I really enjoyed reading about oral language development and its important role in literacy. The readings made me question “English only” policies and which strategies are most effective in terms of literary development in the classroom.
Prior to today’s reading, I really didn’t know what the term codeswitching meant. I realized that it is important for students to be able to alternate between different dialects and recognize when to use them. In my classroom, I hope to include books that feature code switching and language variation so students can see that the language they speak at home is acceptable, too. The reading actually made me think of a book in my placement classroom called “YO! Yes?”. It’s about two little boys who are having a conversation, one speaking in a relaxed dialect and the other in standard English. The book is simple, but it presents the message that we all have different ways of communicating, but we are all saying the same things. My CT hasn’t read the book to her students, but they enjoy reading it during independent reading time.
I hope that I can include Halliday’s literacy events in my own classroom. I want to have my students participate in informal literacy activities such as writing notes to each other so that they can become comfortable with their own oral language.
I have realized that I need to adopt a contrastive perspective rather than a correctionist one. I must show my students that their home language is not incorrect, just different from Standard English. I think I will struggle with this, however, because I am such a perfectionist when it comes to proper grammar in speech. But I want all of my students to feel comfortable and safe in my classroom, regardless of their dialect or the language barriers they face. In order to achieve that, I must foster acceptance and understanding of all different types of oral language.