Social and Philosophical Foundations of Education

Ebonics & other Dialects of the American English Vernacu
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Author:  Jennifer Redmond [ Sun Oct 26, 2008 12:28 pm ]
Post subject:  Ebonics & other Dialects of the American English Vernacu

The discussion on Thursday made me think very deeply on the question of which dialect do you teach in school and why. I personally agree with those who said that Standard American English should be taught and used on the foundational levels of education. I'm assuming this was refering to Elementary and Middle school. However, I do think correcting a student who is talking to a friend in hallway or elsewhere outside of the classroom is a bit extreme. I think What do you think?

Author:  Kristen Bumgarner [ Sun Oct 26, 2008 1:02 pm ]
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I definitely agree with you Jennifer. I think that by correcting in the classroom and not outside (or in formal situations) that this teaches children how to code switch. I also think that as a teacher this portrays that you value the student in a way for their dialect/accent and do not look down on the fact that they may not be speaking in standard American English. I know that teachers corrected me outside of the classroom and while they may not have necessarily looked down on me, it definitely came across this way. When it comes to parents though, I feel that they can correct them as they choose no matter what the situation may be.

Author:  zach yokley [ Sun Oct 26, 2008 7:18 pm ]
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As someone who does have a bit of a southern accent I know that I have to use proper English in certain cases, namely academic situations. However, I am proud of the way that I talk so I have stuck with my dialect. Therefore, I will say that it is important to teach standard English in schools, but it should not be used in such a way to homogenize our students since they will inevitably come from diverse cultural backgrounds.

Author:  Kimberly Smith [ Sun Oct 26, 2008 9:53 pm ]
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I think that I did a poor job clarifying myself in class on Thursday, so I am going to try to again.

I believe it is very important for everyone to learn how to code switch; this is a way for people to be proud of where they come from (family, area, etc.). I also believe that it is important for everyone to understand the necessity of Standard American English in formal environments, papers, and speeches. So whether or not I correct my students' speech in my classroom is still up in the air for me...I want my classroom to be a comfortable learning environment, but I also want learning to be the main focus.

As a side note, my class will have a different language that I will definitely focus on--the language of Mathematics.

Author:  CaseyDavis [ Mon Oct 27, 2008 9:50 pm ]
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I agree with you as well Jennifer. As teachers, we will need to set the best example possible each and everyday for our students, and if they notice that we are not using Standard American English then they will believe it is ok for them not to as well. Accents are everywhere and we will always have to deal with them. I do not believe that it is ever acceptable to tell someone that they aren't going to achieve something due to their accent such as the example Dr. Turner provided us with in class. Where I'm from I believe that I don't have one of the more southern accents, but when I came to school many people commented on how much of an accent I do have. It's amazing how people can grow up in an area just 30 minutes away from someone and have such different accents.

Author:  Lloyd Walker [ Tue Oct 28, 2008 11:29 am ]
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I agree Jennifer, Standard American English should be taught and used on the foundational levels of education. I believe to do otherwise is a failure to prepare students for future success. Kristen, I also think your observation about not correcting students outside the class or in informal settings serves to teach code switching. I think speaking and communicating in the most accepted dialect is key to success. I have worked very hard to use only Standard American English when I am in an educational or professional setting, but every once in a while my dialect slips out. I do however understand the value of code switching and would not give that up for anything. I think this is one of the most useful skills teachers can have.

Author:  Cory Rycroft [ Tue Oct 28, 2008 12:00 pm ]
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Standard American English should be taught throughout school, but should not be criticized outside of the classroom. If a student learns Standard American English and uses it when in class i see no problem with them speaking how ever they choose outside of the classroom

Author:  katie h lewis [ Tue Oct 28, 2008 12:25 pm ]
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I agree that Standard American English should be taught and enforced inside of the school setting. I am not saying that all other dialects are incorrect or should not be spoken, but it is important to give students a standard, universal dialect that is acceptable in the academic setting. Teaching Standard American English gives students a clear cut explanation of what is acceptable and not acceptable when communicating in formal settings. If not in a formal setting then you can communicated however you so well please!

