Can I vent for a second about discipline and ethnicity?

Discussion in 'General Education' started by miss-m, Jan 19, 2018.

  1. miss-m

    miss-m Devotee

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    Jan 19, 2018

    (Mods, if this is too close to being political or it gets too charged PLEASE delete/close the thread - I don't want to cause problems, I just want to vent for a second.)

    I'm doing a data analysis of mock discipline data for this class. And like... I know there's a well researched trend in education about office referrals and discipline: black students are more likely to be sent to the office or suspended, and black male students even more so.
    But seeing this data, even though it's not real, is just making me so mad and frustrated that this is still a problem. The research I've found so far is from 1997, and it says the same thing. This has been a problem in education for at least 20 years and it's just frustrating that it's not really getting better.

    I don't even know what COULD be done about it, and that's even more frustrating, because I do find myself reacting more strongly(?) to certain students even though I know I'm sometimes being unfair or biased, or I notice behaviors from those students more often than the same behaviors from other students. I try to be really aware of how I respond to behaviors to treat students equally, but it doesn't always play out that way if one student is "generally good" or "funnier" than another.

    Anyway. I just needed to vent because this is something that bothers me a lot and the mock data I'm looking at just made it more real right now.
     
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  3. otterpop

    otterpop Aficionado

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    I'm going to remove race from the equation here for a moment (it's relevant, but don't want to start any arguments) to say that I think the overall task of "reducing discipline rates" is not often addressed in productive ways.

    For example, many times schools wanting to show how they've improved will state that they've reduced the number of students being suspended by __%. That's good at face value, but my question is always, how was this accomplished? I think that frequently it's accomplished by principals refusing to suspend students, which in turn means there are more discipline issues in the classroom not being dealt with. Often, all that's being done is eliminating a consequence for bad behavior, not actually getting rid of the bad behavior. I'd rather see schools touting the programs that they've implemented to reduce actual behavior issues.

    But I agree with you that it's awful that we have study after study stating the racial disparities and injustices of our educational system, and yet many places do not have a concrete plan in place to address those problems. It seems to me that a part of the answer lies in having more proactive programs rather than only reducing discipline rates.
     
  4. vickilyn

    vickilyn Magnifico

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    I'm going to suggest that when race is perceived as a problem, it is often seen hand in hand with the fact that many schools have a teaching staff that is of a different ethnicity and SES than the majority of the student body. This often sets up the perception of bias, when in fact, teachers and students have completely different experiences of upbringing, parental income levels, family structure (matriarchies vs. two parents in the family). neighborhood impact, exposure and acceptance of gang culture/significance, the probability that family members are/have been incarcerated, and different familial significance/tolerance of truancy and academic effort. As a teacher who is of a different upbringing than the majority of my students,this is a problem I face daily. They can't understand my belief in education, nor do they believe that I truly don't pay attention to the color of anyone's skin. My goal is to treat them all as equals, with the same opportunities, graded on the same scale, by the same rules.

    I have students who only want to be in the class with the teacher of the same ethnicity, and I can understand that, actually. They feel that specific teacher is "same", and most of us are more comfortable with "same" anything. My education has not prepared me for this, but, unlike many of my students, I'm willing to learn more about my students to understand and help them, whereas my students only see that I am 'not the same." I sometimes want to scream, not at my students, but because inequalities and injustice they had in the past are out of my capabilities to change.

    I don't have all of the answers, but I do have a lot of questions. I would like to see more proactive programs, too, but there has to be effort from both sides for such programs to be effective. You can't play the race card while failing to take any responsibility for your own actions. I will give multiple chances, but I can't give unearned grades - the state frowns on that. If someone has miracle answers, I would love to hear them. I guess I'm venting a little, too. Not normally my style, but it has been a bad week. I'm optimistic, however, that next week will be better!
     
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2018
  5. AmyMyNamey

    AmyMyNamey Comrade

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    My district reduces discipline statistics by ignoring behavior problems, destroying or refusing to file reports, altering reports, and intimidating teachers who do not keep problems in the classroom.

    My district makes exceptions for black students that are not made for white students, in order to avoid the perception of racism.

    The root of the problem, without adding the mounting tidal wave of crushing poverty and and accompanying drug epidemic, is racism and bigotry inherent in many Americans, white and black, which itself is impossible to overcome in societies growing increasingly insular under the sway of a government promoting racist and xenophobic ideologies.

