In describing one particular study highlighted in this chapter, the author explains that as most of her students were African American, she developed an African American-centered composition theory for their courses. She based her approach on four observations: 1 form and content are inextricably bound, 2 Black discourse is an academic discourse in constant flux, 3 contrastive analysis of AAVE and Standard English will improve students' critical language facilities, and 4 cultural and critical awareness can be realized in writing and discourse using features that have arisen in the African American historical experience.
Richardson tests the effectiveness of the curriculum by evaluating whether the composition skills of her students improved over time. Her findings indicate that written fluency improved due to exposure to her curriculum. She supports this conclusion by presenting data from these rhetoric and composition courses.
African American literacies unleashed : vernacular English and the composition classroom
Included are examples of activities conducted in the classroom, writing prompts, analyses of AAVE syntax, and students' comments collected at the end of the course. Richardson's teaching is also discussed in chapter five. The focus here are another set of classes centering on rhetoric and discourse, with an emphasis on production. Additionally, the author offers a detailed description of her teaching methodology. The chapter includes several examples of student writing and Richardson's comments on each one. In these classes some students sought publishers for papers in which they used AAVE discourse while others used written AAVE in developing web pages for community organizations.
The author points out that these assignments proved useful for students because they revealed differences between public and private discourse. The text's final chapter, ''Dukin' it out with 'the powers that be,' covers some of the problems and challenges that the author experienced teaching African American-centered curricula.
Perhaps its most striking strength is the author's highly personal approach. Richardson includes many personal anecdotes and successfully weaves these into discussions of the topics mentioned above. Another related strength of the book is its attention to popular culture and the author's insightful discussion of these forms with respect to literacy. My main criticism of the book concerns organization and clarity.
I found that the author has a tendency to be repetitious in her review of literature that relates to her research e. Currently these references extend into the fourth chapter but could, I suggest, be limited to two chapters. Though these references typically relate to the topic at hand, they often address points that have already been discussed. This takes away from the book's coherency as a whole, making it seem as if the chapters were meant to be read as individual units. The final criticism to be mentioned here concerns key concepts and phrases in the text.
These are numerous: 'African American literacies', 'the Black Voice', 'African American ways of knowing,' 'Signifyin g ,' 'survival literacies,' and 'African American discourse and rhetoric. Usually I had some idea of what these terms meant, but seldom was the relationship between them defined precisely. Moreover, it would be helpful if what the author means by 'literacy' and 'literacies,' perhaps the most important words in the book, was defined in the beginning of the text and then built upon in later discussion.
Overall the book makes a valuable contribution to studies focused on the use of AAVE in the classroom. Especially noteworthy is the author's presentation and explanation of the critical pedagogy that she developed during her work as an educator. Her approach shows readers that the problem of educational underachievement in the United States can be solved only if the sociohistorical and political contexts of language education are considered.
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Richardson's work stands out because it offers solutions in the forms of useful concepts and strategies, ones that readers can adapt and discuss for with their own students. The Logic of Practice. Stanford: Stanford University Press. Farr, M. Language Diversity and Writing Instruction. Fine, M. Silencing and Literacy. In Gadsen, V. Creskill, NJ: Hampton Press, pp.
Freire, P. Pedagogy of the Oppressed. Log out of ReadCube. Digital literacies abound in playing a foundational role in the rhythm and pattern of our lives, yet debates continue about how to harness them to teach and learn literacy. This column also provides a venue for research and practical applications that depict technology use as a part of the fabric of being human.
The column helps educators reconceptualize the ways that children learn with technology, media, and new communication systems; honors educator success stories and burning questions and issues; and reimagines literacy futures.
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African American Literacies – A Language of Being
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