Can I vent for a second about discipline and ethnicity?

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

  1. Always__Learning

    Always__Learning Comrade

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    This "its not so bad to learn standard English" argument reminds me of the argument around French and English in parts of Canada. Yes, English is the most common language. No, its not so bad to learn. But is it really so bad for others to learn French? Or for neighbours/community members to sometimes speak in French rather than English? I think the root of the disagreement with French and English is that when we say 'everyone speaks English so you should speak English' we are in some sense creating a hierarchy of languages - rather than saying - I can speak some French, you can speak some English, maybe we should both try to share both our languages - which implies a level of equity in our experiences.
     
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  2. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    I think that you and I are mostly on the same page on this issue, but I have to disagree strongly with your implication that the study of language isn't as valuable as the study of science. In fact, without language, the study of science would be meaningless because no scientists would be able to communicate their ideas and evidence.

    Language isn't some static, unchanging thing. It is dynamic and changing, always evolving to meet the needs of the people who use it. That's a pretty cool thing, if you ask me. Where I live now, I rarely hear people say "uffda" or "ope" or "cachenenny", but it doesn't mean that those words and the ideas they express are unimportant to people elsewhere who do say them. It's time to stop devaluing people who do things differently. That behavior is what has led to our current zeitgeist.
     
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  3. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    As long as the language can be used to communicate then it's fine. By changing anything you want to your standards, you may reduce the ability to communicate effectively. However what we're talking about: AAVE, when someone speaks using that dialect, you can still understand them 99.9% of the time. What it comes down to is pickiness about what you want to hear.

    Same goes for arithmetic. If a particular choice of convention doesn't translate to communicating mathematical ideas well, then it is thrown out in favor of a better one.

    Standards are okay to ensure that communication is possible, but there is not ONE RIGHT WAY to do it, as long as the communication goal is met. And those standards are open to change, and innovation in all cases.

    I agree with the argument that "proper" English should be taught to prepare students for the workplace.

    What I disagree with is your value judgments dictating that one form of language identifies a person as "uneducated" while another does not.
     
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  4. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    I have not once called them illiterate or disparaged them. We agree that they shouldn't be disparaged. Yes, some people think they are illiterate (some are, but that is not related to the dialect they speak).

    Some will find it disparaging for correcting speech in school settings no matter how it is done. It is deemed racist to even think that they should speak differently for any reason. They should be allowed to speak how they want whenever they want.

    As we have seen on this thread, just asking to learn how to code switch is deemed racist because it was developed under "white supremacy". So, it will always be racist. There is no getting around that. So, what do you do? Do you tell students fine, don't conform and let them flounder? That leaves to being blamed for not preparing students to be successful.

    So, where to go.

    I know we are getting away from the original topic, but it does tie into the same concept. What is acceptable to expect from people? Is it really racist to expect someone to not say f-you or to use proper grammar in academic settings?
     
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  5. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    Double negatives in a setting where proper grammar is used will never be understood properly unless the person you are speaking to gets a primer on your language.
     
  6. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    Yes, but they typically use this language among their peers. And if the proper context is available, you almost always understand their meaning. Where this may break down is in writing. I didn't say that all languages are perfectly equal in their universal use. Only that making a value judgment on a person because of the language they use in certain situations is a poor exercise.
     
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2018
  7. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    Agreed. I think maybe I described my position poorly. It's is incredibly important for scientific communication.

    What I think may turn out to be interesting is what direction scientific language may go in the future. More and more countries are contributing very interesting science to the scientific community, and the community itself is becoming increasingly globalized. However most scientists still present things in their native language and text, which makes it hard for scientists to share their findings with those of other countries and languages. I think the scientific community may be likely to choose one standard of language to enable more global communication.

    I especially agree with this statement you made: "It's time to stop devaluing people who do things differently." and that was essentially what I was trying to communicate through my long and wandering post. lol.
     
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  8. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Connoisseur

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    Are you referring to me? Because I suggested that we teach our students how to code switch. No one in this thread is suggesting that students should not learn standard English. You are right--students who do not learn standard English will likely not be successful and that's not ok. We are suggesting that we teach standard English while still respecting the English that they speak at home and with their peers.
     
  9. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    Yes. I am referring to you, but not because you suggested we teach students to code switch.

    I am referring to you because every time I suggest that code switching is something that is done for both races I am met with some form of racist reason. It is irrelevant whether or not the common language used for business is based off of what white people in business spoke and now speak. The same expectation is expected from white, black, and brown students. So, it really isn't racist that a black student is expected to speak formal English because the same is expected from other races who also have their own dialects or language that is similar to English.
     
  10. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Aficionado

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    Did Shakespeare speak and write improperly? Did Martin Luther King? Did Isaac Newton? Did Marie Curie? How about Susan B. Anthony? Did the writers of the Declaration of Independence or the Consitution use improper English? How about Bill Gates? Did Rosalind Franklin?

