English 321W: Linguistics for Teachers
Nancy Myers Office: 110 McIver
Phone: 336-334-5484 Office Hours: M & W 3-6 pm
Mailbox: 133 McIver Th 2-4 pm or by appointment
“There are deeply rooted connections between personality, learning, and language, and what touches one touches all.” Mike Torbe and Peter Medway
“I have the words already. What I am seeking is the perfect order of words in the sentence. You can see for yourself how many different ways they might be arranged.” James Joyce
“What I know about grammar is its infinite power. To shift the structure of a sentence alters the meaning of that sentence, as definitely and inflexibly as the position of a camera alters the meaning of the object photographed. Many people know about camera angles now, but not so many know about sentences.” Joan Didion
This course is about language, language use, and theories and applications of language study in the classroom. Across the semester we cover the history of the English language and participate in a personal exploration into and reflection on language acquisition. We examine definitions of language, communication, discourse, and literacy and the political ideologies implicated in those definitions. We investigate language structures and systems, including an understanding and application of phonology, morphology, and syntax. Finally, we explore the interrelationships of language and contexts, examining such issues related to language and language learning as dialects, multilingualism, gender, language standards and conventions (correctness/error), language variations/varieties, technology and language, oral/literate traditions, direct/indirect speech acts, etc.
Required: Dennis Baron. Guide to Home Language Repair. NCTE 1994.
Lee Thomas & Stephen Tchudi. The English Language: An Owner's Manual. Allyn & Bacon, 1999.
On Reserve at Jackson Library
Students’ Right to Their Own Language. CCCC Language Statement. NCTE 1974
C. H. Knoblauch’s “Literacy and the Politics of Education” in The Right to Literacy
Nigel Hall’s “The Discovery of Emergent Literacy” in The Emergence of Literacy
Constance Weaver's "Learning Theory and the Teaching of Grammar" in
Teaching Grammar in Context
David Crystal’s The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Language, 2nd ed (2 copies)
You will need one floppy disk that can be formatted for a PC, reserved solely for your work in this course. I also suggest that you obtain a large 2-3” three-ring binder to collect and arrange your work, course materials, and presentation handouts. Handouts from the beginning of the semester will be used throughout. By compiling the materials for this course and your work in a three-ring binder, you will have your work easily available for each class period and will have a ready reference on linguistics and language instruction to review for the PRAXIS II and to take with you to your classroom.
Advice and Aid
· You are welcome to discuss your writing and assignments with me during office hours or by appointment.
· The Writing Center offers one-to-one conferences with trained consultants. Located in 101 McIver, the Writing Center is open days and evenings, Monday through Friday. You can drop in or make an appointment by phoning 334-3125.
· Realize the UNCG library is not the only one available to you; check with the Jackson librarians about borrowing materials from other colleges and universities in this area.
· Computer labs are available across campus: they contain both Macintosh and IBM compatible computers; they all offer Microsoft Word word-processing software, and they provide access to your e-mail account and the Internet.
Attendance and Preparedness
This course is interactive which means you will be participating in each class session through oral, written, and electronic discussions and activities. I assume you will attend class regularly, but you have five absences for illness, car trouble, emergencies and the like. This means that there is no distinction between an “excused” and an “unexcused” absence; every absence counts. More than five absences lowers your course grade by an entire letter, so if your course grade averages out to a “B,” but you have more than five absences, you will receive a “C.” Be prepared to enter into the discussion in one form or another. If written assignments/paper drafts are due and you are not prepared, I will consider you absent. If you miss a conference with me and do not call or contact me ahead of time, I will consider you absent. Because this course is required for North Carolina licensure in English, there may be exceptions to the attendance policy only for lateral entry teachers traveling over 120 miles roundtrip. Any student who presents as his or her own work the efforts of another without precise acknowledgment is guilty of plagiarism.
Graded Work for This Course
Reading and Learning Responses 20%
Language and Literacy Learning Project 20%
Position/Philosophy Statement on Language and Literacy 20%
Teaching Language Project with Annotated Bibliographies 20%
Group Lesson Plan and Demonstration on Computers and Language 20%
The purposes of the reading and learning responses are
1. to interact in writing with the reading assignments,
2. to reflect on language, its use/misuse/reuse,
3. to explore the relationship of language use across various contexts and within educational, political, cultural, social, and personal realms,
4. to interact with other students’ opinions and ideas through Blackboard.
