scope of English has help their global travels. World renowned Jamaican reggae artist Bob Marley spoke in Patois, yes, but let’s not forget, his main forum for communicating was through music and the message in his music for most part was in English. Patois has been said to have been Jamaica’s native Language for the longest while but there are questions to ask before considering teaching Patois in school, which I strongly am against.

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According to the Oxford English dictionary, language is defined as the system of communication in speech and writing that is used by people. Patois however is an imitation from TWI, a language spoken by the Ashanti tribe and still spoken in much of Ghana, it is a language that is confirmed to be very difficult to write, and like Jamaican patois its meaning is more dependent on tone than structure. Legend has it that the slaves intentionally mixed TWI and English to construct patois in order to be able to speak but not interpret outside their own circle making slave masters unable to understand. Patois was never Jamaica’s first language. Jamaica originally was a Spanish speaking colony hence Spanish would be the first language, shortly after an English colony and even since independence nothing has change in that regard.

Patois has no consistency in spelling, grammar or construction rules, its vocabulary isn’t contained in any accredited dictionary, therefore, why should it be considered to be taught in schools. Jamaicans learnt it by ear and hone our skills by practice among a circle of patois speaking friends.

Education minister Hr. Ronald Thwaites had reports of results of exams showing how the practice of concentrating on writing and speaking the English language is important. Mr Thwaites strongly advise the practise of the English language by teachers, parents and students alike which he deemed would help in students achieving higher grades for, Grade Six Achievement Test (GSAT), Caribbean Examination Council (CXC) Caribbean Secondary Examination Certificate (CSEC), even for university students. Writing patois in essay would be affected by the effort to grasp it. Standard use would be by the spoken words only, which would remove it as anybody’s first language, especially to be taught in schools to children who are already struggling to write any form of English.

The theory of learning patois is just to transfer insecurities onto an age band that suffer no such uneasiness. Teaching them to enter the world with self-reliance, self-respect, self belief and self worth, would be brought together by the unified language, English. This is not to say patois has no place in our schools, it does however has a chief place in history or social studies called ‘culture’. English is a language of contact with the wider world whilst patois is not. English has become compulsory in many countries, reason being English is the language of the world, there are examples of this fact at main events in the world such as the Olympics, and where it shows English is the evading language of choice. Jamaica is a part of a global village, where the need to extricate ourselves from the third world captivity has to be our focus. Failure in the English language in schools that much focus needs to be practiced, the majority of students who fail English have grasped patois too well.

However while patois remains and will always be an essential part of Jamaican culture, English remains our official language and greater stress should be placed on teaching and speaking English especially in schools. Patois has its importance in the Jamaican perspective but has no worldwide appeal in work and play therefore it is at our advantage to do our best to teach English and use it as widely as possible. Patois does have its limits. Ironically those who feel or is advocating for patois to be taught in schools are all usually well educated, with reputable careers, thanks to their advanced communication skills in English, I rest my case.

Should College Students Wear Uniforms

Wearing uniforms in school may be considered to be a good thing. The concept of this teaches college students how to dress appropriately for a special occasion, such as for an interview. Uniforms give an installation of order and discipline within the school therefore making it relevant. It is a distinguishing mark of a school and gives student a sense of belonging, I therefore strongly agree about college students wearing uniforms.

Firstly, because it gives a sense of homogeneity. Wearing the same clothing, allows for a sense of equality. Making persons who are poor feels like they have “fitted-in” to their studying environment. Others, even the rich people, may want to find some way to fit into society, so perhaps this would be one way of doing so.

Secondly, students don’t have to choose their outfit every day, therefore minimizing those “time-consuming” decisions on choosing an outfit.

Thirdly, it gives identification. For example, if a student from Colbourne College becomes lost or have an accident, they will be easily recognizable by people in the streets or elsewhere, if the person had such a bad accident that puts that person in a state of coma and cannot respond to help, the school could be contacted for relevant information, or the school could be a link to relatives of that particular person.

However, schools are more towards education and as well as making lifelong leader. Wearing uniforms gives respect to a school. If students wear a uniform they cannot break the dress code. Buying a uniform is inexpensive, than having to be buying clothes for a day to day purpose as well as save parents who have to struggle to find tuition fee and other financial demands. Young people think too much about fashion and style. Therefore wearing uniform will take their minds off fashion and allow for better concentration on their studies and things that really matters.

Some people may say uniforms takes away ones individuality. Which is definitely not so, it is not the clothes that makes one an individual, it is the person wearing the clothes. One hundred persons can be standing in a room wearing the same outfit and still look different. How? By the way they wear their clothes, and by the way they carry themselves. That is what makes someone an individual. If persons feel like they cannot be an individual without the clothes, then they were never an individual in the first place. Having ones individuality will allow one to stand out in or out of uniforms. They can stand out in any situation, at any time, or place. Therefore advocates who are not for uniforms can stop putting so much emphasis on how clothes make the individual, because that is not true, what the advocates should do is focus on the order, and value that uniforms instils.

