“a pedagogy is successful only if it makes knowledge or skill achievable while at the same time allowing students to maintain their own sense of identity.” (Voices of the Self, Gilyard)
Have you ever felt like you are forced to strip yourself of your identity, your dialect, your true self in order to assimilate? Have you ever felt like you speak a different dialect in the work place and or in school in order to fit in? It is interesting to find that we are taught, in America, to aspire to speak in standard English in order to feel accomplished. This week, for my Contemporary Composition and Discourse Theory course, I am reading about the idea that standard English being created to distinguish those of worthy class. I know that I, as a Mexican-American, experienced a harsh awakening and crude treatment when I began attending my undergrad studies. I became aware, by rude comments, that I spoke different than my classmates. Honestly, I still can’t figure out how because I was born and raised in California, but, for some reason, I spoke in a different dialect. There are so many articles that highlight the importance of keeping your dialect as this represents the importance of keeping your identity, culture, and what makes you. . .well you! What is in language? Well, we construct our own realities with the language we utilize. I felt like I, at one point, realized that I had to strip myself of my dialect in order to fit in. Now, as a graduate student, I have realized that I must remain true to myself and that I am fine the way I am. It is important, as one classmate suggested, that we learn Standard English, but simply turn things around by visualizing it as a dialect that we can store as a tool. This can be a tool we store in a box, metaphorically speaking, and we can take it out on job interviews, essay writing, etc. Certainly, there are times we must utilize our tools, but we must also be proud of speaking as we speak. Imagine a pedagogy that actually encourages your form of communicating, while, of course, still teaching you Standard English? How do you feel about that?
Note: When I state dialect, this is a form of speaking representative of your own surroundings, background, etc, not that you speak a dialect in which is associated to a specific foreign native language. I speak of real English speakers that speak the language in their own dialect.
Be proud of your dialect and do not allow others strip you of who you are for you are special just the way you are.
Have a great day!