You will draft and revise two short texts across the semester:
1. a project that records some aspect of your language learning;
2. a philosophy statement reflecting your position on language and literacy either for teaching or in society.
We will talk about these assignments, generate topics, and use various invention strategies to plan your texts and incorporate your research. The final drafts of these texts will be formatted appropriately and typed or word-processed.
In pairs and small groups, you will do two oral presentations: one in which you research and teach the day’s language topic and one using Blackboard to generate and teach a language lesson appropriate for K-12 students. In the first, you will have some choice over your topic and the direction of your research that will culminate in an annotated bibliography, a lesson plan for the day, and appropriate handouts as well as in you conducting between 30-45 minutes of the class session. In the second, you will be grouped by future teaching interests and will design a language lesson on the computer that all of us will experience.
Through the readings, assignments, and class activities in this course, you will
A. investigate language structure and systems, including an understanding and application of phonology, morphology, and syntax
B. examine definitions of language, communication, discourse, and literacy and the political ideologies implicated in those definitions,
C. learn about the history of the English language and its dialects,
D. participate in electronic discussions on language and education issues discussed in class
E. analyze language difference in specific cultural contexts and make decisions about the appropriate uses of standard and nonstandard usage with specific educational contexts,
F. research linguistics topics, share that knowledge through presentations, and apply it to teaching language
G. communicate your knowledge, thinking, and language-teaching plans in writing, in speaking, in gesture (and sign), and in other visual forms,
H. apply the NC Standard Course of Study for language arts and technology by developing a lesson plan, meeting several of the NC Advanced Technology Skills Competencies/ISTE National Educational Technology Standards for Teachers, and
I. work to integrate the language arts curriculum (composition/communication, literature, and language/grammar) as a means to teach language/grammar.
English 321W-01: Linguistics for Teachers
Schedule for Fall 2002
G = Guide to Home Language Repair EL = The English Language
CEL = The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Language, 2nd ed. (two copies on Reserve)
Date Topic/Focus Readings/Papers RLR
A 19 M When Did You Learn Grammar?
21 W Rules versus Conventions and Teaching Language Project Info G 1-21 # 1
26 M Language Play (Meet McIver Lab 231) EL 1-30 # 2
28 W Language Contexts and Language Project Info (McIver Lab) EL 67-104 # 3
and set dates and pairs for Teaching Language Project
S 2 M Labor Day Holiday
4 W Language, Education, and Authority (McIver Lab) G 22-80 # 4
9 M Literacy and Education (McIver Lab) Reserve: Knoblauch and Hall # 5
11 W No Class: Individual Conferences over Language Projects
16 M Language Projects Due for Class Share
18 W Semiotics, Signing, and Gesture Reserve: CEL 403-407 & 222-227 # 6
23 M Speaking versus Writing EL 105-137, G 112-120 # 7
25 W Language Structures: Phonology EL 31-57
30 M Language Structures: Morphology and Word Classes EL 57-66, G121-140 # 8
O 2 W Accounting for Language Differences—Dialects EL 277-308 # 9
7 M Propriety and Poetry in Language Variations G 81-111 #10
9 W Teaching Language in School Reserve: CCCC “Students’ Rights” #11
14 M Fall Break
16 W What Is Grammar? EL 167-204 #12
21 M Why Does Grammar Matter? EL 205-238 #13
23 W Rethinking the Teaching of Grammar 1 Reserve: Weaver
28 M Rethinking the Teaching of Grammar 2 Weaver Handout #14
and Position Statement Info
30 W History of the English Language 1—The Past EL 139-166 #15
N 4 M History of the English Language 2—The Future (World English) G 141-158, EL #16
6 W Learning Language through Computers
11 M Learning Language through Computers
13 W Learning Language through Computers
18 M Computer Teaching Demonstrations #17
20 W Computer Teaching Demonstrations #18
25 M Computer Teaching Demonstrations #19
27 W Thanksgiving Holiday
D 2 M Critique of Blackboard Instructional Software and Discussion of State Technology Portfolio #20
4 W No Class: Individual Conferences over Position Statements
9 M So, how are you going to teach/see language? Course Evaluations
and Position Statement Due for Class Share
English 321W-01: Linguistics for Teachers
Reading and Learning Responses
Directions for the Semester: Use these questions and directions as prompts for your ideas. You need not address every issue as they are intended to get you started writing and responding. Realize that you have an audience for these writings beside yourself and that you can always write more than required to finish the thought you are exploring. There are three types of reading and learning responses: 1) the first two responses need to be approximately 350 words (two hand-written pages or one and one-half word-processed, double-spaced with one inch margins). These are expected at the class time of the reading assignment. 2) For Blackboard discussion postings, your response should be around 175-200 words, and you need to write short interactive responses to at least 2 other postings. You have one week to post and respond to the two other students after the reading assignment is due for class. If you post after that time, your entry will be marked “late,” and this will affect your response grade. 3) For the computer demonstration letters, see the specific prompt for directions, which must be followed for credit. You do not need to write about your group’s demonstration.
