How African American Teachers' Beliefs About African American Vernacular English Influence Their Teaching

dc.contributor.advisorBrazer, S. David
dc.contributor.authorJones, Gregory
dc.creatorJones, Gregory
dc.description.abstractSchools are failing to meet the educational needs of African American Vernacular English (AAVE) speakers. Consequently, the academic achievement of AAVE speakers, and African American students in general, trails that of grade−level peers. Teachers are key components to students' school success. However, many educators lack knowledge of students' cultural and linguistic backgrounds, which can positively or adversely influence student achievement. Nevertheless, some African American teachers working with AAVE speakers find ways to value the rich cultural and linguistic patterns this group brings to school, thus positively impacting student achievement (Foster, 2002). Using cultural ecological theory and social reproduction as theoretical frameworks, this study examines African American teachers' perceptions, attitudes, and beliefs toward AAVE and AAVE speakers, as well as the classroom practices teachers employ to support the learning of students who come to school with AAVE as their first language. Numerous studies have investigated teacher attitudes toward AAVE, but to date, no research has been conducted to illustrate how, if at all, African American teachers' beliefs/perceptions of AAVE shape their classroom practices. In doing so, this study moves beyond existing research literature focused primarily on reporting teachers' attitudes toward AAVE on various language attitude surveys (Blake & Cutler, 2003; Hoover, et al.,1996a; Pietras & Lamb, 1978; Taylor, 1973). As evidenced in this study, there are inconsistencies in the expressed beliefs of teachers toward AAVE and their actions. Research participants' language attitudes toward AAVE are not consistently aligned with the classrooms behaviors they employ with AAVE speakers, that is, what teachers say about AAVE and what they actually do in the classroom, with respect to their perceptions, is not always in sync. As educators continue to ignore or discount the rich cultural capital AAVE speakers bring with them to schools, a fundamental implication of this research is that teachers need training to address their lack of knowledge of students' cultural and linguistic backgrounds.
dc.subjectAfrican American vernacular English
dc.subjectAfrican American English
dc.subjectLanguage and learning
dc.subjectTeacher education
dc.subjectLanguage and education
dc.titleHow African American Teachers' Beliefs About African American Vernacular English Influence Their Teaching
dc.typeDissertation Mason University in Education


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