The United States is a very diverse country, given that it is home to people of different ethnicities. With millions of people immigrating to the United States each year, the diversity is likely to increase. Recognized languages in the United States include Spanish, Mandarin, and French. One recently recognized English dialect is African-American Vernacular English (AAVE), a language commonly associated with the African-American section of the American population. Despite the large number of people who speak this dialect, education in the US should be reformed to allow AAVE to be an acceptable spoken and written form of communication.
AAVE should not be included in the school curriculum because it cannot be regarded as students’ first language in African American societies. AAVE is a dialect of the English language, unlike Spanish, which is a whole different language on its own. Several parts of the AAVE language are borrowed from the English language, incorporating slang in some instances (Smith, 2020). Schools should encourage Standard English and teach the same schools because AAVE is a derivation of English. Unlike Spanish speakers, AAVE speakers do not have to learn a new language. Standard English is simply a refinement of the language that they recognize to be English depending on the environment in which they find themselves.
AAVE should not be integrated into the school curriculum because Standard English is the official language. Standard English is the only English dialect predominantly used in different societies, including business premises, government buildings, and daily societal interactions; hence, students must be taught this language as the correct dialect (Sletzer, 2019). Teaching African American students, Standard English would be crucial in helping them communicate effectively when they interact with people in society. The majority of the Anglophone countries use Standard English; therefore, discouraging the use of the AAVE dialect would make them effective communicators.
Some might argue that integrating AAVE into the school curriculum would improve the communication between the teachers and the students in and out of class. Students who predominantly speak AAVE find it challenging to adjust to speaking Standard English without facing a few hurdles; hence can hardly participate in classes (Oliha, 2021). If the school environment flags AAVE as inappropriate, it hinders the students from being able to communicate effectively with the teachers. It also discourages them from participating in class because they cannot speak the language that is deemed appropriate. However, they can quickly learn Standard English would solve this challenge. As stated earlier, AAVE is a dialect of the English language, which means that the students can quickly learn Standard English and effectively communicate in the same vocabulary.
It is fair to state that schools in the United States should not be reformed to include the use of AAVE language. Students who speak AAVE cannot be treated similarly to native Spanish or Chinese speakers. The two languages are entirely different from Standard English, while AAVE is a dialect of English. Teachers can teach these students how to communicate in Standard English and use it as their primary language of communication. Teaching them Standard English would also help improve their overall performance, given that this step would increase their participation in classes. It would also assist them in the written part of their assessments which are written in Standard English. They would also be easily integrated into society and become effective communicators both locally and internationally.
Oliha, V. R. (2021). Ideas of identity and investment in language communities among multicultural AAVE speakers learning foreign languages (Doctoral dissertation, University of Oxford).
Seltzer, K. (2019). Reconceptualizing “home” and “school” language: Taking a critical translingual approach in the English classroom. Tesol Quarterly, 53(4), 986-1007.
Smith, M. E. (2020). African American Vernacular English and its presence in the American Education System.