Quick Search:

Mainstream UK teachers’ discourses about what ‘good English’ means to them.

Cunningham, Clare ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-3767-7624 (2021) Mainstream UK teachers’ discourses about what ‘good English’ means to them. In: Language Education for Social Justice conference,.

[img] Slideshow
LESJ talk CC.pptx - Presentation


An examination of the research literature with regards to teachers’ attitudes to good/ standard English shows that discussions on this topic began some time ago (Moses et al, 1976; Winford, 2076; Webber, 1979) when the focus was predominantly around attitudes related to ‘Black English’ varieties in the USA (Politizer and Hoover, 1976; Freeman, 1982; Bowie and Bond, 1994). More recently, research has revolved around investigating the attitudes of teachers involved in the teaching of English as a second or foreign language (Tan and Tan, 2008; Ahn, 2014; Jenkins, 2005; Wang, 2015, McKenzie, 2004).
However, research explicitly focused on mainstream British teachers’ attitudes towards ‘standard’ English (i.e. teachers in an Inner Circle context considering largely Inner Circle norms, to draw on Kachru’s 1992 conceptualisation) has been distinctly more infrequent. Beal (2008) discussed modern-day prescriptivism and the value judgements still attached to regional varieties of English and Snell (2013) and Grainger (2013) have touched on the deficit applied to those children who do not have such access to the standard English norms but limited empirical research has considered teachers’ attitudes and discourses about ‘standard’ English.
Given the lack of a definition for ‘standard English’ in the National Curriculum documents (2016), despite teachers being required to demand those norms are used by children, the current study adopted the idea of investigating perceptions of the notion of ‘good’ English in this age of standardised assessments and league tables.
The data for this study comprises forty semi-structured interviews conducted with primary school teachers as part of a broader study. Participants were asked explicitly what the term ‘good English’ meant to them as well as having multiple opportunities to discuss related issues elsewhere in the interviews. A thematic and content-oriented analysis was undertaken on the interview transcriptions. Findings suggest that many teachers have a highly nuanced sense of what ‘good English’ is and contest the more prescriptive approach forced on them by the curriculum they are required to follow.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Status: Published
Subjects: L Education > L Education (General)
School/Department: School of Education, Language and Psychology
URI: https://ray.yorksj.ac.uk/id/eprint/6270

University Staff: Request a correction | RaY Editors: Update this record