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Abstract

Language and literacy are a means of delivering care through consideration of students’ home culture; however, a cultural mismatch between the predominantly white, female educator population and the diverse urban student population is reflected in language and literacy instruction. Urban curricula often fail to incorporate culturally relevant literature, in part due to a dearth of texts that reflect student experiences. Dialectal differences between African American English (AAE) and Mainstream American English (MAE) and a history of racism have attached a reformatory stigma to AAE and its speakers. The authors assert that language and literacy instruction that validates children’s lived experience mediates this hegemony, leads to empathetic relationships between teachers and students of different cultural backgrounds, and promotes academic success. This paper seeks to 1) dissect the relationship between academic achievement and affirmation of student culture through language and literacy instruction, 2) enumerate classroom strategies that empower students and foster the development of self-efficacy 3) identify ways teachers might weave value for diversity in language and literacy into a pedagogy of care for urban classrooms.

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Creative Commons License
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