Teaching African American english forms to standard American english-speaking teachers: Effects on acquisition, attitudes, and responses to student use

  • Fogel H
  • Ehri L
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Many U.S. students speak nonstandard forms of English, yet dialect issues are slighted in teacher education programs and literacy courses. In this study, classroom teachers who spoke Standard American English (SE) were familiarized with seven syntactic features characterizing African American English (AAE). Three approaches to instruction based on a cognitive view of self-regulated learning were compared: exposure to the features by reading AAE text (E); exposure plus explanation of dialect transformation strategies (ES); and exposure, strategy explanation, and guided practice transforming sentences from SE to AAE (ESP). On posttests, all forms of instruction improved teachers' knowledge and positive attitude toward AAE. However, ESP instruction proved more effective in teaching teachers how to translate sentences into AAE and to use AAE in writing stories. Results support the value of implementing self-regulated learning theory and reveal effective ways to teach dialect features to teachers so they can help AAE-speaking students learn SE. © 2006 by the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education.

Author-supplied keywords

  • African American English
  • Dialect
  • Dialect attitude
  • Self-regulation learning
  • Teacher knowledge

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  • Howard Fogel

  • Linnea C. Ehri

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