A Conceptual Framework for Promoting Linguistic and Educational Change
We provide a conceptual framework for promoting linguistic and educational change by describing partnerships that bring together linguists’ and educators’ views on language and school success. From fall 2008 through fall 2010, we held workshops based on the professional development principles of co-constructed knowledge, experiential learning, and collaboration with approximately 200 educators. These workshops integrated sociolinguistic information into approaches to multicultural education with which educators were familiar. Fourteen educators participated in our study of how they integrated workshop material into their pedagogy and their views on language variation and education. Data collected from interviews with the participants, reflective essays, journal entries, and curricular materials revealed three themes. The educators expressed the need to view language as a key component of multicultural education, the need to bring the perspective on language awareness back to their schools and classrooms, and the realization that knowledge of language variation was critical to assessing linguistically and culturally diverse student populations. We advocate for building collaborative partnerships between educators and linguists that integrate cultural and linguistic knowledge. Such partnerships expand linguists’ and educators’ knowledge base about language and culture and enable linguists and educators to work more effectively to address educational issues facing culturally and linguistically diverse student populations.