Attitudes Towards African American Vernacular English In African American Preschool Teachers

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Attitudes towards African American Vernacular English in African American preschool teachers




Theoretical Framework4

Factors That Have Shaped the Attitudes of AA Teachers7

Background of the Problem8

Problem Statement10

Purpose Statement11

Research Question and Hypotheses12

Research Question 112

Research Question 212

Research Question 313

Significance of The Study13

Definition Of Terms14

Assumptions and Limitations15

Ethical Considerations16

Measurement techniques17



African American Vernacular English (AAVE) incorporates many labels which include but not limited to Ebonics, Black English, and Black Vernacular and is therefore defined as the English that is mostly, but not wholly, associated with the speech of African Americans. This particular form of English traces its roots back to the exclusion of AfricanAmericans from formal education, that lead to a formation of a unique dialect with its own particular features and characteristics. African American Vernacular English emerged as a tool for communication and cultural identity within an environment in which African Americans were denied access to education and were socially ostracized from mainstream society, which made it difficult to transition smoothly into Standard American English as other immigrants (Lee, 2006). African American Vernacular English according to linguists is used by at least 80 - 90% of African Americans and this group is considered “bidialectal” which means they can switch back and forth between AAVE and Standard American English (Trumbull & Farr, 2005). On the other hand, the vast majority of lower income African Americans uses AAVE as their primary dialect (Thompson, 2005). Pittman (2007) asserts the majority of lower income AA students enter kindergarten using AAVE.

Failure to acknowledge diversity in the African American culture and language of the home versus school positions the AAVE speaking student for failure rather than success (Maul, 2010). The use of AAVE has sparked conflict and controversy in schools throughout America (Trumbull & Farr, 2005) as documented from decades of research regarding scholarship, (Labov, 1972; Rickford, 1999; Smitherman, 2006) teacher perception. and appropriateness in school (Cochran-Smith & Lytle, 2006; Garan, 2004; Perry & Delpit, 1998). Due to the isolation and the language alienation among AA students and educators, there is a significant achievement gap between AA students compared to other racial groups. Many educators perceive AAVE as inadequate for school and base assessments solely from a Standard American English perspective, which heightens the risk of academic failure for speakers (Smitherman, 2006).

Baugh and Wyatt (2002) acknowledge that African American children are aware at an early age that requirements for speaking differ in various situations; however teachers should be pedagogically prepared to address the differences. W. E. B. Dubois (1903) articulates there is a struggle within African Americans trying to negotiate their home language and culture with mainstream language and culture which leads to debates surrounding the education of AA youths and the part AAVE should play in education both of which influences the achievement of African Americans (Trumbull & Farr, 2005; Smitherman, 2006; Cochran-Smith &Lytle, 2006). Therefore, a distinction exists between education and African American Vernacular English often resulting in a psychological price of misidentification when African American children are aiming to succeed in both cultural ...
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