In Switzerland there have recently been demands to improve pupils' first-language competence (Erstprachkompetenz) by ensuring that correct use of the first language is cultivated consistently in all subjects, not just in classes devoted to German, French, Italian or Romansch, i.e. all teachers should act as language norm transmitters. After discussing the specific sociolinguistic situation in germanophone Switzerland, I examine critically this aspect of teachers' work against that background and make suggestions how teachers can (and should) fulfill that role. Studies of German teachers in Germany have shown that, although they have positive attitudes towards standard German as an idea(l), there is nevertheless substantial disagreement amongst them as to how the standard should be realised in practice. If that is the case amongst subject specialists then we are justified in asking how realistic it is to expect teachers whose specialism is in another subject to be competent to transmit the necessary (socio)linguistic abilities. I will also discuss how prescriptive teachers should be and how their role is affected by the enormous range of linguistic diversity that characterises present-day society. Many of the issues will also be relevant to DaF teachers outside Switzerland or Germany.
|German as a Foreign Language
|Cyhoeddwyd - 2011