Harvard Educational Review
  1. Summer 2015 Issue »

    Undoing Appropriateness

    Raciolinguistic Ideologies and Language Diversity in Education

    In this article, Nelson Flores and Jonathan Rosa critique appropriateness-based approaches to language diversity in education. Those who subscribe to these approaches conceptualize standardized linguistic practices as an objective set of linguistic forms that are appropriate for an academic setting. In contrast, Flores and Rosa highlight the raciolinguistic ideologies through which racialized bodies come to be constructed as engaging in appropriately academic linguistic practices. Drawing on theories of language ideologies and racialization, they offer a perspective from which students classified as long-term English learners, heritage language learners, and Standard English learners can be understood to inhabit a shared racial positioning that frames their linguistic practices as deficient regardless of how closely they follow supposed rules of appropriateness. The authors illustrate how appropriateness-based approaches to language education are implicated in the reproduction of racial normativity by expecting language-minoritized students to model their linguistic practices after the white speaking subject despite the fact that the white listening subject continues to perceive their language use in racialized ways. They conclude with a call for reframing language diversity in education away from a discourse of appropriateness toward one that seeks to denaturalize standardized linguistic categories.

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    Nelson Flores is an assistant professor of educational linguistics at the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education. His research seeks to denaturalize dominant language ideologies that inform current conceptualizations of language education. This entails both historical analysis of the origins of current language ideologies and contemporary analysis examining how current language education policies and practices reproduce these language ideologies. His primary objective is to illustrate the ways that dominant language ideologies marginalize language-minoritized students and to develop alternative conceptualizations of language education that challenge their minoritization. His work has appeared in scholarly journals such as Critical Inquiry in Language Studies, Journal of Basic Writing, Linguistics and Education, and TESOL Quarterly.

    Jonathan Rosa is an assistant professor of anthropology at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. His research focuses on educational inequality, racial marginalization, and linguistic stigmatization in urban contexts. He collaborates with schools and communities to track these phenomena and develop tools for understanding and eradicating the forms of disparity to which they correspond. He is the author of the forthcoming book Looking Like a Language, Sounding Like a Race: Inequality and Ingenuity in the Learning of Latina/o Identities (Oxford University Press, forthcoming). His work has appeared in scholarly journals such as American Ethnologist, American Anthropologist, Journal of Linguistic Anthropology, and Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy, as well as in media outlets such as MSNBC, NPR, CNN, and Univision.
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    Summer 2015 Issue


    Undoing Appropriateness
    Raciolinguistic Ideologies and Language Diversity in Education
    Occupational Control in Education
    The Logic and Leverage of Epistemic Communities
    Moral Injury and the Ethics of Educational Injustice
    Geographies of Indigenous Leaders
    Landscapes and Mindscapes in the Pacific Northwest
    Doing and Teaching Disciplinary Literacy with Adolescent Learners
    A Social and Cultural Enterprise

    Book Notes

    How to Innovate
    Mary Moss Brown and Alisa Berger

    Inspiring Teaching
    Sharon Feiman-Nemser, Eran Tamir, and Karen Hammerness

    Call 1-800-513-0763 to order this issue.