On Friday April 9th, I hosted a workshop about the diversity of dialects. Dr. Stephany Dunstan, Assistant Director for Academic Student Affairs, gave a presentation that discussed dialects, how they are an aspect of diversity, and the assumptions that can be made about a person because of the dialect they speak. From Dr. Dunstan’s presentation I gathered three important take-aways:
- Be aware of the biases you may hold about certain dialects.
- Embrace your own dialect in your classroom.
- Everyone speaks a dialect.
Some attendees talked about how they change the way they speak when they are in the classroom because they do not want their students to think of them in a negative way. Dr. Dunstan talked about how embracing your dialect is actually beneficial to your students because it gives you a way to relate and connect with them. Also, when we hide our dialects from others, we could be hiding ourselves from people who speak exactly like us or could even be sending the message that our dialect is not one that should be spoken. When we embrace our own dialect and those of others, we tell our students that all dialects are unique, special, and valued. Dialect is often not considered a form of diversity. After seeing this presentation I now know that dialect is another form of diversity to include and embrace in my own future classroom!