Monday, June 27, 2016

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

APA Format: Title Page, Running Head, and Section Headings

The trouble with rubrics

See this Tweet from Alfie Kohn:

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Academic urban legends

Academic urban legends


Many of the messages presented in respectable scientific publications are, in fact, based on various forms of rumors. Some of these rumors appear so frequently, and in such complex, colorful, and entertaining ways that we can think of them as academic urban legends. The explanation for this phenomenon is usually that authors have lazily, sloppily, or fraudulently employed sources, and peer reviewers and editors have not discovered these weaknesses in the manuscripts during evaluation. To illustrate this phenomenon, I draw upon a remarkable case in which a decimal point error appears to have misled millions into believing that spinach is a good nutritional source of iron. Through this example, I demonstrate how an academic urban legend can be conceived and born, and can continue to grow and reproduce within academia and beyond.
Bauerlein et al. (2010) claim that we are currently experiencing an ‘avalanche of low-quality research’, and academia has become an environment where ‘[a]spiring researchers are turned into publish-or-perish entrepreneurs, often becoming more or less cynical about the higher ideals of the pursuit of knowledge’. Whether the current state of affairs is better or worse than before, it seems reasonable to assume that corner-cutting is an unfortunate side effect of publication pressure and competition for academic positions and scarce resources, especially in milieus where counting publications is more important than reading and evaluating them. In this article, I explore a particular set of corner-cutting techniques that reveal much about strategies of reading, writing, and citation, as well as the development of academic urban legends.

Friday, June 17, 2016

The Effect of Mandatory Reading Logs on Children’s Motivation to Read, Sarah S. Pak and Allyson J. Weseley

The Effect of Mandatory Reading Logs on Children’s Motivation to Read 

Sarah S. Pak and Allyson J. Weseley


Reading logs have become a practice in many elementary schools. Although lack of autonomy undermines intrinsic motivation (Lepper, Greene, & Nisbett, 1973), no study has examined the effect of logs. Second and third-grade students (N=112) were assigned either a mandatory or voluntary log and surveyed about their motivation to read at baseline and after two months. Students with mandatory logs expressed declines in both interest and attitudes towards recreational reading in comparison to peers with voluntary logs, and attitudes towards academic reading decreased significantly from pre to post test across conditions. Future research should explore alternate ways to promote reading.

Keywords: reading, motivation, reading logs

The Leveled Library; When Is It Time to Remove the Scaffold?

The Leveled Library; When Is It Time to Remove the Scaffold?

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Progressive Labels for Regressive Practices, Alfie Kohn

Progressive Labels for Regressive Practices, Alfie Kohn

How Key Terms in Education Have Been Co-opted

Friday, June 10, 2016

CCCC Statement on Ebonics (NCTE)

CCCC Statement on Ebonics

by the Conference on College Composition and Communication
(May 1998, revised May 2016)
The Conference on College Composition and Communication (CCCC), composed of 5,100 scholars who teach at colleges and universities across the nation, is deeply committed to the development of literacy for all students. The “Students’ Right to Their Own Language” resolution and the “National Language Policy,” passed by CCCC in 1974 and 1988 respectively, continue to be strong organizational statements for appropriate pedagogies to ensure that all students are afforded the same opportunities to realize their potential as learners and citizens. Given continuing myths and misconceptions in the media and in the nation’s schools about the language many African American students use, the public deserves a statement reflective of the viewpoints of language and literacy scholars on Ebonics.

Ebonics is a superordinate term for a category of Black Language forms that derive from common historical, social, cultural, and material conditions. It refers to language forms such as African American Language, Jamaican Creole, Gullah Creole, West African Pidgin English, and Haitian Creole, as well as Afro-Euro language varieties spoken in European countries. The term “Ebonics” was created by Black psychologist Dr. Robert Williams in 1973 to identify the various languages created by Africans forced to adapt to colonization and enslavement (Williams, 1975). 

