Sunday, March 22, 2009

Developing Work 3A

In WRA 125, Writing American Ethnic and Racial Experience there have been many readings assigned that focuses on African American Vernacular English. After all of the readings I have read for paper three, I have chosen to look deeper into the reading passage " A Perspective On Teaching Black Dialect Speaking Students To Write Standard English," the Journal of Negro Education, written by Judith P. Nembhard. The main argument of this reading is basically what the title states. In the reading Nembhard discusses the strategy techniques that are being used from the "National Writing Project" and is used in the English department nationwide. " The program is a highly successful one for improving the writing competencies of black dialect speakers without damaging their self-esteem" (Nembhard 437). In this program there are many suggestions developed to enhance the ability to help "black dialect" students to become better when writing in Standard English. Some of the methods were: having high expectations for the individuals, sharing writings in class, revision processes, one on one conferences, outside classroom tutoring sessions, fair grading, etc.

In the passage, Nembhard talks about how she believes that having confidence within the students ability to become better writers is where the change begins. In my opinion, without the students having that motivation and drive that the teachers provide there wouldn't be a good out look in changing one's credentials in writing. When the teachers give out a writing prompt there should be a classroom discussion on the individual papers. When this is occurred it gives the students the opportunity to ask questions about the confusions of the paper. Also, having the students write pieces of their writings in class is expected from the teachers. " As students' writing matures, serving as guide and reference source" ( 438). When the paper is being revised the teacher should provide one on one conferences with the students. Not only this should be provided but "outside-of-class support" which would be tutoring on their writing skills.

Nembhard have discovered that teachers don't grade Black Dialect students appropriately when it comes down to their individual papers. When the teachers are analyzing the writings they find diminutive mistakes and label them as " surface errors". She want the teachers to give students the grade they deserve and not to be afraid of giving them failing grades. When the teachers point out the mistakes they have made the students will be acknowledge by the fact that they are doing something wrong and it should be corrected to become a better writer. "Rationalizing students' deficiencies and giving them undeserved passing grades is not the way to help them become better writers" (438).

In the reading, Nembhard talks about how she doesn't believe that AAVE should be used in classroom settings and in papers that are writen in the wirting classes. This is what makes things more understandable and not complicated. Standard English is a language that should be used and would be beneficial in any location and especially in the future. What she is trying to accomplish throughout her argument is that AAVE should only be used in certain environment, but not in classrooms. Even though this is her statement that she believe should occur unto this day AAVE is still being used in classrooms. This doesn't mean that one should change their standard dialect, but to make room for "Bidialectalism". Bidialectalism allows the students to obtain their main dialect, but to enhance a second language in standard English. According to James Sledd, a linguist that dosen't agree with this quotes it is, "direct attack on minority language". To sum it up, what I thought about the strategies that Nembhard wrote to improve Black Dialect speakers to write in standard English was very interesting. My reason for this becuase I think if teachers and students take heat to this I believe all students will be able to not only talk in AAVE, but most importantly write in standard English. These methods were quite interesting under one circumstances I really don't understand how students can get tutored on their writing skills. If this stategy have been helpful I would like to put this into action for my personal needs.

1 comment:

  1. What do you think about her argument that while students should keep their native tongues, they still must only use SE in the writing classroom? What do you think Ball's and Gilyard/Richardson's responses to this idea would be?