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Interesting Texts

I’d like to share some material with you that I find interesting…

Books

The Skin That We Speak, Lisa Delpit

Really interesting text that explores the complex connections between the many languages our students speak and their cultures. Asks teachers to consider the significance of language as it defines a person.

Vernacular Eloquence: What Speech Can Bring to Writing, Peter Elbow

I can’t say enough about how influential Peter Elbow has been on my own development as a writing teacher and my approach to language in the classroom. This text explore the importance of allowing ourselves to “talk onto the page” before we’re concerned with perfecting our words.

literacy matters: writing and reading the social self, Robert Yagelski

Another interesting text about exploring our own literacies and how they shape us as teachers, thinkers, readers and writers.


Videos

This collection of videos explore the connection of voice to culture. We connect voice to preconceived notions of what we believe that voice to represent as a culture. However, understanding the importance of both one’s home language and standard English can help students use their multiple voices as rhetorical devices to effectively communicate with the audience, as discussed in the video on President Obama’s language.

 


Blogs

The Remarkable History of Y’All

North American Accents

Understanding and Dealing with the Complex Issue of “Standard English.

Making Sense

Slang, Dialect, and Proper English


Podcasts

Yo, is this racist?

Yo, is this racist? – Is Grammar Racist?

Grammar As A Form of Power

The Podcast from Andrew Ti discusses the question of whether or not grammar is racist. As Michael Stubbs writes in his chapter “Some Basic Sociolinguistic Concepts” from the text The Skin That We Speak, “all languages and dialects are vastly complex structural systems” and as such, linguists believe, “…no language is inherently superior or inferior to any other, and that all languages and dialects are suited to the needs of the community they serve”. However, do academics use standard English to divide society into the successful and unsuccessful? This is a central question about the motivation behind continuing to teach standard English.

NPR podcast

Code Switching: Are We All Guilty?

Code-Switching

We all use different voices every day to be an insider or outsider or to build trust, as the NPR podcast, “Code Switching: Are We All Guilty” discusses why even the President uses different voices for different audiences. This is an important point to teach our students–that they can successfully use multiple voices throughout their lives to affect audience. No one voice that we use is better than another.

NPR Podcast

Campaign to Preserve World Languages Ensues

Preserving Cultures

Finally, it is important to recognize the significance of preserving languages because not only are they ways of communicating, they have woven into them cultural behaviors, histories, and heritage. If we ask students to slowly give up their culture and language to the dominant and more politically powerful standard English, we risk losing entire cultures altogether.

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