The variety of Ebonics spoken by African Americans in the United States—known as Black English Vernacular, African American English, U. S. Ebonics, African American Language, among other names—reflects a distinctive language system that many African American students use in daily conversation and in the performance of academic tasks. Like every other linguistic system, the Ebonics of African American students is systematic and rule governed, and it is not an obstacle to learning. The obstacle lies in negative attitudes toward the language, lack of information about the language, inefficient techniques for teaching language and literacy skills, and an unwillingness to adapt teaching styles to the needs of Ebonics speakers.
Brief, Selective Historical Walk through Ebonics
We offer the following summary for readers interested in the issue of U. S. Ebonics over the centuries, including attendant language education issues. In 1554, William Towerson, an Englishman, took five Africans to England to learn English and serve as interpreters in the slave trade and in Britain’s colonization campaign on the west coast of Africa. Three of them returned to the African Gold Coast in 1557. “It is reasonable to accept this as the date from which the African use of English began” (Dalby, 1970, pp. 11–12). During the centuries of enslavement and colonization, “Negro English” (and other Ebonic language forms) was primarily of interest to historians and folklore scholars, the former principally concerned with the linguistic origins of the language (e.g., Harrison, 1884; Krapp, 1924; Mencken, 1936), the latter with what was perceived as its exotic appeal (e.g., Bennett, 1909; Gonzales, 1922). Although these early scholars acknowledged the African language origin of the U. S. variety of Ebonics, most considered the Africanness pathological, inferior, and “baby talk” (Harrison). Gullah Blacks were considered “slovenly and careless of speech” with “clumsy tongues, flat noses and thick lips” (Gonzales). A critical exception in the early twentieth century was Black linguist Lorenzo Dow Turner, born in North Carolina in 1895. Turner’s lifelong study of the Gullah language was motivated by a chance encounter with two Gullah women students in his class at South Carolina State College in Orangesburg (Holloway and Vass, “Lorenzo Dow Turner: A Biographical Dedication,” 1993, p. ix).  Believed to be the first U. S. Black linguist, Turner mastered several African languages to help him in his quest to uncover the origin and system of Gullah and other varieties of U. S. Ebonics. His decades of research on Ebonics, which included making his own phonograph recordings of speech in Gullah communities, was published in his Africanisms in the Gullah Dialect in 1949. Countering the “baby talk” and intellectual inferiority myths about Black Language and its speakers, he described linguistic processes such as sound substitutions of Africanizing English, which resulted under conditions of foreign language acquisition and the experience of enslavement and neo-enslavement. He thus demonstrated the African language background of Gullah and its connection to other varieties of U. S. Ebonics.

The legacy of Beryl Bailey, believed to be the first Black woman linguist, is critical to this twentieth-century historical account of Ebonics. Bailey was the first linguist to apply Chomsky’s new syntactic theory paradigm (known in those years as “Transformational-Generative Grammar”) to an analysis of Ebonics, in this case to her native Jamaican Creole. She published her work in Jamaican Creole Syntax: A Transformational Approach in 1966. Professor and Chair in the Black and Puerto Rican Studies Department at Hunter College in New York, Bailey theorized and was beginning to validate the conception of a Black linguistic continuum from the Caribbean to the United States (“Toward a New Perspective in Negro English Dialectology,” 1965). However, this line of research was cut short by her untimely death.

In Colonial America and after 1776 in the United States of America, there was no concern about the denial of education to Africans. Education was not essential to the performance of slave labor; in fact, there were laws making it illegal to teach the enslaved to read and write. Then, in the post-Emancipation era, Jim Crow emerged and with it the establishment of “separate but equal” education. Hence, the relationship between U. S. Ebonics and the education of U. S. slave descendants only began to be addressed in the aftermath of the Supreme Court’s 1954 decision in Brown v. Board of Education, and the subsequent push for school desegregation and equality of education for African Americans. Further, it was not until the emergence of the Black Freedom Struggle of this era that White scholars began to publish scientific, linguistic studies of the rule-governed system of U. S. Ebonics (e.g., Stewart, 1967; Dillard, 1967; Labov, 1970).

