Friday, July 10, 2009

Topic: The Language of Poverty

10-second review: There are two ways of looking at the language poor children bring to school: “different” or “deficient.” If we respect the language of these children, we have the opportunity to help them be successful in school.

Title: “Pathologizing the Language and Culture of Poor Children.” C Dudley-Marling and K Lucas. Language Arts (May 2009), 362-370. Language Arts is the elementary school publication of the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE).

Comment: “Different” vs. “deficient.” Two significantly different points of view toward language development. The key is how to turn the students’ differences into strengths. The same contrast is true with English Language Learners (ELLs].

Theoretical article, but worth thinking about. The implications for teaching of the attitudes labeled “difference” and “deficient” are significant. You respect “differences,” but you look down on and deplore deficiencies. I think this idea deserves serious consideration. RayS.

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