    The people with the greatest minds that have ever lived wrote and spoke in their primary language properly, as do most educated people.
     
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2018
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  11. Peregrin5

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    This does not support any logical conclusion that you must speak a particular language "properly" to be "educated". You're making an "appeal to authority" fallacy.

    Mother Theresa abused children and was considered a living saint. Therefore to be saintly you must abuse children. See?

    And it's interesting you chose Shakespeare, as he generated a lot of words that weren't common in English parlance of his day. Much of which would have been considered 'slang' of his time.
     
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  12. teacherintexas

    teacherintexas Maven

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    Shakespeare spelled his own name differently on various documents and invented words.
     
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  13. Always__Learning

    Always__Learning Comrade

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    And some of the "classics" that we read in English were challenged by the elite in their time as being written poorly, using lower quality English and lacking a "literary" quality. For example, Lord of the Flies (which when I went to school was considered "classic, quality literature") was said to be inappropriate for school use in the 1970s because it wasn't high quality literature.
     
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  14. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Aficionado

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    Yes, Shakespeare invented several words, but they had substance. Unlike words children use today like “that’s lit!” or “redflix and chill” or “ghetto fabulous.” My favorite is when students abbreviate “no” with “naw.” Yeah, abbreviate a two-letter word with a three-letter word. GOOD idea!

    That’s funny, my state standards require that I teach students to use academic language in the classroom. Nowhere does it say “ghetto street talk” or slang. I guess my state standards are different than yours.
     
  15. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Aficionado

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    Those are both officially recognized languages...
     
  16. miss-m

    miss-m Devotee

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    The point though is that at the time, Shakespeare's invented words were not considered to have "substance," though that may be the case now. Language changes - sometimes very quickly. The vocabulary that lasts becomes standard.
    Slang changes often and quickly - the fact that "lit" has gone from meaning "stoned/wasted" to "awesome" is evidence of that. That change happened in possibly just the past few years. No one anymore says "That's groovy" with 100% seriousness, because it's slang that has gone out of style. It's no longer used, and never got adopted as standard English.

    Not everything everyone says has to be deeply profound, especially not at 10-18 years old. As long as they CAN communicate formally when needed, who cares what slang they use with friends? They're kids.

    Whether you agree with it or not, African American English is considered a separate language at most and a commonly accepted dialect at least. It has its own rules of grammar and pronunciation, as does any other language. You don't have to like it, but it is the reality of home and social communication for many students and it would do you well as a teacher to at least be mindful and respectful in how you respond to students who use it.
     
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  17. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    It's been mentioned multiple times by multiple members. Nobody is saying to stop teaching formal English in the classroom or even to allow other languages. The issue is that you are making judgments about another language and culture and labeling them as 'uneducated,' based solely on your opinion.
     
  18. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Aficionado

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    No, I just use the explicit definitions of words.
    Uneducated | Definition of Uneducated by Merriam-Webster
    Merriam-Webster › dictionary › uneduca...

    Definition of uneducated. : having or showing little or no formal schooling.

    Educated people are able to read and write skillfully and communicate their ideas using proper sentence structure and grammar. They learned this from their formal schooling.

    Uneducated people, on the other hand, struggle to chain basic sentences together, have difficulty spelling and using monosyllabic words, barely know basic arithmetic, and are unskilled.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 22, 2018
  19. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Phenom

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    This is soooooo true.

    I find that a lot of my Mexican students (especially the ones who are newcomers) add -ed to the end of anything that happened in the past. For example, “I haded to go to the bathroom during recess.”

    I always repeat things correctly for them because I don’t want them to continue making the same errors. Plus, I was in their shoes once and was happy when school staff would help me say things properly.
     
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2018
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  20. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Aficionado

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    True, I just mentioned African-American students because they were brought up by several posters. If another group of students were mentioned I would have referenced them solely. I am NOT saying that improper language usage is specific to any one race.
     
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  21. miss-m

    miss-m Devotee

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    I think it's a combination of both. One of the articles I read mentioned that Black students are more disproportionately referred in suburban, predominantly white districts. In schools with a lot of low-SES students and large class sizes, office referrals are more evenly distributed (and there are fewer overall, if I remember correctly). To me this suggests something more on the underlying bias side. I hope that most teachers are not outrightly racist toward their students of color, but sadly I think that certain biases or racist tendencies are more likely to show up in predominantly White, suburban schools.
    However, schools with high amounts of poverty have their own set of issues that lead to office referrals - trauma caused from the stress of poverty or abuse, for instance.
     
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  22. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    Without data for SES, correlation may indicate that it is based on race, but the truth may be it still is SES at hand.

    I'm not saying there are no situations of racism or bias, but I also know that kids in special education are also disproportionately referred. I do know for a fact there are teachers who will target students, but sometimes it is males (or females) or a child with a disability who makes the job harder for the teacher, etc.

