Abstract

Abstract:

This study examines high school English teachers' beliefs about language as part of a project to align language teaching with contemporary linguistic understandings of language as a social process. The authors interviewed twenty-seven teachers from varied contexts across Missouri. Analysis shows that English teachers believe that (i) they are less judgmental about language than the rest of society, (ii) society discriminates against people who do not use Standardized English, (iii) students need Standardized English to be successful in school and work, and (iv) a teacher's job is to prepare students to conform to the expectations of society. As a whole, this chain of beliefs constitutes a dominant school language narrative that reproduces existing linguistic hierarchies. Teachers struggle to resolve the conflict between valuing diverse language practices and preparing students for a society that expects Standardized English. Implications suggest that supporting English teachers to take a critical stance, such as that embedded in critical language awareness, might provide teachers a new critical narrative that increases students' language knowledge while also disrupting social inequities tied to language use.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1535-0665
Print ISSN
0097-8507
Pages
pp. e238-e256
Launched on MUSE
2021-10-01
Open Access
No
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