    America keeps its races at odds with each other. I see it play out when a class enters and the white kids sit with the white kids, the black kids sit with the black kids. They coexist, and peacefully at that, but they segregate themselves out of habit.

    When a problem arises, race is often pushed to the center of any issue, that addressing discipline becomes tantamount to expressing racial bias. The irony is that people subtly express, reinforce, and perpetuate their own racial preferences and aversions, then play dramatic, exaggerated roles when conflicts arise.

    The media has made enormous strides in the past decade to bring people together and alter thinking. On the other hand, the American government has often work to counter these efforts, and is now openly advocating racism and racial hostility.

    Slavery and legal segregation are not so far removed from memory as to be negligible influences on the social consciousness. Simply, America has not had enough time to get its act together, and too many low people are in power, forwarding backwards thinking.

    We fix that by destroying the government, tearing it down to the foundation and starting over.

    In our own corner of reality, we stand strong and hold to the facts in every issue, confronting accusations or innuendo with stark truth and unwavering consistency. Only in time and with the loss of generations holding desperately to the past will we overcome ignorance and unify ourselves.
     
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  6. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Connoisseur

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    I am struggling with the same issue. My education classes talk about the same issue but the only solution presented to us is teaching lessons that are culturally relevant and tailored to our students' interests. I would love to do this, but realistically it's not possible most of the time (especially for a subject like math). We also talk about having conversations with difficult students but I'm sure that this is a common strategy that seasoned teachers use.

    Right now, most of our behavioral issues are coming from about 5-7 of our black boys. It's sad and frustrating and I feel like I don't know what to do. My mentor usually ignores their behavior and sometimes I feel like we are setting low expectations for our students by doing this. The situation seems really unfair to the other students and these boys themselves. It's really not fair for 15+ kids to suffer because these kids are yelling across the room during instruction, etc. But I also wonder what we can do about the behavior besides sending them out of the room. I do know that I have seem glimpses of all of these boys wanting to do well in school and they have a lot of potential. I do worry about them going to high school next year with their maturity level now.
     
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2018
  7. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    Is this really what you mean? People notice what they notice. They react to what they notice in different ways. If another child is not displaying the behavior, you won't notice it, will you?

    So, do you really notice behaviors more or are they happening more?
     
  8. miss-m

    miss-m Devotee

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    It feels like that’s what happened. I had several students who would shout out answers, for example, but it stood out more as “misbehavior” from certain students compared to others. I tried to correct the behavior consistently regardless, but with one boy compared to another, the first boy was moved to the safe seat more often than the other even though the behavior was the same.

    I don’t know if that makes sense. It’s like it didn’t always register the same even though the behavior (shouting out answers) was the same.
     
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  9. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Jan 20, 2018

    Just want to say I love your tardigrade profile pic!

     
  10. miss-m

    miss-m Devotee

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    Haha thanks! I love tardigrades. I taught my kiddos about them last year in writing, it was fantastic. XD
     
  11. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Maven

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    I teach in a 99.98% white district. Our 0.02% non-white population is a combination of Chinese, Indian, black (living with mixed race or white families), Hispanic (living with mixed-race or white families), and white/Hispanic and white/black.

    Our biggest group of referrals comes from low-SES and IEP students. Even this really doesn't tell us much because we are 70% poverty and about 20% IEP. Most of the IEP kids are also low SES.

    We have reduced overall referrals through the PBIS model.

    Many years ago we had a mother who came to school livid. She claimed that we were picking on her son because he was black. However, she had two sons in our school, Both in the same grade. Both with the same teachers. They were the only two black students in the entire school. One was in trouble almost daily. Other was a wonderfully behaved child. Her argument didn't hold water with us.
     
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  12. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Phenom

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    Regarding the demographics of my town, about 15% of the population is black. That’s not insignificant. However, of our 600+ K-8 teachers, we only have a handful of black teachers.

    My site has two male students with severe behavioral needs. Both kiddos have full-time one-on-one aides. Both children happen to be black.

    I wish I had more training on how to deal with this particular demographic.
     