On the other hand, so many young people wear clothes that are too tight and too revealing. Uniforms can be a protection where that is concerned, for instance prevention of having to deal with a perverted teacher who will have indecent thoughts about a student. Therefore bordering on indecent dressing cuts down on that.

Consequently, people may argue that students can have more liberty and show off their creativity by not wearing the standard ‘boring’ school uniforms, but this may cause distraction among students. School uniforms teach students the lesson of respect and prioritizing, putting studies above fashion, since their main focus should be studying. School uniforms teach students respect and the importance to prioritize.

For these reason, I therefore conclude that school uniforms are necessary and essential because it promotes values of paramount importance. I believe that continuation to have college students wear school uniforms would be as beneficial to our community and society at large.

Task two: Descriptive writing


Your memory of a place that you visited as a child

A treasured belonging

An accident scene

A street that leads to your home or street

My memory of a place I visited as a child

Clear, blue dashing water lining the coast of St. Mary to Port Antonio, was always a captivating soothing sight for me when going on a visit as a child on holidays. The feeling of nostalgia was always overwhelming in my memories as I recall those visits. Anxiety engulf my mind that on the night before my trips as I can recall was a restless, sleepless one for a child, looking forward to visiting my aunts home, in Portland. The memories of waking up in the morning to a delicious, hot, appetizing, well cooked meal of boiled bananas with roasted breadfruit, with ackee and saltfish along with some nice warm tasty chocolate tea, was mouth watering enough for a child who wasn’t even crazy about food. After breakfast my cousin and I would prepare ourselves for our favourite daily trips to the beach that was five minutes walking distance from my aunt’s home. Those walks to the beach were always a delight for my cousin and me. The roads leading there were always packed with people who were always washing down cars, or at shop corners playing domino, or just having a friendly chat with each other, so there was always the sounds of laughter and excitement in the air while taking our journey to the beach. We didn’t mind the rocky narrow roads that led to the beach, we didn’t even notice how cruel they were, nothing unpleasant phased our journey, the rocky roads deemed pleasant for us, we didn’t even noticed how devastating the roads were, our innocent minds didn’t see the faults of how dangerous the narrow roads we travelled, could have been, with cars driving along as if we weren’t there, each time stopping and pulling ourselves to one corner of the road to allow them to pass.

Alluring and captivating sight of our destination each day always gave me a tranquil feeling as I can remember clearly. Our bag filled with load of goodies from shops we stopped and bought from tells that we had no intention to leave quickly. Music from little huts and sounds of laughter of other children playing gleefully near the shores, always reminded us that we would not be alone. The white sands under our feet, felt as if we were actually walking on carpets in our home, the clear blue water seemed to beckon us to enter its domain, and without hesitation we normally did. Calm and relaxing as I found the inviting waters, I never venture far away from the shore, never allowing the waters to pass my waist, because in my mind the sea was a entire world to itself with many secret, and has much has it drew me I always kept my stance. Taking regular breaks to stop and enjoy our sparkling sodas and tasty treats, as well as joining other children who seemed to enjoy being part of what the beach had to offer. We would normally play on swings that hung from tree branches that were found right on the sandy seashore or we would have castle building competitions of who could build the better castle faster. Before retiring from my place of solace my cousin and I would wash ourselves, in the cool sea waters which seemed to actually enjoy bathing us, as if to say, “Good bye girls see you tomorrow”. On reaching our aunts home we were always welcome by the scent of dinner which drew us fiercely to the table to enjoy what the country had to offer. Gripping childhood memories of my holiday vacations to Port Antonio was always as I distinctly remember, very much anticipated.

A treasured belonging

Have you ever had a photograph that you have treasured? A photograph of my parents together, reminding me of happier days as a family, which is a treasured belonging of mine.

Glossy and radiant with an antique finish that gives a feeling of rare treasure. Holding hands and standing by a delicious, sweet, savoury mango tree with the sun beating down on a pleasantly windy day. My mothers’ long coarse hair, blowing in the air, made her appear radiant as my father looked affectionately at her. Staring intently into each others, misty eyes. The feeling of shiny deep fondness for each other went beyond the photograph. As I glance at the photo, I reminisced at how beautiful and wonderful my parents were together making it a lasting memory of what wonderful parents I have been blessed with. Forever treasuring a pass of happy times shared together as a family.

Stolen by my thoughts of how life was through the vintage photograph of my parents, knowing this photo was part of my heart allowed solace and comfort of times passed and memories to share with my children of their roots and even of the impact it could have on our modern days, by showing them the love from that one photograph of family togetherness and love.

Holding the photograph as if it was an egg, carefully putting it away in my safe signifies how much it meant to me to hold on and cherish the memories of my parents who died several years ago, keeping them alive through the memories of a photograph.

