first strand of research on the oral language and
written literacies of AAVE speakers began with an
investigation of the organizational patterns in
the oral and written expository language of African
American adolescents. This research went beyond
previous work on language use in the inner city
and examined the structures of exposition used by
these students in informal and academic settings.
It supported the hypothesis that devices young African
Americans use in informal exposition constituted
an untapped language resource that educators can
use in designing language arts curricula. This research
had both practical and theoretical implications.
From a practical perspective, it demonstrated that
African American adolescents have preferred patterns
of expository organizations and it conceptualized
what those patterns look like for students and teachers.
From a theoretical perspective, the research contributed
to a socio-cultural theory of language learning
and use by identifying specific educationally-relevant
cultural patterns and linking that information to
theoretical principles that help scholars and teachers
gain deeper understandings of how students' social
and cultural practices influence their academic
expansion of this research made explicit links between
linguistic theory and educational practice. Linguistic
research in the 1960s and 1970s focused on the language
features of students at-risk for educational failure
in order to raise broader and more critical issues,
e.g., how to reverse educational failure in the
inner cities, how to resolve conflicts and paradoxes
that center around bilingual/bidialectal education,
and how to break down barriers to social mobility.
In spite of the considerable work by earlier scholars,
recent research indicates that the theoretical research
was seldom translated into practice within classrooms.
Today many African-American, Latino, Native-American,
and some Asian students - especially those who speak
non-prestige varieties of English - are still faring
poorly in the nation's urban schools. Unresolved
language issues affecting the academic success of
speakers of non-prestige varieties of English still
require further research to better understand how
to achieve more effective teaching and learning
in school and non-school settings.
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A.F. & Farr, M. (In press). Dialects, culture, and
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and linguistically diverse students: The case of
the African American Vernacular English speaker.
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IL: National Council of Teachers of English Press.
A.F. (1997). Expanding the dialogue on culture as
a critical component when assessing writing. Assessing
Writing, 4(2), 169-202. (pdf)
A. F. (1995). Text design patterns in the writing
of urban African-American students: Teaching to
the strengths of students in multicultural settings.
Urban Education, 30(3).
A. F. (1994). Investigating language, learning,
and linguistic competence of African-American children:
Torrey revisited. Linguistics and Education,
A. F. (1993). Incorporating ethnographic-based techniques
to enhance assessments of culturally and linguistically
diverse students' written exposition. Educational
Assessment, 1(3), 255-281.
A. F. (1992). Non-Standard English. In L. Jones
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A. F. (1992). Cultural preference and the expository
writing of African-American adolescents. Written
Communication, 9(4), 501-532. (pdf)
J. R., Ball, A. F., Blake, R., Jackson, R., & Martin,
N. (1991). Rappin' on the copula coffin: Theoretical
and methodological issues in the analysis of copula
variation in African-American Vernacular English.
Language Variation and Change, 3(1), 103-132.