Teaching Everyone: Understanding Linguistic Bias in the Classroom

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Abstract

Reviews the book, Dialects, Englishes, Creoles, and Education edited by Shondel J. Nero (see record 2006-03604-000). Linguistic prejudice runs deep in American society (Chen-Hayes, Chen, & Athar, 1999). Unfortunately, in America, non-standard-English speakers are devalued, humiliated, and generally thought to be less intelligent (Chen-Hayes et al., 1999). How, then, are teachers to cope with inclusion of linguistically diverse children in the classroom and teach them standard English while acknowledging and respecting native languages? This is the subject of Shondel J. Nero's edited volume. Nero's groundbreaking work is a step forward in understanding the complexities and struggles of populations swept up in American and British imperialist expansion and the variations of English that resulted. From this platform, giving acknowledgment to the dominant hegemonic forces under which these forms of English developed, Nero and her linguistically diverse colleagues provide vital information; analyze issues related to speakers of African American Vernacular, Caribbean Creole, Hawaii Creole, and Hispanized, West African Pidgin, and Asian Englishes; and provide strategies for best classroom practices. It is interesting and important that each chapter in this work presents points of view that are discordant in some respects and concordant in others. The editor points out that the purpose of the work is to raise critical issues regarding the evolution of language acquisition, to understand how language is a source of power, and to provide information for development of education policy specifically crafted for local language requirements rather than to propose definitive answers (pp. 1-15). (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2007 APA, all rights reserved)

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