Friday, March 16, 2018

Why America Needs Ebonics Now

Great piece on African-American Vernacular English (AAVE) or "Ebonics" that every educator should read. In my earlier years as a sociolinguist, it was called "Black Vernacular English (BVE) and "West African dialect." Even if certain linguistic patterns are identifiably West African in origin, all of this gets quickly complicated by the fact that West Africa boasts and has boasted numerous dialects and languages historically.

This wonderful piece and must-see video is nevertheless a good followup to my recent post on Ebonics in a piece titled, "Julie Washington’s Quest to Get Schools to Respect African-American English."  Beyond the clear benefits of Ebonics instruction to student achievement—which is major and defensible unto itself, I agree—I also think that what must acknowledged in the process is the powerful and positive impact of Ebonics on American culture, especially pop culture and aesthetics.

Overall, what is needed  is an informed and respectful consideration of Ebonics as an effective pedagogical tool in the culturally relevant classroom.  Sadly, not all classrooms are culturally relevant—even if they should be.  That said, it's still good to know what you don't know—and by extension, what you absolutely must know if we're to seriously begin to impact the achievement gap. 

Thanks to education writer and journalist, Alexander Russo, for sharing. 


Why America Needs Ebonics Now

By Michael Hobbes
September 25, 2017


Script, Animation, Editing and Voiceover - Michael Hobbes
Michael is a contributing writer and producer for Highline.
Creative Direction & Design - Sandra Garcia
Sandra is the creative director of Highline.
Development & Design - Gladeye
Gladeye is a digital innovations agency in New Zealand and New York.
"Jocose Jon" by Monk Turner
"The Place Beyond the Clouds" by MindsEye

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