Critical Language Pedagogy: Teaching about Dialect Variation, Identity and Power

Lecture | November 15 | 3-5 p.m. | Dwinelle Hall, B-4 (Classroom side)

 Amanda Godley, Professor, English Education & Language, Literacy and Culture, University of Pittsburgh

 Berkeley Language Center

Language and literacy education scholars have long called for the teaching of language to be more critical, raising students’ awareness of how language choices and varieties convey power, identity and ideologies. In this talk, I focus specifically on Critical Language Pedagogy, an approach to teaching about dialect variation and language ideologies. I will share curriculum materials and results from a study of over 300 U.S. teachers’ engagement in a mini-course focused on dialects, power and identity. Drawing on both qualitative and quantitative analyses, I will describe the ways in which the course did (and did not) change teachers’ beliefs about language, literacy and their students, and the ways in which teachers’ linguistic, racial and regional identities shaped their engagement in the course. I will conclude with the lessons we learned about designing and implementing Critical Language Pedagogy in university and K-12 classrooms.

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