I. In this case study investigation I have chosen to explore the question of how a teacher should decide when students must speak in Standard English and when they might be allowed to speak in their primary discourse.
II. Primary Sources:
Naomi Schemm, High School English Teacher Survey
Beth Ferguson, High School English Teacher Survey
Samples of High School English Class Syllabi
First Pass Coding Sheet on Schemm’s Survey
First Pass Coding Sheet on Ferguson’s Survey
III. Major Findings: The major findings in this investigation were the following 3 themes that emerged from my primary sources:
1. Requirements for Standard English in the form of writing seem to be much stronger than in speech or informal communication, but the emphasis teachers put on standard English seems to be a personal choice and correlated to the classes they teach and the amount of teaching experience they have.
2. The most effective way of correcting students appears to be by constantly incorporating grammar lessons into at lest 40% of the curriculum. This limits the amount of the correction teachers have to do verbally for individual students and limits singling them out in class.
3. The demographics of a school and/or classroom will greatly affect the issues you have to deal with in regards to Standard English and any possible resistance or struggles from parents or students.
IV. Implications/ Future Questions: The implications of my findings are that a teacher must set principles for when and how often students must speak Standard English and then stick to them consistently. I also feel that the higher these are the better as along as you are not interfering with the value system of the student. I have many future questions that stemmed from this investigation, the most pressing: What is the result of not having a unified answer to this question on any level from departmental to school-wide? Also, how different would y conclusions have been if I had provided my survey to a school with opposite demographics?
V. Secondary Sources:
Delpit, Lisa (1995). Other People’s Children: Cultural Conflict in the Classroom. New
York: New Press.
Gee, James Paul (1989). Literacy, Discourse, and Linguistics: Introduction and What is
Literacy?. Journal of Education. 171.1,5-25.
Johnson, Maeetta B. “Communication in the Classroom.” Educational Resources
Information Center 1999 1-15.31 Oct 2008
Wheeler, Rebecca S. (May 2005). Code Switch to Teach Standard English. English Journal. 94, 108-112.