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2018
  13. vickilyn

    vickilyn Magnifico

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    It's hard. In the less than 50 students in our school, probably 65% are black, the next 25% classify themselves as Hispanic, although one parent is black, and the remainder consider themselves white. The teaching staff/clinical staff is about 6% black, 94% white. Our support staff is 100% black. None of our support staff is remotely interested in acquiring their teaching credentials. Who do you think the students relate to? I don't know why there are so few black SPED teachers willing to work at my school, but the students see it as bias - the school won't hire them. The truth is that the applicants are nonexistent. Our students are virtually 100% low SES, low income, with many parents incarcerated or plagued with substance abuse. The state is the legal guardian in more than a few instances. I have taken graduate classes to earn degrees in SPED and ESL, and although I have studied hard, there are very few concrete strategies aimed specifically at the fact that many schools do not represent the ethnic makeup of the students in the ethnic makeup of the teacher population.

    Ms. Holyoke sums it up best: "My education classes talk about the same issue but the only solution presented to us is teaching lessons that are culturally relevant and tailored to our students' interests." No one ever taught us how to totally relate to a way of life that is foreign to most of the teachers. We are empathetic, but not experienced in our student's life styles/situations. The grad students in my classes were virtually all white, middle class, two parent households NOT living in areas where gangs, drugs, violence, and poverty is a way of life.

    This is one reason that I was interested in the thread about an endorsement in SC about teaching children of poverty. I'm not in SC, but I would be very interested in taking courses that could make me more educated in how to be meaningfully educated in what it means to understand and teach this population. Once you add 100% SPED, it is a daunting task, and we could all use all the help we can get, IMO.
     
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2018
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  14. miss-m

    miss-m Devotee

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    Thanks for all the input - it's so interesting to see everyone's take on what is a really well-documented issue.
    I just finished my assignment that brought this all up, and thankfully I found some research with solutions (well... interventions) that show promise. The biggest one I found was relationship-building between teachers-students, teachers-parents, and teachers-principals. The CLASS framework (we used this in my undergrad and I always found it really helpful, but I hadn't even thought of it until this week when I started writing) focuses on emotional support as a primary indicator of an effective classroom, followed by classroom management and instructional support. How a teacher interacts with their students makes a tremendous difference in the number of behavior issues, and having those positive, supportive relationships not only with students but also with admin and parents actually affects the disproportional referral of Black students as well. I found it interesting that one of the articles I read (which I'll cite at the bottom since I have it on hand) noted that PBIS and emotional literacy are the other two things that help with office referrals overall, but neither one was significant in reducing discriminatory discipline of Black students.

    My school is predominantly Hispanic, but we do have a lot of Black students, and the kids who seem to struggle the most are Black boys. It makes me wonder how doing something like a school-wide training in CLASS as an observation tool (we use Marzano right now, which is ok and has some of the same points, but doesn't emphasize emotional support as much) would impact the relationships teachers have with those more challenging kids.

    The article I mentioned (not indented correctly but OH WELL. It's in APA at least) :
    Skiba, R. J., Arredondo, M. I., & Rausch, M. K. (2014). New and developing research on disparities in discipline. Retrieved from
    http://www.njjn.org/uploads/digital...Disparities_Disparity_NewResearch_3.18.14.pdf
     
  15. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    I think it's natural that teachers might "notice" certain students behavior more than others. As humans our brain evolved to find patterns in things, even if they might not be there. The important thing is that you are noticing that you do this, and I'm sure as a result you think twice before jumping to course of action when addressing these students and might think to yourself "am I really treating all of my students equally?"

    That act of reflection becomes a habit and soon you really do become impartial. Sometimes this is something that has to happen each year, and that's fine too. As long as you're aware and open to the reality that we all have our prejudices whether they arose from society, our upbringing, or our past experiences, and you're willing to take actions to address them.
     
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  16. vickilyn

    vickilyn Magnifico

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    We routinely write up students behaviors, with a form listing common infractions and room to explain what happened. At the end of the day, admin partners up with other individuals who have eyes on the students consistently throughout the day and goes through all of these to determine consequences. It is a system that allows for interpretation from multiple POV, and the same individuals do this daily. First, this is a 100% SPED school, and most are classified ED. The system puts multiple sets of eyes on each child, and considers the write ups earned throughout the day, so that a single incident is recognized as perhaps abhorrent behavior, while the student with the same behaviors all day may need a consequence. Some teachers routinely use the forms, since it becomes a record of behavior modifications, and tracks a student's progress in the program in becoming more able to return to their home district.

