Tools of Language and Culture: Transforms the Dialectically Diverse Classroom
- Vernacular dialect children bring to school has been a concern for many years.
- English teachers have a responsibility to students who speak what is considered "nonstandard" English.
- Children who speak in a vernacular dialect are not making language errors; they are speaking in the language of their home discourse community.
Traditional Language Arts Methods Fail Many African American Students
- African American students were performing lower than white students
- African American students scored 36 points lower than white children on average
- Many African American students speak a language variety - African American Vernacular English (AAVE)
- Results of various studies area inconclusive on whether contrast of dialect structures itself hampers language-minority children in reading standard English.
- Teachers are likely to consider a child speaking AAVE as lower, less able,and less intelligent that the child who speaks standard English.
Code Switching: Language Acquisition
Traditional Responses to Language Varieties: Correction Does Not Work
- Generations of Black English speakers have been subjected to "correction" programs that have not worked.
- Telling or teaching students that their language is wrong or bad is not only damaging, but false (Christenbury 2000 p. 203) .
- A different response to language becomes possible once we recognize that language comes in different varieties and styles.
Key Notions From Applied Linguistics
How to work with language in the classroom: dialect, language variety, style, and register.
- Language is structured
- Language avers by circumstance of use
- difference is distinct from deficiency
Discovering a New Vantage on Language in the Classroom
Study of performance across two kinds of college writing classrooms:
- Traditional English techniques
- Explicit discovery by contrasting the grammatical patterns of AAVE and SE
Moving from correction to contrast:
- A third-grade classrom
- Formal and informal
- Differentiation between AAVE and SE
- Comparing and contrasting the languages
- Language varieties by region