The pedagogical issue in the latter half of the twentieth century and continuing into this second decade of the twenty-first century continues to be how to achieve maximum language and literacy skills for African American students who use U. S. Ebonics, in speech and in writing, and in and outside of the classroom—and at the same time, enhance their sociocultural, intellectual self-esteem and community rootedness. This challenge was addressed in the King v. Ann Arbor federal court case (1977–79) and in the Oakland, California School Board’s Ebonics Resolution (1996), available here:
From King v. Ann Arbor to the Oakland Ebonics Resolution
The King ruling established the legitimacy of African American Language/ “Black English” within a legal framework and mandated the Ann Arbor School District to take “appropriate action” to teach the Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary school children to read in the [standardized English] of the school, the commercial world, the arts, science, and the professions.”
—Smitherman, 2006, p.12
The parents of the children in the Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary School who brought a federal lawsuit against the Ann Arbor School District were a small group of single female heads of households. While there were some other Black children at King School, they were middle class, like the White children at King School. The children from the Green Road housing project, being both Black and poor, were thus a minority within a minority at King School. Their U.S. Ebonics presented a variety of English that King School teachers had negative attitudes toward, and these teachers had not been trained to teach the “three R’s”—and reading was crucial for the mothers of these children—to young children who did not use Standardized English in the classroom. Because of their language—“Black English”/U. S. Ebonics—the children were classified as learning disabled and assigned to speech correction classes. Judge Charles Joiner ruled in the parents’ favor, finding that the Ann Arbor School District had failed to provide equal educational opportunity to the children by not “taking into account” the language barrier presented by their “Black English.” The mandated remedy was ongoing training for the teachers at King School.

In the case of the Oakland, California Unified School District, Blacks were not a minority. Rather, they comprised 53% of the school district population. Students K–12 were all adversely affected by Oakland’s lack of a language education policy around the issue of Ebonics. The Resolution sought to address the problem by providing education in Ebonics, using the students’ primary/home language as a bridge to teaching them “Standard English.” This is the situation of twenty-first-century African American students in urban districts nationwide. (See United States Senate Hearing on Ebonics, available here:

Despite the national uproar and negative, distorted media treatment around Oakland’s Ebonics Resolution, the District was on the right track, according to UNESCO, for example—that is, using the students’ home/mother tongue to teach them language and literacy skills.
The Way Forward
Teachers, administrators, counselors, supervisors, and curriculum developers must undergo training to provide them with adequate knowledge about Ebonics and help them overcome the prevailing stereotypes about the language and learning potential of African American students (and others) who speak Ebonics. CCCC thus strongly advocates new research and teaching that will build on existing knowledge about Ebonics to help students value their linguistic-cultural heritage, maintain Black identity, enhance their command of the Language of Wider Communication (Mainstream/Standardized English), and master essential reading, writing, and speaking skills.

Ebonics reflects the Black experience and conveys Black traditions and socially real truths. Black Languages are crucial to Black identity. Black Language sayings, such as "What goes around comes around," are crucial to Black ways of being in the world. Black Languages, like Black lives, matter.

Bailey, B. (1965). Toward a new perspective in Negro English dialectology. American Speech, 40(3), 171–77.

Bailey, B. (1966). Jamaican Creole syntax: A transformational approach. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press.

Bennett, J. (1909). Gullah: A Negro patois. South Atlantic Quarterly, 8, 39–52.

Dalby, D. (1970). Black through white: Patterns of communication. Bloomington, IN:  Indiana University Press.

Dillard, J. L. (1967). Negro children’s dialect in the inner city. The Florida FL Reporter, Fall, 2–4.

Gonzales, A. (1922). The Black border: Gullah stories of the Carolina Coast. Columbia, SC: The State Company.

Harrison, J. A. (1884). Negro English. Anglia, 7, 232–79.

Holloway, J. E., & Vass, W. K. (1993). Lorenzo Dow Turner: A biographical dedication. The African heritage of American English. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press.

Krapp, G. (1924). The English of the Negro. The American Mercury, 2, 190–95.

Labov, W. (1970). The logic of non-standard English. Urbana, IL: National Council of Teachers of English.

Mencken, H. L. (1936 [1919]). The American language. New York, NY: Alfred A. Knopf.

Smitherman, G. (2006). Word from the mother: Language and African Americans. New York, NY: Routledge.

Stewart, W. A. (1967). Sociolinguistic factors in the history of American Negro dialects. Florida FL Reporter, Spring, 2–4.

Turner, L. D. (1949). Africanisms in the Gullah dialect. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.

