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Code-Switching. Insights and strategies for assessing and teaching reading in minority classrooms. Rachel Swords rachel.swords@nn.k12.va.us Interventionist National Board Certified Teacher Newport News Public Schools. A path of Teacher & Student Transformation. © Wheeler 2008.

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code switching

Code-Switching

Insights and strategies for assessing and teaching reading in minority classrooms

Rachel Swords

rachel.swords@nn.k12.va.us

Interventionist

National Board Certified Teacher

Newport News Public Schools

slide2

A path of

Teacher

&

Student

Transformation

© Wheeler 2008

one linguistic insight
One linguistic insight…

When students read…

“the pines was about to hold council” or

“they built a fire to warm theirselves,” etc.

They are not

Making mistakes inside Standard English

Instead, they are CORRECTLY following grammar patterns of the community language variety

© Wheeler 2008

that one linguistic insight transforms classroom practice
That one linguistic insight… transforms classroom practice

Build on students existing knowledge of their own community grammar patterns

Add new knowledge of Standard English

Empower students to make grammatical choices

for reading assessments this means
For reading assessments, this means…
  • Remember the purpose of the assessment
  • Recognize existing knowledge
  • Understand the grammar patterns of the students
slide8

The student accuracy score is 84% when home speech patterns are penalized.

The student accuracy score is 90% when home speech patterns are NOT penalized.

slide9

Assessment: Teacher sees

vernacular features

Assessment: Teacher sees grammar error

Teacher Response: compare /contrast Standard and vernacular

Teacher Response: Correct “Error”

Student Response: Code-Switch

Before

After

Student Response: Ignore correction

Why? Teacher building on familiar grammar patterns

Why? Misdiagnosis of vernacular student grammar

© Wheeler 2008

what does this look like in the classroom
What does this look like in the classroom?
  • View student dialect as an asset
  • Use home speech as a springboard for teaching Standard English
  • Introduce literature that is rich in a variety of dialects
  • Encourage discussions pertaining to dialect
slide12

Flossie

in the reading group:

Students listen for language keys to character

© Wheeler 2008

Code-Switching 12

code switching charts
Code-switching charts

© Wheeler 2008

code switching students command language choices
Code switching students command language choices

Uses Informal English to create voice, character

David and Spy Mouse

Code-Switching 15

© Wheeler 2008

slide16

Code switching students command language choices

David’s author’s note in full Standard English

© Wheeler 2008

Code-Switching 16

thank you
Thank you!

Rachel Swords

Rachel.swords@nn.k12.va.us