Document Type



Doctor of Education


Educational Practice

Date of Defense


Graduate Advisor

Nancy Robb Singer


Husbye, Nicholas Ph.D

Rogers, Rebecca Ph.D

Schaenen, Inda Ph.D


This qualitative action research study captured the voices of middle school students as they talked about being first language speakers of AAE and their efforts to appropriate SAE as a marker of school success. The following compelling questions were at the forefront of this study: How do middle school students use talk and other modalities to construct and represent meaning related to the use of African American English and Standard American English? In what ways are the complexities of African American youths’ identities revealed through their use of African American English and Standard American English? How does social interaction during writing activities inform the ideas expressed by African American middle school students who are speakers of African American English? In what ways do my teacher beliefs and practices as a speaker of African American English Language construct language ideologies in the Language Arts classroom? Participants took part in C.H.A.T. Academy: Children Having Academic Talks about languages, dialect and identity. C.H.A.T. Academy provided an academic space for students to exchange organic dialogue about how they form agency around their language ideologies and identify themselves as speakers in academic settings. The aim of the chats was to see how middle school students would interact socially during talks about the role African American English and Standard American English plays in their discourse. An additional purpose of this study was to examine how these conversations about language would shape the ideas expressed during oral and written activities.

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