LAI 537 Language Diversity & Literacy

Most educators agree that basic grammar and usage should be taught in some shape or form, what specifically do students need to know? Why and for what purposes? How does the notion of linguistic correctness fit into the intelligent teaching of reading and writing? How does grammar teaching fit into standards and standards-based assessment, and how does it mesh with issues in multicultural education and urban schooling? Finally, what, realistically, can we expect to gain from the time we spend teaching language and usage? To answer these questions, this course offers a view of language diversity and literacy based in sociocultural and sociolinguistic theories of literacy learning. The course pays special attention to what sociocultural approaches tell us about the ongoing debate over the teaching of grammar and usage. It discusses the language and literacy-learning strategies students bring from home and how these strategies can be used for facilitating the learning of academic writing, grammar, and usage. The practical side of the discussions and readings focuses on two separate issues: what teachers should know about grammar, usage, style, and mechanics; and what, how, and why teachers should teach grammar, usage, style, and mechanics.