1. After reading Dennis Baron’s chapters, write 5 rules or familiar language questions that you have learned from your schooling. This might include issues of writing—spelling, usage, punctuation, documentation, sentence structure, organization of text, use of examples/support, formatting, titles, etc.—or of speaking—pronunciation, word choice, word order, etc. For instance, I learned to never start a sentence with a coordinating conjunction. But, I do it all of the time, don’t you? Then discuss what you see are the differences between language conventions and communication.
2. Working from Britton's terms of expressive, transactional, and poetic, categorize the types of oral and print language that you experience/interact with in a typical school day. What does this categorization tell you about yourself and your interactions with people, ideas, and information? What does this show you about the types of language uses you may include in your teaching and/or interpreting?
3. [Post in the Blackboard Discussion titled “Contexts”] Using the information from The English Language reading, explain how you see the relationship of context to language use (spoken or written). How does the situation change the ways you and others speak or write? How are your school voices and texts different from other voices and texts you generate? As a prospective teacher and/or deaf interpreter, what do you feel your obligation is to help your students understand appropriateness in speech and writing? Cite examples from your life and from EL that show how language is appropriate or inappropriate.
4. [Post in the Blackboard Discussion titled “Parts is Parts”] Baron offers many examples of usage distinctions emphasizing underlying social assumptions about “proper” English whether spoken or written. He further exemplifies this emphasis on parts and pieces through his discussion of standardized testing. Using his examples and your own, discuss what you believe about a student’s language use, testing, and a teacher’s and/or interpreter's responsibility.
5. [Post in the Blackboard Discussion titled “Literacy”] What assumptions do you think you hold about literacy? Do you think literacy is “emergent,” as Hall argues? Knoblauch discusses four kinds of literacy that act as underlying assumptions when our society argues about curriculum in education. Which types of literacy do you value and why? In what contexts is each type valuable to society? As a language user and teacher, which kinds of literacy do you want to promote? Why?
6. [Post in the Blackboard Discussion titled “Semiotics.”] Using examples from your experience, write about how communication happens beyond speech and writing. Categorize these examples as auditory-vocal, visual, or tactile.
7. [Post in the Blackboard Discussion titled “Speaking and Writing.”] After reflecting on one difference you know between speaking and writing as explained in the reading, discuss which is more powerful for you, speaking or writing. Why? Then talk about when communication is blocked in both mediums. Recount a time when you could not understand someone else or he/she could not understand you. This may have been face-to-face, through email, on TV, on the phone, in class, at work, etc. What were the causes of this communication block—context, perspective, vocabulary, spelling, accent, etc?
8. [Post in the Blackboard Discussion titled “Morph Play.”] Morphology deals as much with slang (you fill in the expression) and new words and expressions (“sound byte,” “pregnant chad”) as it does with Standard English and technical jargon. Offer one example of slang and/or a newly coined word and provide a morphological analysis. Include its word classification(s). Try making up a new word and do the same analysis.
