Power, Prestige, and Prejudice
Standardized tests demand Standard English, but secondary students (grades 6-12) come to school speaking a variety of dialects and languages, thus creating a conflict between students’ language of nurture and the expectations of school. The purpose of this text is twofold: to explain and illustrate how language varieties function in the classroom and in students’ lives and to detail linguistically informed instructional strategies. Through anecdotes from the classroom, lesson plans, and accessible narrative, it introduces theory and clearly builds the bridge to daily classroom practices that respect students’ language varieties and use those varieties as strengths upon which secondary English teachers can build. The book explains how to teach about language variations and ideologies in the classroom; uses typically taught texts as models for exploring how power, society, and identity interact with language, literature, and students’ lives; connects the Common Core State Standards to the concepts presented; and offers strategies to teach the sense and structure of Standard English and other language variations, so that all students may add Standard English to their linguistic toolboxes.