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 Ebonics 
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I thought the article on Ebonics was really interesting. I think that Lisa Delpit gave some really relevant strategies to understanding how to teach kids without making them feel uncomfortable or like they are wrong. I think we too often forget how constantly correcting a student's language can affect them emotionally because we worry so much about them "getting it." I really liked one of the last lines of the article where Delpit says, "Let us not become so overly concerned with the language form that we ignore academic and moral content." I think that this is the ultimate explanation of dealing with whether or not to enforce Standard English in the classroom. We shouldn't prioritize Standard-English over teaching.

What did you think of the article? Did you agree with what Delpit was saying?

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Leslie Sheppard


Thu Mar 05, 2009 12:20 pm
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I have to agree with Lisa Delpit with that we shouldn't be concerned with the language and more for content. That's the whole purpose of education, to create a higher level of thinking.
I was curious with what was said on urbandictionary.com about what ebonics meant and the first few entries are really degrading ebonics saying that it is "lazy", "the language of the gangstas and negroes", and "Ebonics is really the study of the rules applied to turn English into some uneducated sounding pseudo-language whose purpose is for the most part to insult and denigrate "Whitey.""
I really hate what these entries were saying, I know they were probably being sarcastic but wouldn't it be the same as someone degrading me because I am southern. I don't think any of us truly speak standard english anymore, this country is so vastly different that we all speak differently and yet we still understand one another.
But I know that it will be hard to change the idea that straying from standard english is wrong because so many people in power believe that the only way to speak is standard. I know that the way I speak in an academic setting is completely different from the way that I speak in a nonformal setting. I learned how to transition the two because I wanted to make good grades during school and for that to happen I had to write in standard english, especially for papers. But does that mean that if i wrote in nonformal english that I was stupid or wrong? No. I just had to do what the person in power told me to do.
So, yes, I agree with Delpit, we should be concerned with academic and moral content, not lanuage.

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amy butler


Thu Mar 05, 2009 2:03 pm
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I think that standard English should be taught as the primary dialect in schools, but never should a student be penalized for having a different dialect. It is important for everyone to know standard English enough to communicate with others who may not be completely capable of speaking their dialect. For example, I worked with hispanic students in high school who were just learning English and they told me how hard is was to learn English from three different people who spoke what was to them three different languages entirely. I also experienced this myself when I was interpreted for the students because each student was from a different part of the Latin world and half of them I couldn't understand while the other half were clear as daylight.

Now that I've gone on that small tangent, I would like to say that students should be able to speak and write in their dialect on most of their assignments. Personal writings like notes or journal entries should be free of any dialect restrictions. The only assignments that should be standard English should be such things like formal research papers. I think that forcing students out of their dialect on writing assignments or speech hinders them from reaching their full potential and creativity. It is hard to imagine thinking in one dialect, but having another come out of your mouth or hand.


Thu Mar 05, 2009 6:21 pm
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My feelings on this subject is that it is ultimately up to the student to decide how much they are will to "sacrifice" to be familiar with the standard english system. It has always been in history that there was an accepted language of the "educated" (not to exclude those that are individually intellegent - but for the sake of argument I'm speaking of those that would attend University) and for the majority of Euro-history, that language was LATIN. Talk about a useless learning standard. Like Amy said, I doubt that anyone in the United States speaks a regional-dialect free form of standard english. Imagine having to learn an entirely different language just so you could be considered intellectual.

This may sound inconsiderate (i feel like i say that on every post), but I'm a big fan of the mid-20th century JUST DO IT ALREADY attitude because I feel like -being a history major- there have been a lot more oppressive things that have been imposed on people than their having to learn a closely related dialect.

I think that at least being able to be familiar with the stardard english dialect is acceptable on the basis of it just being easier for teacher to related differing viewpoints on the same playing field despite backgrounds. I don't believe that it has to be some traumatic, culture-abandoning experience. It's a simple modification of how you are already familiar with speaking. I will expect my students to turning in FINISHED papers in standard english, because any way you slice it, wrong spelling is wrong spelling as so set forth by Webster. I had a teacher today say that if you want to get a feel for the intellectual abilities of a student, listen to them when they are talking to their friends in the hallway. I think that is underestimating students on some level. I firmly believe that a cultural/traditional/personal life is often separate from the school life, whether good or bad. I'll be honest, when i'm writing a paper, I can certainly sound like I know what I'm talking about, but when I'm with my family and friends I can sound like a dang idiot, even though the knowledge bank is still there. there's no sacrifice needed as far as I'm concerned.


Thu Mar 19, 2009 1:45 pm
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YES! I agree very much with this article and the author of it. I feel that teachers do spend to much time on thier children learning how to talk "right" and speaking right, when really the teacher should be spending time on teaching them about the differences in different dialects and languages. Children should learn about code switching and when to use different styles and types of language but teachers should not change how and person talks. Individuality is what makes the classroom so interesting and teachers should do everything to keep this aspect in the classroom.

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Katherine Gray Nelli


Mon Mar 23, 2009 4:50 pm
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As a history minded person I think the primary motivation behind learning about one's speech or dialect should be it's origins. It's important to keep linguistic traditions alive in one's culture but one shouldn't limit themselves to that one mode of speech in a world that demands professionalism. To me it would be cool to learn that I talk the way I do due to a more upper-colonial English heritage at a point in history or that upper Mid-Westerners speak in a way that reflects Scandinavian heritage. I find origins and common usage more interesting than "This Is Correct Grammar", although I feel it is still necessary.

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Ben


Mon Mar 23, 2009 7:38 pm
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I agree with the article. I feel like code-switching is necessary in some situations, such as writing a formal paper. Kids need to know how to write, and how to write well. I personally don't think "standard English" will really be enforced in my classroom. If a student can get across what they mean while they're talking, that's good enough for me. An English teacher will probably be a lot more strict about that, but in band...it’s just about music. I really liked what Katie said about keeping the individualism in the classroom, because that’s what makes a classroom diverse and interesting, and those are the fun classrooms.

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Crystal Brooke Ritchie


Mon Apr 06, 2009 4:05 pm
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