9. [Post in the Blackboard Discussion titled “Dialects”] How were you taught about language variety and dialect in high school? Were dialects and writing practices other than Standard English valued? What assumptions and stereotypes do you see in society and school that tie to intelligence and spoken or written language? Some believe that slow speech or a drawl equals stupidity. Some believe that clipped and brief responses represent coldness and distance. Have any of these been applied to you? If so, tell your story. As teachers, what should we be doing in the classroom with language variety to offset some of these stereotypes?
10. [Post in the Blackboard Discussion titled “Proper English?”] What do the terms “error” and “correctness” mean to you when dealing with language? Is there such a thing as unintentional error? If so, when might that happen; if not, why not? Try to include examples from both spoken and written language and try to think about error in terms of reading and listening. Do teachers unintentionally mishear or misread? Is this error? In addition, Baron talks about the “double standard” of plagiarism. How do you plan to deal with this issue (where the literature we teach practices one approach, while we preach another) in your classroom? What experiences have you had as a student or teacher with these issues?
11. [Post in the Blackboard Discussion titled “CCCC Resolution.”] The CCCC resolution on language and teaching was adopted by its members and first published in 1974. Did the English teachers you had in high school and at college follow it? Use examples from your educational experiences to show when teachers supported aspects of this resolution and when they did not. Note: They may not have even addressed these issues directly, and they may not know this document exists; however, their teaching supports, goes against, or ignores aspects of this resolution. I suggest not using the names of the teachers you write about.
12. [Post in the Blackboard Discussion titled "Grammar, Yuck"] What is your reaction to the word "grammar"? What images and emotions does the term conjure for you and why? You have just read a history and review of English grammar. Did this reading reinforce your reactions to the term, or did it change your thinking or perspective? Explain by using specific examples from the chapter.
13. [Post in the Blackboard Discussion titled "Which Grammar?"] Were you taught diagrams in school? If so, which types? If not, how did you learn word order and word classifications? After writing about your own experiences of diagramming (or the lack of it), discuss what your goal is for teaching grammar/syntax to mainstream students and to those whose languages or dialects differ from Edited American English (ASL users, ESL speakers, strong dialect users, etc.). How does modern grammar theory and practices account for variations of language use that the traditional diagramming does not?
14. [Post in the Blackboard Discussion titled “Teaching Language.”] Of the twelve guidelines that Weaver offers, which ones do you want to incorporate in your teaching and why? Provide examples and ideas of how you might achieve these goals with your future students. How might Weaver’s guidelines help with issues like plagiarism and language diversity?
15. [Post in the Blackboard Discussion titled “Why History?”] After reading “A Brief History of the English Language,” discuss why it is important to know about the history of the language and its dialects. What do you want to know more about? What do you want your students to know and value about the English language?
16. [Post in the Blackboard Discussion titled “Englishes.”] After our readings and two class days of media and technology examples of Englishes, write on your impressions about that history and about the multiple Englishes that occur around the world. What kinds of language changes have you observed? Provide examples. With our world becoming smaller everyday thanks to the Internet, the media, and various forms of technology, growth in international businesses, etc., how do you think English will evolve and change in the future?
17-19. For each demonstration, write through Blackboard e-mail a letter to all group members that states what you liked or found interesting about the lesson, what questions or connections have occurred to you because of it, and what was effective and not effective in the organization and content of the lesson and demonstration, in the manner of the presenters, in the use of electronic materials, and in the interactive nature of the event. In other words, you are offering praise, analysis, and suggestions for change. (Note: Each letter should be around 100 words, and I expect these letters to be quite detailed and instructive for the presenters. Remember to send your letters to me too or you will not get credit for them. Remember to send each letter to yourself so that you can save them in a message folder—to print out for your advanced technology portfolio and to resend to someone in case the letter doesn’t make it to each presenter).
20. [Post in the Blackboard Discussion titled “Computers and Language.”] For this course you have communicated your memories, your ideas, your analyses, and your plans for teaching through the instructional software Blackboard. Moreover, most of you have used the Internet as an informational resource, communicated through other email systems, and created documents (complete with text, image, and sound) through the computer. Reflect on the computer as both a tool which demonstrates your thoughts and a tool which shapes them. How does the computer limit your communication and learning? How does it free it? Do you believe that the computer has an influence on shaping the English language? Why or why not? Offer examples and proof for your views.