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African American English Essay

When it comes to arguing whether African-American English/Ebonics, enriches or contaminates Standard English, most of the negative tone that African-American English gets comes from an educational stand point. One argument teachers, who do not believe in using Ebonics, use is that there is no place for Ebonics in the class room. Stacey Thomas, in her article “Ebonics and the African-American Student: Why Ebonics Has a Place in the Classroom” writes that teachers can use Ebonics as a way to facilitate the learning of Standard English to African American students.

In order to use Ebonics as a vehicle to teaching Standard English, teachers must be bilingual; meaning they most know both Ebonics and Standard English. Thomas states, “…once students see and comprehend the differences between Standard English and Ebonics in terms of structure and syntax, they display a great[er] understanding in Standard English, and as a result, decrease their use of Ebonics” Ebonics and the African-American Student (6).

In other words, by working on activities where students have to compare both Ebonics and Standard English, students’ knowledge of Standard English is increasing and their use of Ebonics is decreasing. Another arguments teachers use against Ebonics is that it obstructs the academic potential of African-Americans. Thomas goes further on by stating the Oakland school board Ebonics issue. In 1996, the Oakland, California school board started using Ebonics as a way to teach to African American students whose grades were lower than other ethnicities.

As a result of using Ebonics as a vehicle to teaching, Thomas states, “the Oakland School District’s use of Ebonics in the classroom, [and] the students’ performance in reading and wring has improved… the students have tested above district averages there was a in reading and writing skills” Ebonics and the African-American Student (6). So not only is the teaching of Ebonics facilitating school work for students, but it is also increasing their grades. Ebonics, a language that is stereotyped as ignorant and uneducated, is now becoming a great tool for educating students.

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