1. Should non-standard varieties of English be used in education?
Some educators believe that teaching students in the standard variety of their
language is beneficial as it provides a universal mode of communication.
Others believe that students are best served by education taught in their own
variety of a language, even if it is non-standard. Choose and defend a
position in this debate, making sure to explore the benefits and drawbacks of
your choice. Focus on a single non-standard variety of English (e.g. AAVE),
and evaluate specific benefits and drawbacks of your chosen position from
the perspective of both speakers of this variety and educators.
2. Is bilingual acquisition beneficial?
Some educators and other professionals believe that the simultaneous
acquisition of two languages is confusing for an infant or young child and
may delay acquisition of both languages. Others hold the view that not only
is simultaneous language acquisition not confusing, the process of learning
two languages at the same time is beneficial for the process of acquiring
both. Review research on language acquisition with particular focus on
bilingual acquisition. What are the advantages and disadvantages of early
bilingual acquisition? Which position is more compelling?
3. Is language innate or just part of general cognition?
The specific way that we acquire language is a contentious debate in the
field of linguistics. Some researchers believe that humans are born with an
innate, specialized mental module which facilitates the acquisition of
language in young children. Other researchers believe that language
acquisition occurs through general cognitive capabilities that are not
necessarily language-specific. For this topic, you may either a) Choose a
position in this debate and defend your position, or b) based on your
research into these two sides...