Author:  Paige Colbath [ Tue Oct 28, 2008 1:23 pm ]
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I definitely also agree with Jennifer's point of view on this topic. As we were discussing in class, I thought a lot about it. I think that the obvious right way to go is to teach (what we are calling) Standard American English in school. Students should write and talk in Standard American English in a classroom setting. Without having some sort of "standard", it would be very hard for everyone to talk and be able to converse with one another. I guess you could compare it to Hispanic/Latin American students speaking Spanish in the classroom. Obviously, they can't speak Spanish to everyone because not everyone would understand. I think that sort of parallels the Standard American English issue. I do, however, disagree with the teacher that corrected students who were talking in the hallway in some sort of dialect. I think that is ridiculous. Students should know what is appropriate speech for the classroom, but have freedom to speak as they choose wherever else they may be.

Author:  Anna Gay [ Tue Oct 28, 2008 8:51 pm ]
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I agree with what several of you said about this. As a future English teacher, the whole "standard american english" is an interesting notion to me. I think that it is important to teach what is proper, correct, and acceptable so that students will be educated in what they need to in order to succeed and sound intelligent in the job market. However, I do not think that we shoudl correct students outside the classroom and that they should make appropriate useof code switching, because along with speaking correctly in the professional world, it is necessary to be able to relate and communicate with those in your own culture as well. I think that a knowledge of what is correct is important, but we should not hinder our students from obtaining their own vernacular in appropriate other settings.

Author:  Maria Parker [ Tue Oct 28, 2008 10:09 pm ]
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It appears as if I agree with the majority here. I think that we should use Standard American English in school. Normally when I am away from home for a while, the southern pull to my speaking goes away a little, but I still get called out while I'm talking sometimes. I do try to use correct grammar while I'm talking, and watch how I speak in academic settings. I agree with Zach in the fact that I am proud of how I talk and just because someone seems to find that it's funny because it's different from them doesn't mean I will be changing anything. I missed class Thurs....could someone tell me exactly what code switching is?

Author:  Clay Moore [ Thu Oct 30, 2008 11:46 am ]
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I agree with pretty much everyone as well. I think Standard American English should be taught and used in the schools. This way we all can have correct grammar and easily communicate with each other in various professional settings across the country. However, outside the school/ business setting I see no problem in talking in whatever way you choose. As long as someone can speak "professionally" when its necessary then there should be no reason to deny talking however you want otherwise.

Author:  Heather Rulifson [ Thu Oct 30, 2008 12:00 pm ]
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I agree with most everyone else. It is important to teach Standard American English (SAE)in public schools. I think it's important to use SAE in the classrooms because students won't grasp SAE unless they hear it and are exposed to it correctly. It's like teaching Spanish. Shouldn't a Spanish teacher require all his/her students to speak Spanish in Spanish class? You won't learn without immersion and practice. It's impossible to get better without exposure. How can you expect students to learn a new dialect/language if the only exposure they get is written, not verbal? If students are allowed to speak their native dialect in English class and aren't practicing Standard American English, the only feedback they get is from red marks scribbled on paper assignments when they are returned to them. I believe there is a time and place for speaking a native dialect, and English class isn't it. Native dialects preserve family and history that are special. They are fine to use when students are in the hallway or in classes other than English so long as other students can understand the speaker and the speaker gets his/her point across clearly.

Author:  Cory Rycroft [ Thu Oct 30, 2008 12:04 pm ]
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I agree with you Clay, if students are able to talk professionally when needed I see no problem with them talking however they choose when outside of class. As teachers it will be our responsibility to teach our students when it is appropriate to speak professionally using Standard American English and when they can relax and speak how they choose to.

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