Non-Prestige Dialect Teachers & Prestige Dialect Students: A Qualitative Review

Considering the recent reintegrations by Curzan (2014), and somewhat earlier Cameron (1995) of prescriptivism and "verbal hygiene" into the linguist's discussion of language, and considering how most studies of "proper English" in the classroom, so called, have tended to look at the relationship of teachers with language power to students without it, this study attempts to consider, at least in some preliminary ways, how language might reveal itself in a classroom where these relationships are not the norm, or are sometimes even reversed. Some of this work has been presaged by Lippi-Green's assessment (2012) of how students at the University of Michigan viewed the language skills of ELL teachers at that university (and how these assessments shaped UM policy going forward), but there is still considerable room to question: how do Appalachian teachers at Research Ones interact with students from prestige dialect communities? How do writing and language show up in classrooms where the teacher is from an ethnic background different from most of their students, and uses language markers specific to their community? How, and how much, do code switching and the influence of "academese" continue to be concerns for teachers, in university environments of purported "diversity" and "inclusivity"? In short: how does language, as a marker of power, show up in the contemporary classroom, where the lines of power are so often complicated and multi-directional? This study attempts to engage with these questions by a detailed analysis of in-depth qualitative interviews with compositionalists and college English instructors at universities in the Mountain South.