Date of Award

2-1-2003

Degree Type

Dissertation

University or Center

Clark Atlanta University(CAU)

School

School of Education

Degree Name

Ed.D.

Department

Educational Leadership

First Advisor

Professor Melanie Carter, Ph.D.

Abstract

The purpose of this study is to examine dialectal diversity and to determine if there is a significant relationship between teachers' emphasis on standard English and their teaching styles and their perceptions about their teachers. This investigation involves a correlation study of the aforementioned independent and dependent variables in Cobb County Public School District in metropolitan Atlanta, Georgia. The independent and dependent variables were moderated in terms of ethnicity and gender.

The findings of the study were that students perceived that their teachers' emphasis on standard English was significantly related to their teaching style and their expectations of students. Students perceived their teachers as having higher expectations for students that spoke standard English. In addition, students believed that their perceptions of teachers' emphasis on standard English resulted in teachers engaging them more with group work and classroom discussions. Further, a major finding in this study found that students concluded that they perceived teachers' emphasis on standard English was significantly related to their linguistic self-esteem. However, students held tightly to their dialects in spite of their perceptions. Thus, "dialect persistence" challenges traditional views about dialectal diversity and teachers' perceived impact on students' use of standard English. Thus, the findings of this study suggested that dialectal diversity among students critically effects their learning potential and potential for success within the educational environment.

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