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ERIC Number: ED444172
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1999-May
Pages: 323
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
Inventing Culturally Relevant Pedagogy in Two Fourth/Fifth-Grade Combination Classrooms: Diversity and Diglossia among Black English Speakers.
Sulentic, Margaret-Mary Martine
When educators lack the knowledge, understanding and acceptance of their students' language and culture, especially when it differs from their own, a huge mismatch can and often does occur between school and home. What happens to African American children who are raised speaking Black English but schooled in standard English? How do teachers help students who differ from the mainstream mediate socio-cultural tensions and navigate demands of two cultures and speech communities? This qualitative study examines the socio-cultural context of language, diglossia, and diversity in two fourth/fifth grade, predominantly African American classrooms in Waterloo, Iowa. A nesting design was selected for this study to situate Black language interactions within each classroom, the school district, the Waterloo communities and language classification in American society at large. The ethnographic techniques of participant observation, audiotaping, and interviewing were used to collect data. Historical data was collected to understand the historical and political contexts of the African-American community in this city as it connects to the Delta of Mississippi as well as to larger society. The code-switching and diglossia of four focal students was given particular focus to understand children's negotiation of the language demands of several communities. Data analysis led to three major categories: inventing classroom culture, language choice decisions, and culturally-relevant pedagogy. This investigation suggests that certain strategies employed by two teachers facilitate the language learning of the African American students they teach: teachers' attitude of acceptance, a direct behavior management style, the use of antiphonal response, code-switching, acceptance of standard English approximations, and recognition of the verbal nature of many African American students. Based on James Banks' theory about multicultural education, a language equity pedagogy model was developed from the study's findings. This model explains how two speech communities, one Black English-speaking and the other standard English-speaking, overlap in the classroom and demand a pedagogy that meets the specific language and culture needs of these students. (Contains 131 references, and 15 tables and 8 figures of data. Appendixes contain a summary of distinct linguistic features of Black English, the "Oakland Resolution," a list of distinctive African American cultural expressions often at odds with school culture, mission statements of two schools, and interview questions for the four focal students.) (Author/RS)
Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations; Tests/Questionnaires
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Iowa