My question is: how might we approach language and teaching writing to a room of students, all who have different dialects, in a way that not only doesn’t favor one dialect over the other, but also does not favor communication over other rhetorical aspects of writing and language (for example, persuasion). That is, how do we address the multiplicity of dialects in a way that does not judge a language based on whether or not it “communicates” an understanding (because it will always fail at this, no matter what dialect).
2. In Geneva Smitherman’s retrospective to “Students’ Right to Their Own Language,” she makes understandable claims that the previous “Right to Their Own Language” campaign encountered problems because it tried to create change without changing the system; that is, “The Enlightened were, after all, attempting to effectuate change WITHIN THE SYSTEM. And even those of us who were more revolutionarily inclined recognized the folly of doing nothing while waiting for the Revolution to come.” However, she also makes claims such as: “CCCC leadership acknowledged that there was a need for more explicit teaching materials, sample lesson plans, and a more specific pedagogy,” and specifically advocates for a National Language Policy.
My question is: How are standardized, “explicit” (which I also find problematic: how can something be standardized AND explicit?) lesson plans and teaching materials are not working within and perpetuating the system – or, moreover, how is a National Language Policy not simply a reinvention or reinstantiation of this system? If “working within the system” wasn’t working, how will this be any different?