Prof: More important to teach students to ‘battle linguistic racism’ than standard English

Prof: More important to teach students to ‘battle linguistic racism’ than standard English
W.A. Strouse (Image: CUNY)

[Ed. – He teaches medieval literature? In what language?]

A professor of medieval literature at the City University of New York (CUNY) lamented academia’s support for “Standard American English” in a recent op-ed.

In an op-ed for Inside Higher EdDr. A.W. Strouse argues that colleges should support “greater linguistic diversity” and “affirm and embrace” language differences among students, such as the use of slang and African American Vernacular English (AAVE).

Affirming students’ use of non-standard English is important, he says, because students who speak nonstandard English may feel discouraged if called out for it. Citing educators Vicki Spandel and Richard J. Stiggins, Strouse notes that “negative comments…tend to make students feel bewildered, hurt, or angry.”

“Already, scholars of rhetoric believe, as the consensus view, that instructors should not try to change their students’ speech patterns,” Strouse writes. “In the classroom, students shut down in the face of pedantry because they hate when bossy teachers tell them how to talk, especially in cases in which bourgeois white teachers dictate ex cathedra about what speech is ‘correct.’”

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