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Dialect-shifting instruction (Byrd & Brown, 2021)

journal contribution
posted on 19.01.2021, 21:13 by Arynn S. Byrd, Jennifer A. Brown
Purpose: Dialect-shifting has shown promise as an effective way to improve academic outcomes of students who speak nonmainstream dialects such as African American English (AAE); however, limited studies have examined the impacts of an interprofessional approach with multiple instructional methods. In this study, we developed a dialect-shifting curriculum for early elementary school students who speak AAE and evaluated the curriculum for feasibility and preliminary impacts.
Method: Forty-one kindergarten, first-, second-, and third-grade students and their teachers in one elementary school participated in a 7-week dialect-shifting instruction cotaught by the classroom teachers and a speech-language pathology graduate clinician. Students’ use of dialect-shifting and dialect density was measured by calculating dialect density measures in retells presented in AAE and mainstream American English and responses to situational dialect-shifting and applied dialect-shifting tasks. Teacher surveys and interviews about the feasibility and perceived impacts were conducted.
Results: Initial impacts of the curriculum demonstrated increased dialect awareness for all students, with grade-level differences when students were asked to explicitly dialect-shift. In particular, second- and third-grade students were more proficient at dialect-shifting AAE features included in the curriculum. Additionally, high rates of administrator, teacher, and student satisfaction, teacher generalization, and maintenance of incorporating contrastive analysis instruction into class activities were reported.
Conclusions: Literacy and play-based instruction are feasible methods to create a dialect-shifting curriculum tailored to younger students. Furthermore, the feasibility and effectiveness of the curriculum were supported by an interprofessional approach.

Supplemental Material S1. Sample lesson plans. Week 2: Reinforcement of Dialect-Switching Concept.

Supplemental Material S2. Overview of lesson plan content focus by week with relevant English Language Arts (ELA) Common Core State Standard (CCSS) for Grades K, 1, 2, and 3.

Supplemental Material S3. Situational Shifting measure.

Byrd, A. S., & Brown, J. A. (2021). An interprofessional approach to dialect-shifting instruction for early elementary school students. Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, 52(1), 139-148. https://doi.org/10.1044/2020_LSHSS-20-00060

Publisher Note: This research note is part of the Forum: Serving African American English Speakers in Schools Through Interprofessional Education & Practice.