I will be a hypocrite if I say that I speak perfect Standard English at all times. I believe that there is a time and a place for speaking Standard English. In addition, I believe that all students should feel comfortable when conversing with their peers in the classroom. Through analyzing these studies, there appears to be one question posed throughout both articles: should students who speak African-American Vernacular English (AAVE) be allowed to speak their dialect in an English Language Arts classroom, or should they strictly speak Standard English.
The findings by Amanda J. Godley, written in 2012, focus on the fact that “learning formal spoken and written Standard English (SE) is essential to academic and professional success in mainstream U.S. society.” The article explains that AAVE is a type of dialect that is a “variety of English spoken in many African-American communities” (Godley 2012). This article notes that these students, and most speakers of AAVE, are low-class Black Americans. As expressed as well, these teachers are preparing the students for college and the professional world, and in the majority of the U.S., Standard English is the language spoken. Majority means most, not the small communities where AAVE may be acceptable and as unfortunate as it is, our country is not run by that type of citizen.
Most of the students observed understand that they should speak proper English when speaking to adults, going to a job interview, and in a professional or formal situation. It is understandable to view the ELA classrooms as “places to practice SE without being judged,” however as Godley also states, “teachers would benefit from developing an understanding of bidialectal students’ perspectives on code-switching and rationales for language choices.” This offers an opportunity for teachers to be trained to understand how to comprehend a student who speaks AAVE, Chicano English, New York Latino English, Pennsylvania Dutch English, Yeshivish, or Yinglish; if AAVE is going to be recognized, then these other dialects should also be acknowledged. It is noted in the article on page 711 that if students are to be allowed to speak their dialects, then they should be educated on “code-switching” to SE and taught “when and how to use it.” It is stated in the article that a specific teacher taught his students on “code-switching for different audiences and purposes,” which is very beneficial.
Identifying a correlation between the students’ academic grades and their opinions of speaking proper English is most likely a future indicator of the student’s success. These students understand the statement Godley makes that “people in powerful academic and professional positions expect others to communicate in formal SE and often form negative opinions of people who do not.” They want to break out of that negative stereotype that people who speak AAVE are ignorant; they have the hope to be successful in life because they push themselves to higher...