Linguistic Variance Amongst Students

Members: Emily Mullins, Amanda Krolikowski, Zach Thompson, Joe Tekelly, Eric Salzeider

NEWS: Coffee Talk October 21st at 3pm, Erickson Hall Sparty's


-How can we best communicate with our students?
-How do we define formal vs. informal language?
-How do students communicate best with us? (i.e. direct vs. indirect statements, etc.)
-How does how we say things affect our classroom and how students understand us (& vice versa)?
-How does this affect teaching?
-How can we validate different cultures and different ways of speaking in an English classroom (i.e. in relation to grammar)?
-How does/would this issue affect NCLB? Does NCLB care about this issue? Should it? (Ex. What language students take standardized language in?)

Resources & Research:

-Research African American vernacular (California legislation, political implications)
-Interview current teachers on the topic
-Consult Dennis Preston and Marilyn Wilson for relevant articles (Plan to divide up articles between group members)-- I've emailed Dr. Preston and Marilyn and am waiting on replies :) -ank 10/7/08; I have received responses from both Dennis and Marilyn and will be bringing that information to class - ank 10/11/08
-Looking at linguistic as a social issue (validating different cultures/different ways of speaking)

CRESST-NCLB -ank 10/11
Kristin Denham: Associate Professor, Linguistics -ank 10/11
Linguistic Society of America -ank 10/20

Plan of action:

Utilizing texts that use AA vernacular, other dialects (regional), etc.
Finding a list of novels that highlight other minority speak patterns/dialects
Hypthetical: Ask students if this was a fair representation of their speech?

How does this affect grammar? Formal vs. Casual, Alternative grammar lessons

• Zach: AA Vernacular, California legislature; look for relevant news articles
• Emily: Research YA books for AA vernacular
• Amanda: Email Dr. Preston and Marilyn Wilson about relevant articles; look into NCLB articles relevant to linguistics; if any?
• Joe: Research Chicano YA lit
• Eric: Begin researching people to interview

  • More discussion/engagement; could we have done an activity to promote this in the event that classmates weren't open for an informal, open discussion?
  • Balance in roles
  • What is meant by teaching AAV? Teach the grammar or just validate it in the classroom?
  • Possibly use small group/partners for discussion to help open up conversation on the topic

QUESTIONS (from peers):
  • How have some established teachers dealt with this?
  • How would we "teach" AAV or any other dialect? Should it be a grammar lesson? Or maybe just the simple freedom to write/speak it in non-formal situations?
  • What do you think about still maintaining standardized English in the classroom? It's fairly obvious that this is the most successful mode of speech; should we really stray?