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Maddy's Jornal Post 2

maddybeckmann's picture

Last week the word that resonated with me was language and I have more questions than answers…. How do we teach language? How do we include all forms, but also make sure we are teaching “proper English”? But what is “proper”? As someone who has grown up with my mom correcting how I speak and how I write, how can I connect with those who speak differently? I want to work with students and connect with them. However, we all come from a very different background. How can I inspire students who can’t connect with me?


maddybeckmann's picture

Thank you all for the

Thank you all for the encouragement! I love hearing your thoughts on my post. This is something I worry about, but I feel much more confidant. I think it is important to be aware of differences. I think that using our discourses as different tools and narratives to enhance classroom learning is important and can be rich. Instead of finding how we are different also finding how we connect goal-wise and such will help create a bond between different discourses.


alesnick's picture

knowing/not knowing

I so appreciate this thread of thoughtful and helpful posts.  To it I add that your questions are part of what you are bringing your students.  Your willingness to come with questions is part of your toolkit.

emmagulley's picture

Maddy, We talked about this


We talked about this dynamic last week in our small group but I wanted to respond to it again, on sererndip.  

This is definitely a dynamic that interests and concerns me... Respeecting students' inherent cultures is of course important and definitely benefits the classroom.  (Imagine a teacher "flipping"/inversing the Delpit scissor example.)  However, I too feel your hesitation about the balance between teaching what is "acceptable English " and what is "inherent" different discourses.  I'm really interested in the intersection between this theoretical discussion and the practicality of being a working (over-worked?) teacher who, at the end of the day, _also_ has to prepare her students for standardized testing, etc.  

I'm so glad that we're having this discussion about inherent literacies and I think the idea of respecting inherent discourses is not only fascinating but also so exciting and important as an idea.  However, I cannot help but wonder:  what if my English teacher had not hammered the grammatical rules into my head as she did?  Theoretically, if a teacher did encourage me to speak/write in the language of my own reality, would I have ever learned about FANBOYS or the intrinsic values of the imperfect tense?  Knowing grammar intimately instilled me with a sense of joy and confidence and I wonder if that would have been lost if I had been taught solely in an inherent discourse.  

Furthermore, while the purpose of education is not necessarily to go to college and while standardized tests are inherently flawed, they definitely have practical concerns--how well will students perform on them if they are taught that in their primary literacy?

Of course, I guess everything is about striking a balance, and I'm not trying to suggest an "all or nothing" approach when it comes to teaching literacies.  However, with teachers who are already so overworked and underappreciated, are we suggesting to add more to their plates?  How would a high school English teacher appreciate multiple literacies?  

Cathy's picture

I think

you are much better off than you think. I think what will help you relate, or the closest thing you might have to their experiences is being constantely corrected on your writing and thinking and as a classmate pointed out, this is something we are all learning. I think your compassion is the best tool you have for all of this. 

pamela gassman's picture

Response To Maddy's Journal Post 2 and Comment

I think one of the main purposes of literacy is coherent communication with others based on speaking, reading and writing. I don't believe that "we have to speak the same way to connect." I think it may make the process easier, but not impossible. In order to broach the gap in literacies such as in black english and standard english, I think it would be important to find shared interests, and communicate based off the discourse in common. When talking to students that you are afraid you can't connect with because of different backgrounds, I believe it is important to not be patronizing and impose yourself and way of life on to them, but learn with them. Discover their backgrounds and use this as a tool to enhance their academic preformance and your own education of the discourse. 

ckeifer's picture

This post made me question if

This post made me question if we have to speak the same way to connect. I think it is less necessary to speak the same way than it is to have an awareness about the way we speak, why we speak that way, and how that includes and/or marginalizes others.  I think that the fact that you are questioning all these things means that you are becoming more aware of it which is essential to learning how to include others and connect with others.