Potter College News
WKU English Faculty and Students Hold Dialect Diversity Workshop at KCTE Conference
- Christina West
- Friday, April 1st, 2022
On March 19, Dr. Stickle, Dr. Youngblood, and two students conducted a presentation and workshop on linguistic diversity at the Kentucky Council of Teachers of English (KCTE) Conference, which was held at Berea College. “Dialect diversity is overlooked in many teacher-education programs, leaving teachers uneasy or unprepared to process and challenge their own teaching experiences as dialectal speakers and to lead discussions around language variety, convention, and culture,” Dr. Stickle stated.
Drs. Stickle and Youngblood presented on the need for dialectal considerations in the classroom using peer-review research, personal experiences with dialectal learners, and academic standards. For the workshop portion, teacher attendees from the K-12 to college level were asked to explore this framework through practical applications in pedagogy.
Senior teaching English as a second language (TESL) minor Kylie Bray presented her research on the overrepresentation of English language learners in special education. Bray described the issue of elementary school English language learners being placed into special education classes due to a lack of resources and ESL instructors. “I was able to attest to the importance of TESL instruction in the general education classroom by addressing a direct effect from a lack of instruction,” said Bray. “I plan to use this experience to learn about the educational inequalities that persist and one day advocate on behalf of students across the nation to ensure they are receiving an exceptional education.”
English M.A. student Jessica Link, an English teacher at Franklin Simpson High School, discussed the importance of using dialect in both AP and regular courses to reconcile gaps in race, equity, diversity, and inclusion. “My presentation centered on the inclusive practices of supplying teachers with a strategy for introducing students to eye dialect using Zora Neale Hurston’s novel, Barracoon,” said Link. “Eye dialect exposes students to dialects outside of mainstream American English and can help support and validate various dialects students may hear or speak.”
Drs. Stickle and Youngblood have presented similar subject matter at the KCTE in 2020, discussing how and why they include dialect research in teacher training programs. They have also previously presented with the aid of students on a national level at the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) in November of 2021.
Teaching philosophies continue to evolve and improve over time. The efforts in providing these presentations aim to make learning a more equitable process for everyone. In this way, WKU English professors and students have been able to make a statewide and national impact.