Date of Degree

6-2017

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph.D.

Program

Urban Education

Advisor(s)

Ofelia García

Committee Members

Nicholas Michelli

Tatyana Kleyn

Subject Categories

Bilingual, Multilingual, and Multicultural Education | Education | Secondary Education

Keywords

Caribbean Creole English-speaking, transnational, language ideologies

Abstract

This dissertation seeks to illuminate the ways in which Anglocentric ideologies operate to marginalize and exclude the linguistic and cultural resources of Caribbean Creole English (CCE)-speaking in New York City’s education system. Data was gathered from youths and teachers, and then analyzed to identify the language practices and ideologies relating to both Standard English (SE)and Creole varieties and how they shape teaching and learning for these two groups.

Several broad themes were identified. First, CCE-speaking youths are homogenized as simply black students and as a result, their specific cultural and linguistic resources are rendered invisible and are not included in teaching and learning. Secondly, teachers’ language ideologies are mostly Anglocentric, focusing on the value of Standard English especially for society at large, but also for academic contexts. On the other hand, students’ language ideologies are mostly Creolocentric as they view CCE as valuable for the home and for other cultural expressions such as reggae and dancehall musics. At the same time, students also hold some Anglocentric ideologies as they believe that CCE is inappropriate for writing, other school-based tasks and professional environments. Lastly, because both teachers and students agree that CCE is not appropriate for school-based tasks (and sometimes even in a school environment), CCE-speaking students are often subjected to symbolic violence, a phenomenon in which fellow linguistic minority students are often complicit.

The dissertation concludes by suggesting that language programs should be developed and implemented to help CCE-speaking youths acquire the standardized varieties needed to successfully navigate academic texts and contexts. In addition, teachers and students should be introduced to sociolinguistic research and culturally responsive pedagogies that explicate and counter the role of language ideologies in shaping how CCE language varieties and language features are perceived and positioned in the sociopolitical and educational spheres. My hope is that this study will lead to a greater focus on the lived experiences of CCE-speaking youths and will generate critical and transformative knowledge that helps to improve their educational performance in New York City high schools.

This work is embargoed and will be available for download on Monday, October 23, 2017

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