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ERIC Number: ED055077
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1971-Apr
Pages: 10
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: 0
What Can an English Teacher Do About Nonstandard Dialect?
Fasold, Ralph W.
English Record, v21 n4 p82-91 April 1971
To focus on the problem of what an English teacher can do about nonstandard dialects, one must ask what English teachers hope to accomplish in the classroom. The concept used in this paper is that a dialect is a part of a whole language. Some dialects are accepted as standard; others are considered nonstandard. Many teachers, however, will object that nonstandard dialect should be eliminated because it keeps its speakers from thinking logically. Each dialect of English contains subtle distinctions, and the question of language usage has no bearing on inherent language ability. There are four areas of language skill traditionally discussed by applied linguists: hearing, speaking, reading and writing. Objectives in terms of each of these four areas should be based upon individual needs. The results of one experiment with black children demonstrate clearly the fact that children who do not speak standard English still may be able to understand it. Group references, moreover, play an important part in the use of language. An hypothesis still being tested is that learning to read is easier if the language of the reading materials matches the language of the learner as closely as possible. A similar situation may be true in the case of teaching writing skills. (CK)
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