During this week, we reflected on the lesson plans introduced in the book used by the author her classroom. .As a whole group, we liked the emphasis on dialogue and narrative works because it encapsulates the students’ home language and culture. Relating the book and its offered practices to other resources and standards gave us an interesting view on activity application in the classroom. Activities utilized in curriculum have to fit with the relatively new Common Core Standards.
One of the more relevant activities the author used in her classroom includes analysis of perpetuated stereotyped in child-geared media. Disney movies took the focus in this activity. One example of a stereotype embedded in Disney movies is the idea that the female characters are actually damsels in distress. The author’s students really got into this activity because it allowed them to analyze things that they were exposed to from a young age.
Melissa really enjoyed reading about the tea party activity which consists of students coming up with descriptions of characters and then brainstorm how they would interact with them at a tea party. She made this activity a part of the lesson planning in our Curriculum bubble map assignment. The example the author included was for the idea Their Eyes Were Watching God. With the cultural differences, students would interact in distinct manners reflective of their own culture.
Hannah wished that the author discussed more about how she graded her students. Although she focused on the activities and their implement in the class, she did not address how she evaluated the activities that they completed in class.
Reflecting on the author’s practices allowed me to predict what I may use in my future classroom. I love the idea of using real-world examples in my classroom, such as comparing Disney movies to characterization and stereotypes in media, because it provides a relatable instance for kids to learn. I don’t know if I necessarily would use all of these methods in my classroom, as I will be in an elementary classroom for my career. However, the students in middle and secondary grade levels will benefit from these practices.
In class, we all watched a video highlighting Ebonics use in an Los Angeles Elementary School. The students were participating in a Jeopardy game in which they were completing code-switching for sentences from their African-American vernacular to Academic English. This topic hits directly with the focus in class on classroom language and “Standard English.” The definition of “Standard” English in a school defines the way students interpret “correct” and “incorrect” forms of language use. There is a controversy between what is considered appropriate language for a school environment and what is not. As future educators, our group has agreed that there is some discrepancies between the phrases “standard” versus “non-standard” English. We discussed that referring to the language in schools as “Standard” alienates certain groups that do not use the language in everyday speech. In deciding this, we are choosing to define “Standard” English used in school as “Academic” English. This would tailor the name of the language used to the environment it is used in.
Another main topic discussed during our meeting was code-switching. Code-switching is the shift of wording and tone as a result of context change. Differences in tone for code-switching are interpreted differently for certain people. I personally code-switch when I am around children, animals, and non-surprisingly, individuals with a lower intelligence level than I do. I alter the kind of vocabulary I use too, making it more simple/easier to understand. I honestly do not realize when I do it. I have been told I have motherly qualities, and when someone is experiencing hardships or are feeling bad, I automatically change my tone as well. A fellow pre-service teacher in my group, Melissa, and I differ in code-switching practices. She will simplify her language and alter her emotions because of the context, but she does not change her tone of voice. As a result, sometimes she is not perceived as sympathetic to a person’s situation when she actually is. The importance of tone in language is just as important as the words used. One of the class readings, entitled “No Kinda Sense” from Lisa Delpit’s book The Kin that We Speak, highlighted code-switching techniques used by her daughter. She thinks that it is possible for students to develop a usable form of code-switching that will allow students to be successful in an education setting.
As a whole, our group decided that language development in school requires a set “Academic” form of English that can translate over into the educational/professional lives of students. We also discussed the importance of keeping language diversity incorporated into certain assignments, such as those that reflect more personal expression or reflection. Different forms of language do not need to be prevented- they need to be celebrated! With a nice balance between vernacular and “Academic” language in school, I think that a student’s educational experience would be stellar!
Future readings: pages 125-133 of Reading, Writing, Rising Up!