Teaching Language Variation in the Classroom: Strategies and Models from Teachers and Linguists, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Teaching Language Variation in the Classroom

Strategies and Models from Teachers and Linguists, 1st Edition

Edited by Michelle D. Devereaux, Chris C. Palmer


170 pages

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Bringing together the varied and multifaceted expertise of teachers and linguists in one accessible volume, this book presents practical tools, grounded in cutting-edge research, for teaching about language and language diversity in the ELA classroom. By demonstrating practical ways teachers can implement research-driven linguistic concepts in their own teaching environment, each chapter offers real-world lessons as well as clear methods for instructing students on the diversity of language. Written for pre-service and in-service teachers, this book includes easy-to-use lesson plans, pedagogical strategies and activities, as well as a wealth of resources carefully designed to optimize student comprehension of language variation.


"One of the things I love about this volume is that the classroom approaches and activities engage students’ curiosity about the language they see and hear around them, as well as the language they encounter in literature…This volume is a gem because it has experienced secondary teachers and linguists in conversation about how to teach in a linguistically informed and engaging way… Linguists have much to learn from these essays about how to make linguistics more accessible for K-12 classrooms and how to design introductory linguistics courses to be more helpful for teachers in training. And secondary teachers (as well as teachers of younger students) can find information here that may inspire them to experiment with new approaches in their classrooms as early as tomorrow, because experienced teachers are laying out in detail how to do so—and why."

- From the Foreword by Anne Curzan, University of Michigan, USA

"The key words to describe the approach of this book for me are curiosity and exploration. For anyone who works with linguistically diverse learners, this book will help, with lesson plans tied to Common Core state standards, resources, and linguistic responses to a variety of issues. The varied chapter authors, who are teacher-linguists or linguist-teachers, show readers, rather than just telling us, how to encourage our own students to become linguistically curious and experts about their own language varieties and usage. And they do so in an accessible way. I am excited to have a new tool to help me better introduce to pre-service TESOL teachers the social hierarchy of language and the inherent value in linguistic diversity!"

- Heather Linville, University of Wisconsin, USA

"This long-needed and innovative text will serve as a springboard for educators seeking to incorporate instruction on language variation in their practice. Engaging as it is practical, this volume provides thought-provoking perspectives from experienced educators and linguists from a variety of backgrounds with a wealth of experience working with diverse audiences across the U.S. Importantly, the contributors to this volume provide concrete examples and lesson plans for other scholar-practitioners to adapt as we explore with our students how language works and implications in our daily lives. This text will most certainly become a well-referenced handbook for K-20 educators for years to come!"

- Stephany Dunstan, NC State University, USA

Table of Contents




Anne Curzan, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan


Teaching Language Variation and Ideologies: Questions and Strategies

How to Use This Book

Michelle D. Devereaux and Chris C. Palmer, Kennesaw State University, Georgia

Part One: Teachers’ Perspectives

"Word Crimes" and Linguistic Ideology: Examining Student Ideas About Language in the English Language Arts Classroom

Amy L. Plackowski, Hudson High School, Massachusetts

Prescriptive and Descriptive Lenses: How a Teacher Worked with Local Linguists to Develop a Language Ideologies Unit

Andrew Bergdahl, New Hampton School, New Hampshire

Profiling, Prejudice, and Prestige: Language Ideologies Across Contexts

Stacy Ishigaki Arevalo, Eastside College Preparatory School, California

"Working With" Instead of "Pushing Against": Meeting Testing Standards While Teaching Language Ideologies

Mike Williams, Joseph Wheeler High School, Georgia, and Dundalk High School, Maryland

"Mr. D, is this, like, a real word?": Stories of a Linguist in a High School English Classroom

John A. Damaso, Brophy College Preparatory, Arizona

Linguistics in an English Language Arts Class: Elevating Language Awareness

Beth Keyser, Superior High School, Montana

Using Music to Bridge Language Diversity

Jillian Ratti, McMinn County High School, Tennessee

Power, Society, and Identity: Language and Life in a Ninth-Grade English Classroom

Holly Hoover, Kennesaw Mountain High School, Georgia

Language Awareness in Education: A Linguist’s Response to Teachers

Walt Wolfram, NC State, North Carolina

Part Two: Linguists’ Perspectives

Principles to Navigate the Challenges of Teaching English Language Variation: A Guide for Non-Linguists

Mike Metz, University of Missouri, Missouri

Teaching Linguistic Diversity as the Rule Rather Than the Exception

Anne Lobeck, Western Washington University, Washington

DARE(ing) Language Ideologies: Exploring Linguistic Diversity Through Audio Data and Literature in Secondary Language Arts Courses

Kelly D. Abrams, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Wisconsin

Trini Stickle, Western Kentucky University, Kentucky

Bringing Critical Language Pedagogy to the Middle School Social Studies Classroom: Lessons for Standard English Learners

Jessica Hatcher and Jeffrey Reaser, NC State, North Carolina

Grammar in the Spanish/English Bilingual Classroom: Three Methods for Teaching Academic Language

Mary Hudgens Henderson, Winona State University, Minnesota

Attitude Change is Not Enough: Changing Teacher Practice to Disrupt Dialect Prejudice in the Classroom

Rebecca Wheeler, Christopher Newport University, Virginia

Extending the Conversation: Two Teachers’ Response to Linguists

Suzanne Loosen and Teaira McMurtry, Milwaukee Public Schools, Wisconsin

Part Three: Collaborations Between Teachers and Linguists

Using Digital Resources to Teach Language Variation in the Midwest

Amanda Sladek, University of Nebraska-Kearney, Nebraska

Mattie Lane, West High School, Iowa

How Power Reveals and Directs Teacher Language Ideologies with High-Achieving African American Students in a Secondary English Classroom

Tanji Reed Marshall, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Virginia

Chrystal Seawood, Washington Leadership Academy, Washington D.C.

Sustained Linguistic Inquiry as a Means of Confronting Language Ideology and Prejudice

Kristin Denham, Western Washington University, Washington

David Pippin, Friday Harbor Elementary School, Washington

"Standard" English, "Classic" Literature: Examining Canonical and Linguistic Ideologies in Huck Finn

Jeanne Dyches, Iowa State University, Iowa

Cameron Gale, West Des Moines Community Schools, Iowa


About the Editors

Michelle D. Devereaux is Associate Professor of English Education at Kennesaw State University, USA.

Chris C. Palmer is Associate Professor of English at Kennesaw State University, USA.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
FOREIGN LANGUAGE STUDY / English as a Second Language


Lesson Plans and eResources

Below we list lesson plans, activities, and resources available for your immediate use. These resources include teacher notes, student handouts, PowerPoints, assignment sheets, and rubrics to help guide teachers towards integrating language variation and ideology instruction in their classrooms.







Abrams & Stickle



Sladek & Lane

Denham & Pippin

Dyches & Gale

Devereaux & Palmer

  • Download All eResources (ZIP 2.9MB)