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My Language, My Identity: Language Used In Households

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My Language, My Identity: Language Used In Households

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  1. My Language, My Identity:Language Used In Households Presented by Kyomi Gregory, M.A., CCC-SLP

  2. People First Language “People First Language puts the person before the disability and describes what a person has, not who a person is.” Kathie Snow. (n.d.) A few words about People First Language. Disability is Natural. Retrieved August 1, 2012 from

  3. Please Note • If you would like to download today’s power point, you may do so at any time during the webinar using the FILES Pod in the bottom right hand corner of your screen • Simply click on the file name and then click “SAVE TO MY COMPUTER” • Select the destination on your computer where you would like the file saved

  4. Learning Outcomes • To identify aspects of language use within the household. • To distinguish parenting styles that impact language use within the classroom. • To identify strategies to bridge the gap between a home language and a school language.

  5. Dialects

  6. What is a dialect? • Dialect is defined as a "neutral" term to refer to any variety of a language that is shared by a group of speakers. • Experts assert that all speakers are in fact speakers of a dialect, none of which is superior to another. Wolfram, 1991; Stubbs, 2002

  7. Nonmainstream Dialects • Nonmainstream American English (NMAE) dialects are rule governed language systems inclusive of all aspects of language (i.e. phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics and pragmatics).

  8. Examples of NMAE dialects • African-American English (AAE) • Southern White English (SWE) • Latino English • Cajun French

  9. Characteristics of NMAE dialect • Differences in pronunciation, syntax, and vocabulary are most easily identified. • It also includes differences in other discourse structures such as: • Question responses and requests (Heath, 1982) • Turn taking (Au & Mason, 1983) • Intonation, formulaic expressions, and tempo (Damico & Damico, 1993)

  10. Dialect Differences in Narratives • Cazden’s (2001) study discussed the tendency by Caucasian children to sequence their narratives topically versus African-American children that provided “episodic stories”

  11. Narratives • Caucasian students: • sequence narratives topically • organizes a narrative according to subtopics and topics • this is the most commonly used format that is considered acceptable for narratives. Cazden, 2001

  12. Narratives • African-American Students: • Produced “episodic stories.” • This usually involves a main character or theme. Cazden, 2001

  13. Home Language

  14. “Home Language” • Children arrive to school with the language of their families & communities. • Many students speak a nonmainstream dialect. Cheatham, Armstrong,& Santos, 2009

  15. Respect for Inclusion of the “Home Language” • This respect for the “home language” adheres to recommendations from many academic professional organizations, including the: • National Council on Teachers of English (NCTE; 2004, 2005) • National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC; 1995) • Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL; 1997).

  16. “Code Switching” • Children who speak NMAE dialects often find themselves in many social contexts, in which they can utilize their ability to use both Standard American English (SAE) and their dialect. • This is known as “code switching.” • Teachers may witness children “code switching” in more or less formal contexts.

  17. Race & Identity • Dialects are often strongly linked to race, ethnicity, and class. • This plays an important role in children’s identities. • This can be viewed as a strength & resource like any part of their home environment. Cheatham, Armstrong,& Santos, 2009

  18. Tapping Into the “Home Language” • Current research illustrates the benefits of tapping into children’s nonstandard dialects to enhance learning. • Children’s dialects are resources from which to expand their language repertoire. • Building on what children know is an excellent approach for all children, including those that speak NMAE dialects. Chealtham, Armstrong,& Santos, 2009; Dyson & Smitherman, 2009; Murray, 1997

  19. Tapping Into the “Home Language” • Educators need to: • bridge the gap between the home language and the school language • respect/ preserve the home language • facilitate the development of a school language.

  20. Distinctive Parenting Styles Across Classes

  21. Families’ Language Use Across Classes Class Key: PRO= Professional WC = Working Class FSA= Families Receiving State Aid Hart & Risley, 2003

  22. Vocabulary Gap • The children’s language exposure during a 100-hour week differed with the following exposure to vocabulary: • Professional families: 215,000 words • Working-class families: 125,000 words • Families receiving state aid: 62,000 words Hart & Risley, 2003

  23. Encouragement/ Discouragement Hart & Risley, 2003

  24. Importance of Early Year Experiences • By age 3, children in various social classes have differences in vocabulary exposure. • From ages one to three, exists a period of great brain plasticity, during which early intervention can have long term effects. Hart & Risley, 2003