Williams, R. L. (ed.) (1975). Ebonics: The true language of Black folks. St. Louis, MO: Institute of Black Studies; reissued, 1997, by Robert L. Williams and Associates.

Suggested Work on African American Language and Literacy Pedagogy

Alim, H. S. (2005). Critical language awareness in the United States: Revisiting issues and revising pedagogies in a resegregated society. Educational Researcher, 34(7), 24–31.

Alim, H. S., & Smitherman, G. (2012). Articulate while Black: Barack Obama, language, and race in the U. S. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.

Baker-Bell, A. (2013). “I never really knew the history behind African American language”: Critical language pedagogy in an Advanced Placement English language arts class. In K. C. Turner & D. Ives (Eds.), Social justice approaches to African American language and literacy practices [Special issue].Equity & Excellence in Education, 46(3), 355–370.

Carpenter Ford, A. (2013). “Verbal ping pong” as culturally congruent communication: Maximizing African American students’ access and engagement as socially just teaching. In K. C. Turner & D. Ives (Eds.), Social justice approaches to African American language and literacy practices [Special issue].Equity & Excellence in Education, 46(3), 371–386.

Gilyard, K., & Richardson, E. (2001). Students’ right to possibility: Basic writing and African American rhetoric. In A. Greenbaum (Ed.), Insurrections: Approaches to resistance in composition studies (pp. 37–51). Albany, NY: SUNY University Press.

Haddix, M. (2015). Cultivating racial and linguistic diversity in literacy teacher education: Teachers like me. New York, NY, & Urbana, IL: Routledge & National Council of Teachers of English.

Jackson, A., Michel, T., Sheridan, D., & Stumpf, B. (2001). Making connections in the contact zones: Towards a critical praxis of rap music and hip hop culture. In H. S. Alim (Ed.), Hip hop culture: Language, literature, literacy and the lives of Black youth [Special issue]. Black Arts Quarterly, 21–26.

Kinloch, V. (2015). Urban literacies. In J. Rowsell & K. Pahl (Eds.), The Routledge handbook of literacy studies (pp. 140–156). London, England: Routledge.

Kinloch, V. (2010). Harlem on our minds: Place, race, and the literacies of Urban youth. New York, NY: Teachers College Press.

Kirkland, D. E. (2013). A search past silence: The literacy of young Black men. New York, NY, & London, England: Teachers College Press.

Kirkland, D., & Jackson, A. (2009). “We real cool”: Toward a theory of Black masculine literacies.Reading Research Quarterly, 44(3), 278–297.

Kynard, C. (2013). Vernacular insurrections: Race, Black protest, and the new century in composition-literacies studies. Albany, NY: SUNY Press.

Ladson-Billings, G. (2014). Culturally relevant pedagogy 2.0: A.k.a the remix. Harvard Educational Review, 84(1), 74–84.

Morrell, E., & Duncan-Andrade, J. (2002). Promoting academic literacy with urban youth through engaging hip-hop culture. English Journal, 91(6), 88–92.

Muhammad, G. E. (2015). Searching for full vision: Writing representations of African American adolescent girls. Research in the Teaching of English, 49(3), 224–247.

Paris, D. (2012). Language across difference: Ethnicity, communication, and youth identities in changing urban schools. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press.

Perryman-Clark, S. (2012). Ebonics and composition: Extending disciplinary conversations to first-year writing students. Journal of Teaching Writing, 27(2), 47–70.

Rickford, J., Sweetland, J., Rickford, A., & Grano, T. (2012). African American, Creole, and other vernacular Englishes in education: A bibliographic resource. New York, NY, & Urbana, IL: Routledge & National Council of Teachers of English.

Rickford, J., Sweetland, J., & Rickford, A. (2004). African American English and other vernaculars in education: A topic-coded bibliography. Journal of English Linguistics, 32(3), 230–320.

Smitherman, G. (2000). Talkin that talk: Language and education in Black America. New York, NY: Routledge.

Smitherman, G., & Baugh, J. (2002). The shot heard from Ann Arbor: Language research and public policy in African America. Howard Journal of Communication, 13(1), 5–24.

Williams, B. (2013). Students’ “write” to their own language: Teaching the African American verbal tradition as a rhetorically effective writing skill. In K. C. Turner & D. Ives (Eds.), Social justice approaches to African American language and literacy practices [Special issue]. Equity & Excellence in Education, 46(3), 411–427.

