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Summer Workshop at Virginia Commonwealth University

VCU Summer Workshop

The 2010 dates were July 19-23, 2010

Additional information may be found at

In the summer of 2010 Christine Mallinson and returned to VCU to teach our course entitled Language Variation in the Classroom: An Educator’s Toolkit at Virginia Commonwealth University. The course was open to anyone interested in the practical implications of language variation in K-12 classrooms. The course was held from 9-5 on Monday July 19th-Friday July 23rd, 2010. Accommodations were available for out of town students and a discounted tuition rate is available for multiple people coming from the same university or school district.

We know that the economic recession  had an impact on those who are considering whether or not to attend our workshop. We therefore are invited every attendee to participate in a research study about the workshop—and get up to $350 back on your tuition costs, plus an additional $200 worth of books and materials

Participants in this workshop were invited to become an Educator-Consultant and take part in a research study funded by the National Science Foundation funded grant, “An Examination of Effective Methods of Communicating About Language Variation to Educators.” Participants were compensated with a stipend of $100 to participate in an interview (conducted six months after attending the workshop) and an additional $250 for providing feedback about your use of language variation learned during this workshop throughout the following school year.  Educator-Consultants who provided feedback throughout the school year  also received up to $200 worth of language-based books, DVDs, and other materials for use in their classrooms and schools.  All of the research was confidential, and your anonymous responses were only used for research purposes if a consent form is signed

The course syllabus, schedule, and flyer are linked below:

Additional information may be found at

In this course, we will examine some of the major differences in the speech and writing of students who are speakers of Southern English and/or African-American English as well as students who are new learners of English. We will share assessment tools needed to recognize language variation and distinguish language diversity from student error in listening, reading, and writing in students of all ages. We will also explore other aspects of communication, such as word choice, slang, tone, silence, and loudness, and how variation in their use can affect learners in the classroom. We will demonstrate methods and activities that educators can use to address language variations in their students’ speech and writing. We will practice strategies designed to help non-standardized English-speaking students approach reading and standardized test taking.

Participants will develop a set of materials based on their new knowledge of language variation, including lesson plans and project plans, that they can incorporate into their own classroom materials. The creation of teacher journals, lesson plans, project plans, and presentations will help educators develop their sociolinguistic knowledge and will serve as take-home materials that teachers can bring back to their classrooms and schools.

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