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Teaching Students to Use English Effectively in Different Contexts

Course Instructors: 

Mike Metz is a National Board Certified English teacher and advanced PhD candidate in the Stanford Graduate School of Education.   He taught for 15 years in Chicago schools before coming to Stanford to study English Teaching, Teacher Education, and Social Justice Education.  Mike has worked extensively with teachers in the Chicago Public Schools and San Francisco Unified School District as well as teaching in the Stanford Teacher Education Program (STEP).   He is currently conducting research on approaches to teaching grammar in middle school English classrooms that support and engage speakers of historically stigmatized English varieties. 

Designed for 6-12th grade English Language Arts teachers who teach culturally and linguistically diverse students.  

Course Dates: 
Cancelled: SSTI 2014
Section of Course/Event: 
Previous Courses
Course Name: 
Teaching Students to Use English Effectively in Different Contexts

Course Description:  Most students, and teachers, dread the subject of grammar in English classes.  Much of that dread stems from a fear of getting it “wrong.”  In this course we unpack the problems with the idea of “correct” English, and consider the productive results of teaching students to use language “effectively” for given audiences, contexts, and purposes.  We start by exploring the systematic rules governing various English dialects to emphasize that they are all “correct.”  We then examine an approach that validates students’ language use while helping students build an expansive repertoire of language tools.  We explore the connection between language use and identity, including racial and ethnic identity.  The idea of “effective,” rather than “correct,” language use is then applied to each major strand of the Common Core English standards (Reading, Writing, Speaking/Listening, and Language).  You will leave with new ideas about how language works, new ways to engage students who may previously have been resistant to the language of school, and concrete lesson ideas for how to help your students build their language skills for effective communication in all the contexts they encounter.