The Importance Of Ebonics In Education

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In today’s society African Americans are treated with inadequate instruction in the classroom. This can be due to school systems not acknowledging the first language of African Americans in the classroom. This language can be referred to as African-American Vernacular English (AAVE), Black Vernacular, Black Vernacular English (BVE), or as I will refer to this language for the majority of my research: Ebonics. I will be discussing the effects of Ebonics on African Americans; and with three key questions I will address the issue, and discuss solutions which will allow African Americans to receive the most beneficial form of education. Therefore, the fundamental questions are: Are African Americans English language learners (ELLs), and should…show more content…
In order for teachers to avoid misplacement of student’s in education, they must be knowledgeable and mindful of student needs, in this case teacher’s comprehension of the role Ebonics has on African Americans. For meaningful learning to take place, teachers must understand the different form of education some African Americans will require, because of the change Ebonics has on the pronunciation and grammatical features of a word. In order to stray from the injustice African Americans are receiving in education, a full comprehension of their first language must be present; furthermore this will allow teachers to understand that a cause of error may be linked to their language. The term Ebonics itself can be broken into “ebony” and “phonics”, and as Dr. Robert Williams puts it “the science of black speech sounds or language” (Ebony + Phonics, Williams). Ebonics includes many features revolving around grammar rules and pronunciations; such as, omission of the final consonant in words, pronunciation of vowels, dropping of the letters b, d, or g when placed before an auxiliary verb, elimination of the present tense is and are, but never am in the production of sentences, and use of double negatives (What is Ebonics, Rickford). Examples of words under Ebonics influence include: “han” for hand, “baf” for bath, “mah” for my, “goin” for going, and…show more content…
The Oakland Unified School District is one of the most prominent cases which recognizes Ebonics as another form of language. “In 1996 the Oakland Unified School District passed a resolution declaring Ebonics to be the primary language of the African-American students in its school” (What happened in Oakland? The Ebonics controversy of 1996-97, Dennis Baron). It is imperative Ebonics be labeled as another language, because it is then teachers can realize the significance of understanding their first language and the affect it will have on their education. “Still, many African American students will walk into classrooms and be discreetly taught in most cases, and explicitly told in others, that the language of their forefathers, their families, and their communities is bad language, street language, the speech of the ignorant and/or uneducated. They will be “corrected”… (Hollie, 2001, 54). For reasons like the one mentioned in the previous quote teachers must recognize Ebonics as another language, and treat African Americans who present this type of speech similarly to that of Bilingual students. According to Hollie, bilingual students have been shown to score higher than African
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