Type: Analysis
Pages: 8 | Words: 2159
Reading Time: 9 Minutes

In the article “Mother Tongue”, Chinese-American author Amy Tan talks about the different kinds of “Englishes” that she and many non-native Americans use in their daily life. Also, Tan’s personal observations and facts concerning the different English languages she hears in her surroundings are described in the article. Moreover, the author regards her mother’s English as “broken” English and highlights problems that her mother has been facing because of not being able to speak perfect English. “Low level of English” meaning grammatically incorrect and limited word English used in immigrants’ families influences the perception of the person in the society and tends to limit the possibilities in his or her life. This treatise will strive to demonstrate how a low level of English limits one’s possibilities in life; however, it is not always the case.

One important aspect pointed out by Tan is the issue of foreign students’ academic performance. She argues that the level of literacy in a family plays a vital role in the child’s physical and mental development. The author has noticed that Asian-American students who were raised in the families with a low level of English are significantly better in Science, Mathematics, and other engineering subjects than in English. I have also observed that many foreign students whose English is not very good focus their attention on the development of skills in the subjects that do not need deep knowledge of English. For example, I am limited to Mathematics and Science by my low level of English. My parents are both illiterate; I graduated from Nepali-medium high school, so I did not get good chance to learn English from in childhood. Now, I am majoring in Exact Science, because Mathematics and Science are easier to me than English and other literature subjects. Tan, on the other hand, finds herself in some sort of dilemma when she tries to balance her professionalism with her roots. She finds out that she cannot use proper and grammatically correct English with her mother as this would be imposing on her given the 20 years or so they have conversed without any apparitions. Her self-consciousness comes out despite her husband’s presence and his obvious following of their conversation; he does not even notice this minute error.

Moreover, the author claims that even though her mother can read, others do not understand her English without correct grammar. Additionally, Tan discloses the fact that her mother did not get good customer service in department stores, at banks, and at restaurants just because she could not speak perfect English; her mother was not treated seriously or even was ignored. I agree with Tan’s opinion about the existence of bias against people whose English is simple or, as Tan stated, “broken”. I often witness similar cases of indifference and disrespect to people who speak illiterately. For example, when I used to work for Starbucks at O’ hare airport, once, I had seen one of my co-workers being rude and mad to a customer who did not speak English well and was unable to tell what exactly he wanted. Thus, low level of English may limit person form getting good customer service.

Tan writes, “I think my mother’s English almost had an effect on limiting my possibilities in life as well.” However, she took challenges and showed her intelligence. Unlike many English-speaking Americans who are not natives, she loved English subject more than Mathematics and Science. Later, she wrote her famous book “The Joy Luck Club” targeting readers like her mother who speak differently, but thoughtfully and passionately. The book has the depth and the accuracy of thoughts written in language that Tan grew up with. Now, she is renowned as a writer. I really admire positive perception of Tan. Her mother’s English did not affect her negatively; instead, she got a good lesson. Not to encounter problems like her mother is facing now, she worked hard and became an incredible woman. Thus, the low level of English just only tends to limit the possibilities in one’s life, but it is not always so. Tan serves as an epitome of proof that an individual’s background is not a curse and that with a little self-motivation, one can be among the best. This owes to the fact that, despite her poor English background, she mastered the language to the extent where she is able to publish a comprehensible book for all and sundry. In retrospect, she does not forget where she comes from.

To conclude, it is very hard to live a happy life in a community without being able to communicate effectively with people. One has very high chances of being violated and ignored when asking for service if he or she has poor English. Amy Tan, who is Chinese-American, did not become a victim of the stereotypes associated with the inability to develop high success in the English language. On the contrary, Tan became a renowned and successful writer. Therefore, inability to initiate the step to struggle and to take a challenge, and to defend the rights to be an equal member of the society is the greater problem than that of not knowing English perfectly.

Importance of a College Degree

In the article “Should the Obama Generation Drop out,” Charles Murray gives credence to Obama’s sentiments concerning the refining of post-secondary education. Murray asserts that most of the nation’s youths are unemployed because many employers necessitate a bachelor’s degree as a pre-requisite for (a) job qualification. Murray argues that the large majority of people either lack the intellectual ability to pursue a college education, or lack the financial prowess to pursue the same. As such, the imposing of a bachelor’s degree as a job qualification is not a legitimate policy. As (Murray 1) asserts, it is of quintessence that Obama uses his bully pulpit as a platform with which to undermine the bachelor’s degree as a job qualification. As Murray further observes, certification tests will be appropriate to assess an applicant’s talents that an employer needs. In my opinion, a college degree leads to a better career and is essential in the work field and for the economic stability of the country.