Young, V., Barrett, R., Young-Rivera, Y., & Lovejoy, K. B. (2014). Other people's English: Code-meshing, code-switching, and African American literacy. New York, NY: Teachers College Press.
This position statement may be printed, copied, and disseminated without permission from NCTE.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Considering Public Writing about Education

Robert Pondiscio’s Why Johnny won’t learn to read *

Attack on "Balanced Literacy" Is Attack on Professional Teachers, Research

* Know your allusions:

Why Johnny Can’t Read, Rudolph Flesch

Why Johnny STILL Can't Read, Sam Blumenfeld

Considering Linguistic Privilege and Bias in Deeper Learning

Considering Linguistic Privilege and Bias in Deeper Learning

This post is by Amy J. Heineke, Associate Professor of Bilingual and Bicultural Education in the School of Education at Loyola University Chicago.
In a thought-provoking blog post from 2014, Jal Mehta asserts that deeper learning has a race problem, as African-American and Latino students lack equitable access to deeper learning in the context of U.S. schools. In addition to race, I would argue that deeper learning also has a language problem. Students who speak a language other than English at home, specifically students labeled as English learners (ELs), are consistently marginalized from opportunities for deeper learning in classrooms and schools. ELs are a large and growing student sub-group across the U.S.--stretching from New Mexico to New Hampshire and spanning urban, suburban, and rural communities. Speaking hundreds of immigrant and indigenous languages, these culturally and linguistically diverse students with varied and rich backgrounds come to schools only to be lumped under the homogenous label of EL. Unfortunately for ELs, this label has frequently resulted in educators' deficit-based thinking and corresponding low expectations, as well as the use of simplified curricula and one-size-fits-all instructional strategies.
It was two decades ago as a foreign exchange student in South America that I first experienced how language proficiency directly influences educators' perceptions of students and corresponding access to deeper learning. I spent my senior year in Argentina before heading to Northwestern for my undergraduate studies. I had taken five years of Spanish in middle and high school and was decently proficient, although far from native-like, particularly in an academic setting. After being originally placed in classes with other seniors in quinto año, the school decided to put me with the eighth graders in primer año for a portion of the day because of my lacking Spanish skills. An 18-year-old in a classroom of 13-year-olds, I spent my time doing spelling drills and tests, where the teacher's red pen would come out to call attention to my deficiencies in the Spanish language, such as the indistinguishable difference between the /b/ and /v/ sounds. I was discouraged, embarrassed, and maddened, to say the least.
I was the sole Spanish learner in Venado Tuerto, Argentina, only there for a short period of time under privileged circumstances. Consider that there are over 5 million students labeled as ELs facing more detrimental qualms every day over multiple academic years in U.S. schools. When educators make assumptions about cognitive capacities and academic abilities based on English language proficiency, the frequent result is inequitable access to opportunities for deeper learning. Rather than challenging all students with rigorous curriculum, we privilege those with native or native-like proficiency with inherent bias against students labeled as ELs. Deficit-based mindsets then manifest in practice: the primary student who does not get appropriately labeled as gifted due to language proficiency, the middle school student sitting in the back of the classroom doing English-language drills while the rest of the class engages in project-based learning, the high school student lacking access to rigorous curriculum due to placement in lower-level ESL and sheltered content courses. In short, due to still developing English language proficiency, ELs do not have equitable access to deeper learning. 
This problem pervades education at all levels, pointing to a larger deficit-based paradigm that guides practice across classrooms, schools, and districts. Consider the state of Arizona, for example, which utilizes formal legislation to segregate ELs in classrooms apart from the English-proficient peers across the state. With the policy explicitly stating that students must first achieve language proficiency before learning academic content, teachers must provide prescriptive blocks of instruction focused on discrete skills of the English language, including grammar, vocabulary, conversation, reading, and writing. Even in less restrictive contexts like Illinois, where bilingual education is the preferred approach to educating ELs, educators fall into deficit-based mindsets in an educational institution that revolves around student test scores (which are typically given in English). Drawing from the testing data that now factors into their own employment, teachers and leaders refer to ELs as being "low" or "limited," not measuring up to their English-proficient peers on standardized tests.