  25. Parenting Styles • Laureau (2005) identified that parents differed by social class in the way that they define their roles in a child’s life. • Middle Class – “concerted cultivation” • Poor/ Working Class – “accomplishment of natural growth”

  26. “Concerted Cultivation” • This encourages the child’s sense of entitlement. • This class group utilized: • Reasoning • Child contestation of adult statements • Extended negotiations between parent & child This use of language fostered language development. Laureau, 2005

  27. “Accomplishment of Natural Growth” • This encourages an emerging sense of constraint. • This class group utilized: • Directives • Rarity of child questions • General acceptance of child directives Laureau, 2005

  28. Educational Implications

  29. Educational Implications • An obstacle to children speaking NMAE dialect is an educators’ negative perception (Cheatham, Armstrong, & Santos, 2009). • Negative perceptions significantly impact a child’s motivation to learn, self-efficacy, self-confidence and their ability to feel confident speaking SAE (Blake & Cutler, 2003).

  30. Educational Implications • Teacher’s also must be aware of the parenting styles that influence language use. • Students come into the classroom with different exposures to vocabulary based on social class.

  31. Final Statement • Don’t denigrate the home language!

  32. References • Au, K.H., & Mason, J.M. (1983). Cultural congruence in classroom participation structures: Achieving a balance of rights. Discourse Processes, 6, 145-167. • Blake, R. & Cutler, C. (2003). AAE and variation in teacher’s attitudes: A question of school philosophy? Linguistics and Education, 14, 163-194. • Cazden, C.B. (2001). Classroom discourse: The language of teaching and learning. Portsmouth, NH: Heineman. • Cheatham, G.A., Armstrong, J., & Santos, R.M. (2009). “Y’all Listenin?”: Accessing Children’s Dialects in Preschool YEC. Young Exceptional Children, 12(2), 2-14.

  33. References • Damico, J.S., & Damico, S.K. (1993). Language and social skills from a diversity perspective: Considerations for the speech-language pathologist. Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, 24, 236-243. • Dyson, A.H., & Smitherman, G. (2009). The right (write) start: African American language and the discourseof sounding right. Teacher’s College Record, 111, 973-998. • Hart, B., & Risley, T.R. (2003). The Early Catastrophe: The 30 Million Word Gap By Age 3. American Educator, 27(1), 4-9 • Heath, S.B. (1982). Questioning at home and at school: A comparative study. In G. Spindler(Ed.), Doing the ethnography of schooling (pp. 105-131). New York: Holt, Rinehrt and Winston.

  34. References • Laureau, A. (2005). Invisible inequaltiy: Social class and child rearing in Black and White Families (pp. 71-93). In Public & Private Families: A Reader, (4thEdition), Edited by Andrew J. Cherlin, New York: The McGraw-Hill Company. • Murray, D. (1997). TESOL speaks on Ebonics. TESOL Matters, 7(3), 1-22. • National Association for the Education of Young Children. (1995). Responding to linguistic and cultural diversity: Recommendations for effective early childhood education. Retrieved March 6, 2013, from • National Council of Teachers of English. (2004). NCTE beliefs about the teaching of writing. Retrieved March 6, 2013, from 2013, from http://

  35. References • National Council of Teachers of English. (2005). Supporting linguistically and culturally diverse learners in English education. Retrieved March 6, • Stubbs, M. (2002). Some basic linguistic concepts. In L. Delpit & J.K. Dowdy (Eds.), The skin that we speak: Thoughts on language and culture in the classroom (pp.63-86). New York: New Press. • Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages (1997). Position statement of the TESOL Board on African American Vernacular English. Retrieved March 6, 2013 from statement-of-the-tesol-board-on-african-american-vernacular-english- march-19 • Vigil, D.C., & Hwa-Froelich, D.A. (2004). Interaction Styles in Minority Caregivers: Implications for Intervention. Communication Disorders Quarterly, 25(3), 119-126.

  36. References • Wolfram, W. (1991). Dialects and American English. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall.

  37. Questions? • After this webinar, you may email any content-related questions to Kyomi Gregory • You may email any grant-related questions to Melanie

  38. The contents of this PowerPoint presentation were developed under a grant from the US Department of Education, #H323A110003. However those contents do not necessarily represent the policy of the US Department of Education, and you should not assume endorsement by the Federal Government.