Apr 24, 2011
I'm thinking that I may want to do a careful examination of the contrastive method for teaching grammar as a n action research project. The contrastive method is a culturally responsive method for teaching African American students Standard English (SE), and it is showing up in some of the most recent linguistic research. A research practitioner named Kelli Harris-Wright has done some pioneering work with the contrastive method, which is also called the bidialectal approach, and with code switching. Harris-Wright was a classroom teacher who, in the last few years, has begun to focus her efforts toward training pre-service and practicing teachers in DeKalb County, Georgia. In Enhancing Bidialectalism in Urban African American Students she explains the contrastive method for teaching African American students to code-switch between AAVE and Standard English (SE). Contrastive analysis and code switching are both useful tools for teaching Standard English. Contrastive analysis helps students develop a conscious and rigorous awareness of the grammatical differences between home speech and school speech. After carrying out such an analysis, students can code-switch between language varieties, which involves choosing the language appropriate to the time, place, audience, and communicative purpose. One of the ways of implementing the contrastive method is through literature where the narrator uses SE and the characters, in their dialogue, use AAVE. In such a narrative, students get good models of SE and they see how it contrasts with AAVE, which, if the writer cares about her characters, is presented respectfully and typically as a very expressive manner of speech. So students in a reading like this see a positive model of SE set right alongside of a positive model of AAVE. As students discuss what they've read, they can analyze the rules underlying AAVE as well as those generating SE, all of which helps them appreciate and understand language as whole much better as the dialect contrasts bring out the underlying structures of language.
Posted by Committed Sardine