Book: Understanding English Language Variation in U.S. Schools

See our book website at:

Read the table of contents of the book here:

Co-authored with Christine Mallinson and published by Teachers College Press in the Multicultural Education Series

Our  book is  titled Understanding English Language Variation in U.S. Schools. The book is intended for practitioners and popular readers who come into contact with non Standardized English speakers or those simply curious about language variation.

Understanding English Language Variation in U.S. Schools targets those who have not had much exposure to accurate information about language variation. The text will be essential for educators who are working with young learners from non-Standardized English speaking backgrounds.

The quest to educate non-Standardized English speaking students from marginalized backgrounds has been a primary driving force behind both the multicultural education movement and the development of the field of sociolinguistics.

These two perspectives, however, have not joined together as well as they could to address issues of language variation in multicultural education. Thus, we have written Understanding English Language Variation in U.S. Schools at the critical juncture of sociolinguistics and multicultural education. We contend that only with an understanding of the principles and patterns of language variation in speech and writing can the multicultural education movement fully address why children from non-Standardized English speaking backgrounds often have difficulty achieving in schools.

Understanding English Language Variation in U.S. Schools will orient readers to the reality of language differences and discrimination and explain how the educational and social development of children is affected negatively by linguistic intolerance and rejection. Language structures and strategies can often be misinterpreted, misunderstood, and stigmatized by educators. Accordingly, Understanding English Language Variation in U.S. Schools will give readers the assessment tools needed to recognize language variations and distinguish these variations from student errors in listening, reading, and writing modalities.

We also address other aspects of communication, such as word choice, slang, tone, silence, and loudness, and how their use can affect young learners in the classroom. Understanding English Language Variation in U.S. Schools provides practical strategies for addressing language variation, particularly in classroom settings. To this end, we offer suggestions for how practitioners, particularly educators, can apply the knowledge they have learned in this book to work appropriately with variation in students’ language and also to foster positive language attitudes in classrooms and beyond.


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