    Some teacher write up the behaviors consistently, not to "get them in trouble", but to create data that can be used to make decisions about LREs during IEP meetings. Other teachers ignore, ignore, and ignore until the behavior gets on their last good nerve. By ignoring the behaviors that led up to the scathing write up, they have done the student a disservice, IMO, since now the record of behavior shows extreme infractions that might not have occurred by consistently reporting lesser infractions. The goal is to help the student learn to monitor and control their behavior, but if two teachers write them up for infractions that are seemingly considered the student's hot spots and two other teachers ignore the same behaviors, and let the behaviors escalate until that student is totally out of control, the data is flawed and less useful as a predictor of how much progress a student has made in controlling the behaviors that would allow for a new, less restrictive environment.

    I believe that the teachers who turn a blind eye to, say, a student standing on top of a student desk has done a student who has trouble self monitoring their behavior a disservice. That same behavior, in another class, may result in that student injuring themselves, destroying school property, and creating a crisis that affects many students. I think that if our write ups are inconsistent, the students flounder because we have sent them mixed signals. I should mention that the same write up allows us to recognize excellent behaviors, which are shared with the students. The write up, then, becomes the data it was intended to be, and valid, showing not only faults, but also growth as evidenced by recognition of improvement, our ultimate goal.

    This system can ensure that by day's end, each teacher has reflected on the behavior of every student, considered triggers, responses, deescalation, and ultimately success or failure within the behavior modifications each student needs. IMHO, I believe that it creates a more honest picture of these student's abilities, and prevents any one student from being targeted. This is reflection in real time. I would prefer more consistency, but it is a system made up of individuals, and total compliance will not be possible.

    Just my thoughts on ways to prevent a single teacher from having undue influence when there is a system in place that directly monitors behavior of all students.
     
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  17. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    This topic comes up every year when we analyze referral statistics. Proportionally, male black students get more referrals than any other demographic. We talk about removing bias but we never talk about changing student behavior. It is always implied (or in some cases directly said) that teachers must be racist and pick on the black kids. But when teachers write the exact same referrals for white kids that do the same exact thing, the white teachers aren't accused of any bias then.

    I have had one white student say "F--- you" to me. I have had about eight black students say it. For crazy simple things - asking them, in the same tone as I do anyone else, to please put their trash in the can during lunch duty. For telling them the hallway is closed during testing. Kids I may not even know.

    I have had five students try to physically intimidate/forcefully touch me. All black boys.

    Am I to ignore these behaviors? Simply because of a student's skin color?

    FTR, we have a handful of black teachers. For the most part, students are allowed to disregard school rules in their classes (all of our black teachers teach electives). So referrals for leaving the class without permission, phone usage in class, dress code infractions, cursing in class, etc., do not come from them. When looking at statistics it appears as though the black teachers are more "in tune" with the students and we are encouraged to take pages from their books.
     
  18. Always__Learning

    Always__Learning Comrade

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    I do understand what 2ndTimeAround is saying, but I also think that we do have the school system set up based on white middle class values. I do question if it is fair to expect teachers and students who are minorities to conform to the white, middle class values. I wonder if our system has a responsibility to consider those other perspectives as we identify our rules and expectations. Someone referenced culturally relevant teaching practices and I wonder if that needs to also include our perspectives on behaviour.
     
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  19. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    In some ways, I agree with your statement, but in another way, I don't. When growing up in a predominantly white school in an area that had its own awful lingo, we were continually corrected for using slang words and poor grammar. It wasn't about acting white "middle class" which was an accusation that was heard off and on, but it was to prepare students for working in the world of business and with others. Like it or not, the business world (not the underground "business" world) tends to use proper grammar and not as much slang.

    Of course, we didn't like being corrected or having to speak "proper" English because it was difficult and uncomfortable to switch our speech, but it was and is essential to know how to do if you want to be able to work in the business world.

    Sure there are some industries where anything goes, but for the most part, schools should be teaching students proper grammar and how to effectively and properly communicate in the business world. I would say, people who learn to switch back and forth may have some advantage over those who don't k now both.
     
  20. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Connoisseur

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    I have also seen black students get away with behavior that they should not. Personally, I think that is a disservice to the students because they are not being taught how to behave appropriately. I wonder if this stems from low expectations because I find it unacceptable. I have a black student who is constantly rude to other students and yells over the teacher during class. I heard that he makes fun of a girl for being Asian with no consequences except a teacher asking him to stop. I wonder how he is supposed to learn appropriate behavior if his behavior has almost no consequences.
     