    I think referrals are going to be a hard thing to tease out because there are so many reasons people will refer to the office and so many factors cause misbehavior.
     
  23. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Phenom

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    May we go back to ebonics? Is this something that is okay to correct? I must admit--I do.

    Something I hear quite often is "finna". For example, "We're finna go eat lunch right now."

    The other one is "ax". That one, though, I just let go.
     
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2018
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  24. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    I think it's usually appropriate to teach students how to use academic grammar and vocabulary.

    "Finna" and "fixin' to" seem to be a Southern thing. My in-laws say "fixin' to" as a future tense thing. "I'm fixin' to go to Chik-fil-A. What do you want?"
     
  25. miss-m

    miss-m Devotee

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    I tend to ignore “ax” because it’s just one of those pronunciation things that kids have a REALLY hard time hearing the difference to change.
    I haven’t heard “finna” personally, but it would probably depend on the context of use. I see that as similar to “gonna” or “wanna” - both perfectly acceptable in informal conversations, but it’s better to make an effort to say all the words if you’re discussing something formally.
    Maybe that’s more of a southern thing though, because in the Midwest I’ve never heard it.
     
  26. miss-m

    miss-m Devotee

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    True. I think a lot of times office referrals are treated as a way to get “challenging” students out of the room to make the teacher’s job easier. That’s a separate problem in and of itself.
     
  27. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Phenom

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    FYI: I'm in CA.
     
  28. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    I think this is an excuse rather than a real reason. Just because something is hard for a person doesn't mean it should be ignored. You can teach people to pronounce things properly by utilizing motor sensation rather than hearing. It is done with students with speech deficits all the time, not that saying "ax" instead of ask is a speech deficit.

    And yes, I feel that if we are correcting language even a white child who mispronounces something should also be corrected even if it is a dialect in the area.
     
  29. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Phenom

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    I've never heard a single non-black child use "ax", though.
     
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  30. a2z

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    I have, but they were the minority in a black area. It was a learned pronunciation.
     
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  31. miss-m

    miss-m Devotee

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    I agree with you; I just usually have other, more important things to teach/correct than "ax" which is so widespread compared to other reading or speaking issues. I know that's probably not the best attitude to have; it's just not a priority for me most of the time.
     
  32. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Aficionado

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    Your comment, “I’m fixin’ to go to Chick-fil-A. What do you want?” made me laugh out loud. LOL
     
  33. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    Stop with the Chick-fil-A! You are making me hungry.
     
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  34. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    my two random comments:

    Friday I was stopped short when I asked a student of color to pick up the paper he had been throwing all over the place and he responded "That's racist slavery."

    We have a certain region of Utah that is infamous for a few phrases of bad grammar. I used to work with a gal from the area and she was constantly trying to fix it. I told her to relax.
     
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  35. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    I truly believe there are people who do not understand what the term racist means and has come to mean asking me to do or doing something I don't like.
     
  36. ms.irene

    ms.irene Connoisseur

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    That is interesting -- I'm in CA too and never hear "finna." Our Black students are mostly of Haitian descent, though, so they don't have a regional dialect.

    I admit to not having read the entire thread. What I have observed in my district, though, is admin applying consequences unevenly, not directly because of race, but because white student's parents are more likely to defend their student, even if they deserve the consequence. For example, one year I had three students get written up for possession of drugs in a quantity that meant potentially dealing. The Black and Hispanic kids were expelled -- one within weeks of graduation. The White kid got a five-day suspension. Now, there could have been other factors, but what I believe is that the Haitian and Mexican parents accepted the admin's decision, and perhaps didn't even know they had the right to fight it. The white, upper-middle-class parents fought tooth and nail for Little Johnny to get off with a slap on the wrist, so he did.

    Race, class, and wealth are so closely linked in this country that it is really hard to tell what is what. As educators, though, if the patterns are there, we have to examine our practices and ask what we are doing to disrupt the cycle.
     
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  37. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    That is bias. You don't know what really happened to make the punishment different but made a determination anyhow. Maybe there was proof that the two kids actually sold it and the other kid didn't. Maybe there were extenuating circumstances beyond the initial infraction. Or you may be right. The thing is, you don't know.
     
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  38. a2z

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    But you can't disrupt it the right way unless you know what is really going on. It can't be just what you believe to have happened. It ends up just causing different problems.
     
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  39. Backroads

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    Being a 2nd grader, he probably has heard the word and has an idea of what it means, but possibly not to a fullness. Since he is a bit of a stinker, it's also possible he was using to just be a stinker.
     
  40. a2z

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    If he really knew what it meant he wouldn't be using it in the manner he used it. It is not racist to ask someone to pick up trash that they threw. If he does know what it means and was using it as a weapon, he then needs a bit of counseling to help him understand that it is not appropriate to cry wolf.
     

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