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Jan 11, 2016 | 0 comments

Jan 11, 2016 | Essays | 0 comments

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There have been many debates about various aspects of the classroom; however, none has raised as much controversy as the use of Ebonics in the classroom. In 1997, the California board raised the biggest of debates by recognizing Ebonics as a language that is both used and quite dominant in the schools. The result was that many researchers, scholars, and even statesmen came up. Some of course were in great support of the use of Ebonics finding it an equalizing factor in the classroom. On the other hand, some felt Ebonics was far from a language.

Benefits of Using Ebonics in the Classroom

A common problem in the English classroom is that majority of the students often feel frustrated and angered by the teacher’s continued correction of their English. Harris states that after decades of correction, management studies. I am sad when reporting that the experiences of the students are still using far from perfect English (42). In fact, in his analysis, he shows that American students though using English from birth as a first language, have bad pronunciation, grammar, and sentence construction especially when it comes to written English. In accepting Ebonics as a language, the California board applied a very important aspect of psychology. They provided a positive environment where shared the history, views and values and whose sign language is the first language. In Saudi Arabia, classification of the students can be corrected on their own grammar and language. With Ebonics being used in the class, the teacher finds it much easier to correct, improve, and explain errors to students. On that note, students are more receptive to such corrections. As such, an instructor can recognize fast improvement within a short period, a positive learning environment where students are more willing to participate. Traditionally, such students would be unwilling to participate and aggressive when it comes to correction.

Secondly, it is important to note the reasons behind the decision by the California board. One of the issues facing the board was the fact that language was often used as a factor to segregate students. In the early ’90s, the issues of racial segregation were rampant in the district. In an attempt to make the classroom more inclusive, the board chose to recognize Ebonics as part of the English language. The idea was not to teach Ebonics as a language in itself but to use the same language as a foundation upon which the student can be taught English as a language. According to Kretzschmar the poor performance of black American students in English classes came from the fact that they were constantly ridiculed because of the Ebonics English they used (112). Because teachers had not understood the foundation of the language, they found it difficult to interact and change the student’s perceptions. The result was a divided class, with such a large gap that teachers often find it difficult to bring the class back together.

When a teacher uses the Ebonics to teach in class, they find that students become more creative in their sentence formations. Ebonics allows the student to master new vocabularies, formulate new words and therefore expand their mastery of the English language. Baugh during his research found that when students are exposed to Ebonics they develop a better mastery of the English language (66). This is more for students from black American and Latin American homes. These children often have little mastery of native English; teachers find their vocabulary even in higher grades to be too simplistic. Attempts to introduce new vocabularies are met with major difficulties, however, Ebonics allows the students to transform the words and vocabulary they already have into native English. This improves their writing skills. Ramirez states that teachers often have misconceived ideas about Ebonics having been associated with low class and poor African Americans. Many, therefore, ignore the vocabulary and semantics associated with this form of language (31).

Perry and Delpit found a very disturbing trend in a study, about 30% of the students had managed to overcome the challenges associated with schools that are elementary and high school (129). Unfortunately, they had done so without mastering Standard English. The problem is that the job market held very few opportunities for them. Further, college courses and other skills appreciation and talent enhancement opportunities were often lost on them because they could not express themselves. All these problems could easily be resolved with the introduction of Ebonics in class. Such an introduction highlighted the weaknesses and uses the strengths associated with Ebonics to improve mastery of Standard English. Students are therefore associated with greater opportunities and a variety of job opportunities (Perry and Delpit 141).

Work Cited

Baugh, John. Beyond Ebonics: Linguistic Pride and Racial Prejudice. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000.

Harris, Katherine. Pan African Language Systems: Ebonics & African Oral Heritage. London: Karnak House, 2003.

Kretzschmar, William A. Ebonics. Athens, Ga: Journal of English Linguistics, 1998.

Perry, Theresa, and Lisa D. Delpit. The Real Ebonics Debate: Power, Language, and the Education of African-American Children. Boston: Beacon Press, 1998

Ramirez, J D. Ebonics: The Urban Education Debate. Clevedon, Hants, England: Multilingual Matters, 2005.