  21. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Connoisseur

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    Another perspective is that standard English is deemed proper because of white, middle class views. I also believe that we must teach sfudents how to communicate in standard English but we can do this without putting down the language they speak at home or with their friends. We can be explicit about why they need to learn standard English. Many students are already familiar with code switching. We can also provide opportunities in our classroom for for students to use AAVE and standard English so they learn how to code switch.
     
  22. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    I agree it is viewed this way, but certain behavior and speech is practiced globally whether we think it is fair or not. It may have started as white, upper class, but that really is irrelevant at this time because it is accepted practice worldwide whether someone is Asian, Black, Brown, or White.

    No one said we have to put down a student for the language they speak at home, but some students will see it as "acting white" no matter how it is done because we perpetuate the idea of "acting white" rather than focusing on how business is conducted world wide. As long as we continue to nod our heads and agree it is "acting white" opposed to the fact that it is now common business language things won't get better. Sorry to say, the world is not going to bow down any "home and friend" language whether that be from inner city Baltimore or rural West Virginia. Therein lies the problem. Some groups of people thinks the world should change for them when the rest know you must change to the world in certain situations.
     
  23. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Connoisseur

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    ^^
    I said we need to be explicit to our students about the reasons they need to learn how to speak standard English--and much of this stems from white supremacy. I never said that our students should not learn how to speak standard English. I said they need to be able to speak and write in standard English and code switch so they know what language is appropriate for what setting.

    I would recommend reading the article "African American Vernacular English is not Standard English with Mistakes."
     
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  24. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Aficionado

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    English rules originate from the English, who developed and cultivated the rules of their language. If you are going to learn a language, any language, then you need to learn the rules, grammar, and proper sentence structure to speak and write it effectively. In foreign language classes like Spanish, French, Chinese, and German, the students are taught the correct rules of the language. However, in American schools, there seems to be a double standard for the teaching and speaking of English. Why, I don’t know.
     
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2018
  25. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Aficionado

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    Ebonics should not be recognized as an official language and nothing else besides shattered English. When I hear statements made by African-American people like “Who do you think you is?” or “Yes I does” or “I tooken it” I just shake my head in dismay. “You feel me!”

    Yeah, no.
     
  26. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    No need to do so. I understand that it is as much as a dialect as any area's dialect. That was the very reason I mentioned rural West Virginia. Ever have a conversation with someone with their dialect? You may not know half of what they have said. Wonderful people, but that wouldn't fly if they wanted to do business and didn't code switch.
     
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  27. TrademarkTer

    TrademarkTer Groupie

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    My university tried to brainwash us that it is bad to force standard English on certain students as it disparages their cultural background. I played the game and wrote the bull**** paper agreeing with them, got my "A", and then moved on with my life.
     
  28. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    It seems like you don't have a lot of knowledge about or experience in language, language use, or language acquisition.

    What you're describing (and insulting) above is very common all over the world. Even if the language of majority is one thing, there are always groups of people who speak something a little different from that. Creole and pidgin languages are everywhere. Slang is everywhere. Have you ever been to Hawaii? The English spoken there is unique and very different from standard English. Is it less valid as a language because it's different from standard English? I'd certainly argue that it is definitely not less valid. It's just not standard. Hawaiian folks, just like anyone else who speaks a language different from the standard version of the language of majority, need to learn standard English in order to communicate in settings where standard English is the norm. That doesn't devalue their home languages, though.

    Not everything that's different from what you are used to is bad or worthy of derision.
     
  29. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Aficionado

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    I’m sorry you had to sit through that nonsense. I’m sure there are always positions for administrators in useless departments to enforce this kind of BS.
     
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2018
  30. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Aficionado

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    Slang is nonstandard English, but it still follows the written rules of English for the most part. Hawaiian dialects still have formal rules. Ebonics is just illiteracy, plain and simple.

    Explain to me how saying, “Don’t you take him no place” or “I dindu nuffin” is an effective means of communication. There are no grammatical rules that are being followed here. It’s just what gibberish comes to mind in the moment. Sort of like overly religious people speaking in tounges.
     