To begin with, certification tests can be a substitute for intelligent people who are unable to attend college owing to financial impediments. However, the substitution of a bachelor’s degree by certification tests for a job qualification does not necessarily resolve the country’s unemployment woes. If a job requires a level of skills, knowledge, or disciplines equivalent to that of bachelor’s degree, then certification tests should cover a same level of education. Thus, there is very rare chance for an applicant to pass the certification test if he or she had not attended college up to the bachelor’s degree. According to a report by The Guardian, Men and women show radically different developments regarding their intended future careers. At the beginning of their studies, 72% of women express an intention to pursue careers as researchers, either in industry or academia. Among men, 61% express the same intention. On the other hand, people go colleges to seek a better career opportunity and to meet the criteria of jobs that they are dreaming of. Thus, if the bachelor’s degree is discarded as a job qualification, then people will stop going to college. As a result, a huge number of college teachers will be unemployed, and that will affect the economic stability of the country. This owes to the fact that, the residential college that leads up to a bachelor’s degree after four years augurs well only with those with deep pockets. Similarly, it tends to favor top students from diverse backgrounds with an affinity for academics. In view of this, not many a young people hail from such financially well off and some are not always at the top of their class. Regardless of this, they desire to get a satisfying job that is well paying. This translates to the need for a post-high school education, and eventually a bachelor’s degree. According to a report by The World bank, jobs are a cornerstone of development, with a payoff far beyond income alone. They are critical for reducing poverty, making cities work, and providing youth with alternatives to violence.

Subsequently, as opposed to discarding the bachelor degree as a job qualification, the curriculum of the institutions can be changed to suit the need of our country. In the article “Blue-Collar Boomers Take Work Ethic to college,” the author Libby Sander suggests that the community colleges should review their curriculum to respond the large influx of baby-boomers to colleges. According (Sanders 8) community colleges should offer flexible classes, credit for prior learning or work experience, job oriented programs, life enrichment courses and support service. These changes in the curriculum of colleges and large influx of baby-boomers to colleges after working hard in heavy-labor jobs for decades will add new jobs in community colleges, and create vacancies in labor jobs. Similarly, as observes, the image of aging boomers as prosperous pre-retirees eager to repair to the golf course belies a much more complicated portrait. A sizable demographic of people will require some sort of retraining in order to keep working and keep the paychecks coming in.

I disagree with Murray’s view that higher education is very complicated task for an average person without special talents or intellectual abilities that only gifted students can cope with because, as the fact that many motivated baby-boomers who worked heavy labor jobs for a long time, and came back to college are doing well. For a majority of the youth, the predicament herein lies in that, the making of a bachelor’s degree a prerequisite for a job application translates to demanding a credential that is way beyond their reach. Per se, most of these lack the intellectual prowess to go through a college education. Of course, the rapid development of high technology has made the task more challengeable for such students. However, they are even more persistent in studying than youngsters because they do not have plenty of time to fail examinations and to take the class again. In the article Sander quotes Mr. Hill, “I do not have time to fail the exam, because I do not have time to make it up. I have to get it right the first time.” Thus, if a student is strongly motivated to study, then he or she will successfully acquire the skills, knowledge, and talents, which will lead him to a good career. Practically apply in the work field. It is of quintessence of a candidate to communicate a pattern of interests and skills that relate to the position in question. This is not true; there is no motive behind employers asking applicants on qualifications that do not apply in the work field. This implies that people do not need training for technical jobs like engineering, driving, and other important jobs that hold people’s lives at stake. We have seen or witnessed of collapsing buildings due to unqualified engineers, supervisors and construction workers. Papers are very important for any job seeker in the job market. Moreover, I believe that for employers to get an employee is as hard as for an applicant to get a job. There will be always need of highly-qualified specialists in any field and one cannot get that job without the college degree. As Murray notes, Readers who graduated with honors in English literature or Renaissance history should ask themselves if they could have gotten a B.S. in physics, no matter how hard they tried. In the article, Sander quotes Jan Abushakrah, a sociology professor of Portland Community college, “there’s this image that older students are only coming to college for life enrichment, but recent survey of older students says that more than three-quarter of them came back to school to find a job or a new skill to keep a current job.” In the other words, few older students come to college for life enrichment, but majority of them felt the importance of education and skills in the work field, and they are compelled to join college to earn knowledge and skills, either to keep their job or to find a new better job. Thus, college degree is very essential for the better career.

To sum it up, holding the certificate of college degree means getting rid from the entry-level jobs and having opportunities for better careers. A college degree is very essential in work field, and is not a hard task if one tries with strong motivation. For the economic stability of the country, bachelor’s degree must be kept as a job qualification. However, it is important to review the curriculum of the institutions time to time as per the need of country. Certification tests that cover knowledge up to a bachelor’s degree can be an option for a job qualification for those who are deprived from getting formal education. One’s effort to pursue the college degree is great investment which will reap with best rewards.

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