We know from theory, research, and experience that language proficiency is not a pre-requisite to content learning or cognitive processing. Nevertheless, daily educational practices often run counter to this established knowledge base, where we see highly capable and intelligent students assigned rote drills and activities and tracked into lower-lever coursework. This is not for lack of effort or intent by multiple stakeholders, as we see a growing number of teachers, leaders, and teacher educators who prioritize ELs through various initiatives focused on curricula, instructional strategies, and differentiation techniques. Based on my experience working with diverse urban and suburban schools in the Chicagoland area, I have learned that the integral first step is deconstructing the underlying linguistic privilege and inherent biases that guide daily work and decision-making in schools. Even with the best intentions to make positive changes to programs and practices for ELs, educators' deep-seated mindsets and perceptions of students will guide how those changes get implemented in classrooms.
Therefore, before tackling the more tangible components of daily practice, all educational stakeholders need to critically consider their mindsets and assumptions related to ELs, as well as question curricular and instructional practices that either promote or limit access to deeper learning for particular sub-groups of students. Answer these questions:
  • Who are the ELs in your classroom/school/district?
  • What are your goals and overall approach to educating ELs?
  • How do you see culture and language as influencing learning?
  • What resources do linguistically diverse students bring to school?
  • What opportunities for deeper learning are available to ELs?
After reflecting upon current approaches to EL teaching and learning, both personally and across classrooms and schools, educators can then connect to and consider how to improve ELs' access to deeper learning. Remember that the overarching goal for deeper learning with a language lens should be equity: We should define and maintain the desired results for deeper learning for all students and then ensure that ELs have equitable access to achieve these results. Note that equity is not equality--we cannot throw ELs into the same learning experiences as all students and simply hope they take something away. The onus falls on educators to scaffold and support students' language development within the context of deeper learning. This is not an easy task, but one that can be achieved after deconstructing deficit-based mindsets about ELs and considering the role of language in learning. 
For classroom teachers, equitable access to deeper learning requires recognition of the language needed to actively engage in learning. Wiggins and McTighe have described the expert blind spotthat teachers must uncover to engage students in deeper learning, specifically referring to the various understandings, questions, knowledge, and skills needed to engage with a larger idea. I contend that this includes the linguistic blind spot, requiring that (primarily native English speaking) teachers uncover the language needed to engage in deeper learning through building awareness and understanding of how language is used within and across disciplines. Academic language includes various language functions (e.g., explain, evaluate), language features (e.g., discipline-specific words, sentence structures, text features), and language domains (e.g., speaking, reading), which will vary based on the content area, topic, task, and cultural and linguistic backgrounds of students. Consider the following:
  • How do we use language within particular academic disciplines (e.g., mathematics)?
  • How does this discipline-specific language vary from students' everyday language use?
  • What specific words, phrases, sentence structures, text structures, and classroom discourse might ELs find challenging?
  • What linguistic knowledge and skills do students need to be able to achieve goals and actively engage in deeper learning?
It is imperative to note that we should not engage in these linguistic analyses to then shelterinstruction by removing language demands from classroom curricula, which has been the traditional approach to teaching ELs in U.S. schools. Instead, we want to amplify instruction by explicitly integrating language demands, providing equitable access to deeper learning while simultaneously scaffolding and supporting students' language development. We also want to explicitly consider how students' native languages can be utilized as resources for deeper learning, rather than privileging only English in academic settings. Within this approach centered on deeper learning for ELs, there is no list of academic vocabulary terms or silver-bullet strategies to provide one-size-fits-all support to students within the homogenous EL label. Instead, educators must engage in deeper learning of their own to develop expertise and understanding of the complexity of language, language development, and language learners as situated in particular contexts for teaching and learning. Adelante.

The Push and Pull of Research: Lessons from a Multi-site Study of Research Use in Education Policy

The Push and Pull of Research: Lessons from a Multi-site Study of Research Use in Education PolicyChristopher Lubienski, Elizabeth Debray, Janelle Scott

The government says kids need an hour of movement a day. Actually, they need a lot more.

 The government says kids need an hour of movement a day. Actually, they need a lot more.