  31. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    There is most definitely a set of standards and grammatical rules to AAVE. Any quick Google will give you more information about that. The rules of AAVE are certainly comparable to the rules of Hawaiian pidgin.
     
  32. miss-m

    miss-m Devotee

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    Jan 21, 2018

    Scots comes to mind as well.
    Just because the grammar rules are different doesn’t mean they don’t exist. Ebonics is very consistent with its own usage and just because it may not be helpful in formal situations doesn’t mean it’s invalid as a dialect. Calling it gibberish probably also contributes to the disdain for “talking white” when it comes to standard English. I’d push back too if someone told me my way of speaking, despite having grammar rules, was “gibberish” and “uneducated” just because they spspoke differently than me.
     
  33. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Aficionado

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    Interestingly enough, I found exactly what you’re referring to on the University of Hawaii website:

    https://www.hawaii.edu/satocenter/langnet/definitions/aave.html

    I tried to read through this article and am ashamed that this is considered a field of study. Way to go America. You always cease to amaze me.
     
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2018
  34. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Aficionado

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    Educated people don’t talk like that, which is why educated people say people sound uneducated when they insist on using slang and nonsensical words to communicate.
     
  35. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    [​IMG]
     
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  36. a2z

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    What is funny to me is that much of the vernacular was part of the dialect spoken where I was raised and most often by lily-white people. Double negatives abound, dropping sounds, using non-standard tenses, and then some of the most amazing unique-to-the-area words were commonly used when speaking with friends and socially. That is why I really don't see this as a race issue. The local dialect was very close to AAVE.

    So, is it really a race issues or an education issue?

    Not everything is a race issue just because it happens to someone who is not white. Especially when the same thing is happening to those who are white.

    Yes, I agree, the English spoken globally in business did start with educated white people. There is no changing that and the world isn't going to change.

    We can keep making this into a race issue, but from where I stand, it really isn't a race issue. It certainly does keep the fires stoked though to frame it as a "race-only" issue.
     
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2018
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  37. Always__Learning

    Always__Learning Comrade

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    I'm not sure that it can't change globally. Historically, the British only allowed people with particular accents on the radio. Now if you listen to British TV, you hear a range of accents. I found my British friends had a much easier time understanding a variety of dialects and accents than I could because it had been normalized in Britain.

    That being said, the author of Lean In talks about the idea that sometimes if we want to advance we have to be willing to work within the system as it currently exists as change may not come fast enough for any of us at an individual level.
     
  38. a2z

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    We may also find that when we start working within a system that the system isn't as bad as we had feared.

    I guess I still wonder, why is it so bad to learn formal English?
     
  39. Peregrin5

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    You do know language is essentially a completely made-up construct that changes throughout the years. And the dictates of "proper" language are determined largely by... wait for it, white middle-class men who "study" the English language?

    I don't mean to disparage anyone with a degree in English or any other language, but a degree in English is essentially equivalent in value to a degree in Pidgin in my eyes, because language is basically just a nearly randomly constructed system of communicating ideas, so you're basically just studying pig latin.

    Compare studying language to studying science: it's not a thing that's based on the natural laws of this world or discovering more about where we came from or where we can go (unless you're studying anthropological linguistics to determine the evolution of language by following different populations through time). Language is not based on fact or anything. It's largely based on opinions about what is considered "proper language", which in my book are as good as it being based on a value judgment about whose farts smell better.

    Whether it be in "proper English" (which a lot of linguistic scientists state has a lot of issues) or pidgin English, the same end is met: communication.

    What you think sounds "educated" or "uneducated" is just a baseless opinion formed on the grounds of what you're used to in your experience.
     
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  40. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Aficionado

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    Okay then, by that logic we can just change whatever word or standard we want we want to suit our liking then. The word “tree” can mean whatever you want it to. After all, it’s just a made-up word any way. Why were at it, let’s just throw out the rules for arithmetic. According to you, we don’t need standards.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 22, 2018
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  41. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    I'm not sure that the argument is that it's bad to learn formal English. I think that what's bad is to disparage the version of English that our students speak conversationally at home. Rather than ridicule them for that or call them illiterate, maybe we could accept that they might do things differently in their homes than what we might do in ours. Maybe we could acknowledge those differences and use them to help bridge the divide between our own life experiences as teachers and theirs as students, including our cultural, linguistic, and socioeconomic backgrounds.
     
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