An accident scene

As usual I got up to a bright sunny morning ready to take my customary morning walk down a frequently busy street that gives one quite a adrenaline rush to see the quivering cars and buses make their way busily, with people who needed to reach their destination without hesitation. On reaching a block away from my home a friend of mine who live on 57th street was waiting anxiously on my arrival to join me on my routine walk. Just has she was about to cross the street, suddenly a crazed van from out of nowhere knocked her right across the street where she fell exactly at my feet! Shocked at how fast it all enfold, I began screaming profuciously in a panic to be witness of someone I knew, got hit down so brutally. Bleeding from her mouth and head she laid there obviously unconscious. I shouted helplessly to passersby’s for help, begging them repeatedly to call an ambulance, not even taking notice of the van speeding away quickly. People started rushing towards the scene in panic, wanting to know if she was dead. At first I thought she was, her lifeless helpless body just lay there on the ground twisted in an unusual awkward position. All sorts of things ran through my mind at this point, I wondered how could this be, how did a seemingly wonderful day turn out to be so horrific.

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In a distance I could hear the sounds of police and ambulance sirens approaching, thinking that they have taken a bit of, what seems to be forever to arrive. Still slumped over my friends lifeless body, still crying relentlessly, hoping that god has not taken her away, a soft gentle hand held me up, pleadingly perswayed me to go with them, reassuring me that the police and paramedics are professionals and would take care of my friend. Watching steadily, with my tear torn face, as they checked her body for any unusual bleeding, and testing to see if her heart was beating on the spot, quickly adjusting her onto a stretcher to fit in the ambulance I heard one of the paramedics shouted, “she is alive!”

A street that leads to my home.

Dilapidated and fill with cries of pain, my street greeted me as I turned off onto it to get to my home. The horrific pot holes were a scene of a stolen dead body with the intestine, bladder and heart pulled out. Sometimes I wonder what tortured chamber I dissipated onto awaiting an executioner to grab me and do to me what he has done to my street. Dogs walked aimlessly along the street from bin to bin hunger stricken looking for their next meal, scattering garbage all over. There was a chill as I walked along the stretch that led to my home, the wind blew the scattered garbage and whispered softly, and making me quite aware of how lonely the street was with only me and the dogs as occupants. Dark and clouded was the street as if a storm was ready to hit and beckoning me to hurry along the stretch. Heart racing, as if in an Olympics, I hurried in anxiety of sight of home. The trees that stood sturdily along the street side told ancient stories of what should have been an exquisite neighbourhood. Buildings that faded what seemed to be centuries ago, hung on to life as if wanting to be revived and saved, making me sometimes wonder what life the street would have if help had reached in time or what stories it had to tell. Not wavering my mind too much by distraction of historic mysteries, I hurried off the street to the entrance of my home, which seemed to have saved me from a monstrous journey, making me felt relieved of a five minutes walked that seemed to last forever.

Task Three: Poetry/Comprehension

Poetry answers;

The narrator is speaking to her son child in the first stanza.

The man indicated to the woman that after reaching home he would signal her by lighting his lamp.

Occasion of the poem would be recollection of how a romance started from start to end.

The events in the first stanza took place in the late evening.

Usage of the inverted commas by the poet at the beginning and the end of the first stanza is to express or stress the time or era in her life when her romance started and how she felt.

Words that would indicate the reluctance of the man to leave the woman could be, bear, turned, pact.

The effect the writer tried to create by repeating “could not bear” is a certain type of mood that would indicate how both the man and woman felt for each other, and how much they didn’t want to be apart.

Comprehension passage

“None” in line one refers to Parillon men.

The writer rates the performance of the Parillon men by expressing how well they have done in merchandising and inter-island shipping through their generation.

The Parillon women did volunteer work instead of working for pay.

Two words or phase in the passage that showed the attitude of the Parillon women in the Tortola community are words, such as aloofness, and phase, such as, an air of superior apartness.

“Nobles oblige” is put in italics for emphasis on the Parillon women act of honor or generosity.

Two words which express the image the writer creates by the use of the word, cocooned, are;

They were thought to have lost out, gives the meaning of the women not enjoying life to the fullest by not marrying or having children.

“Whisperings” tells that the neighbours attitude towards the Parillon women were pitiable.

Task four: Summary Writing

How children should be kept healthy for school.

Children should always have a medical test for various communicable diseases and should be fully immunized before returning to school. It is an essential part of back to school and is compulsory. Being immunized helps in the prevention of transmittable disease outbreaks such as measles, mumps and rubella which are still a big killer among children.

Parents should teach children about proper hygiene consistently especially for preschoolers who often contract germs from playmates. Informing teachers of a child’s allergic reactions for food or otherwise is also a precautionary measure.

If child shows symptoms of infectious illness, irrespective of how the child may look never send a child to school until he or she is seen by a doctor.


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