I have been studying in international schools all my life, both of which encourage us to speak good English and not use our native tongue. It was even banned in my ‘international’ school in Mumbai to speak in any language other than English. Teachers shushed us any time they heard colloquial slangs that had phrases in English but hints of Hindi.
I didn’t think much of this back then, and simply thought it was a way for us to improve our English speaking skills, considering the fact that it was a second language to most of us. However, now that I am in an international school in Singapore, which actively promotes diversity, it seems strange that we were not allowed to speak in our native language in my previous school. If it truly was an ‘international’ school, shouldn’t it have been more appropriate for us to talk freely, at least in our freetimes, and not have the constant fear of a lurking teacher who would instantenously shut us down?
In my previous school, it did seem that English held a linguistic superiority over other languages. There were plenty of negative connotations regarding the use of other languages. I remember how teachers would shout, “Speak hindi with your family or outside school, NEVER inside school!” The school was seen as a place where we learnt and it was never seen to be appropriate to not speak in an ‘official’ language.