Educator Linguistic Ideology About African-American English in STEM Contexts

Sunday, February 19, 2017: 8:00 AM-9:30 AM
Room 312 (Hynes Convention Center)
Anne Charity-Hudley, College of William and Mary, Williamsburg, VA
While many K-12 STEM educators show strong ideological support for multiculturalism and cultural and linguistic diversity, on a practical level they often express concern over a lack of models of conversations and lessons to help them incorporate sociolinguistic insights about African-American language and culture into everyday STEM instruction. Anne Charity Hudley describes such challenges as expressed by 60 K-12 STEM educators in Maryland and Virginia with whom she and Christine Mallinson have worked in educational partnerships for the past six years. In order to address these challenges, they designed three technology tools for use by K-12 educators to infuse sociolinguistics-based content, strategies, and materials into their teaching. First, they created podcasts that feature educators grappling with issues of language and culture in the classroom and sharing the solutions that they developed. Second, with the support of the Virginia Department of Education, they produced a set of 8 publicly available videos on language and culture in order to help elementary and secondary educators explore the issue of why African-American students face persistent educational inequality. Two of the videos specifically focus on the acquisition of literacy in STEM content areas and challenges related to language variation and assessment. Third, they designed a free “Valuable Voices” iPhone app that provides language and culture-based teaching exercises, strategies, and curricular models that are designed to help students cultivate a strong and authentic narrative voice, transfer their everyday reading and writing skills to academic contexts, and develop communication skills to meet the linguistic expectations of postsecondary education. Charity Hudley describes the development and use of each tool and focuses on how educators view the content as appropriately aligned with the standards-based educational objectives that they are expected to adhere to in their teaching. Feedback from educators collected via surveys and interviews show how the tools helped educators to become more explicitly aware of their own language varieties and the varieties found in their schools. Charity Hudley shares how educators then applied their insights to develop ways of talking and teaching about language that help foster an inclusive climate of cultural and linguistic inclusion in their classrooms. Technology-based materials are an effective and flexible strategy for future initiatives that seek to integrate sociolinguistics into K-12 teaching in order to support STEM persistence.