Other People's English: Code-Meshing, Code-Switching, and African American Literacy

SKU: 978-1-64317-043-5

Vershawn Ashanti Young, Rusty Barrett, Y’Shanda Young-Rivera, and Kim Brian Lovejoy

Foreword by April Baker-Bell
Afterword  by Victor Villanueva

Working and Writing for Change (A Parlor Press Imprint)
Edited by Steve Parks and Jess Pauszek

Information and Pricing
978-1-64317-043-5 (paperback, $27.00); 978-1-64317-035-0 (PDF on CD, $19.99). © 2019 by New City Community Press. 210 pages, with notes, bibliography, and illustrations.

Online Appendix (PDF), including mini-unit lessons, with surveys and student samples.

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With a new Foreword by April Baker-Bell and a new Preface by Vershawn Ashanti Young and Y’Shanda Young-Rivera, Other People’s English: Code-Meshing, Code-Switching, and African American Literacy presents an empirically grounded argument for a new approach to teaching writing to diverse students in the English language arts classroom. Responding to advocates of the “code-switching” approach, four uniquely qualified authors make the case for “code-meshing”—allowing students to use standard English, African American English, and other Englishes in formal academic writing and classroom discussions. This practical resource translates theory into a concrete road map for pre- and inservice teachers who wish to use code-meshing in the classroom to extend students’ abilities as writers and thinkers and to foster inclusiveness and creativity. The text provides activities and examples from middle and high school as well as college and addresses the question of how to advocate for code-meshing with skeptical administrators, parents, and students. Other People’s English provides a rationale for the social and educational value of code-meshing, including answers to frequently asked questions about language variation. It also includes teaching tips and action plans for professional development workshops that address cultural prejudices.

About the Authors

Vershawn Ashanti Young is a scholar, writer, and performance artist who specializes in four areas of African American studies: language, literature, masculinity, and performance. He values collaborative academic work and in recent years has published with Frankie Condon a special issue of Across the Disciplines: “Anti-Racist Activism: Teaching Rhetoric and Writing” (2013); with Julie Naviaux, “Snap!: The Marlon Riggs Bibliography” (African American Review, 2012); with Bridget Harris Tsemo, From Bourgeois to Boojie: Black Middle-Class Performances (2011); and with Aja Martinez, Code-Meshing as World English: Pedagogy, Policy, Performance (2011).

Rusty Barrett is an associate professor in the linguistics program and the English department at the University of Kentucky where he teaches courses in general linguistics, sociolinguistics, and linguistic anthropology. His research focuses on the highland Mayan languages of Guatemala, language revitalization, and language and sexuality, gender, and ethnicity. He is co-author (with Jung-Tae Kim) of Classroom English in Use (2011). He is the author of From Drag Queens to Leathermen: Language, Gender, and Gay Male Subcultures (Oxford UP, 2017).

Y’Shanda Rivera is a current PhD candidate in Learning Sciences, at Northwestern University’s School of Education and Social Policy. Her research involves improving educational and social outcomes for vulnerable adolescents via cultural ecological frameworks, school community partnerships, design of learning environments, critical literacy engagement, and identity development. She most recently published "Valuing Students’ Language Repertoires: An Ecological Perspective" (2018) in Christenbury, L. & Lindblom, K. (Eds.), Continuing the Journey 2: Becoming a Better Teacher of Authentic Writing (NCTE). She has given numerous invited keynote addresses including "Code Meshing: Critical Awareness in Action" (2018) at Frontier Center for Urban Education at Nazareth College, in Rochester, New York, and "Cross-Cultural Allies" at the Chicago Public Library 2016 Annual Teen Services Conference. She is currently completing a monograph entitled, “So it’s just gon’ be us leaders?” From “At-risk” to Leadership Via School Community Partnerships, which details her three years of research working across a community center, school, and church to build protective factors for a cohort of high-risk youth.

Kim Brian Lovejoy is associate professor of English in the Indiana University School of Liberal Arts at Indiana University–Purdue University Indianapolis, where he teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in the writing program. He directs the Graduate Program in Writing and Literacy and the Graduate Certificate in Teaching Writing, and is the editor of the Journal of Teaching Writing, a national journal for writing teachers at all educational levels. His articles and reviews have appeared in College Composition and Communication, English Journal, Journal of Teaching Writing, Linguistics and Education, Writing Lab Newsletter, and others.


Preface by Y’Shanda Young-Rivera and Vershawn Ashanti Youngi
Foreword by April Baker-Bell
Introduction: Are You a Part of the Conversation?
Vershawn Ashanti Young

Part I: African American English and the Promise of Code-Meshing
Rusty Barrett
1.         Rewarding Language: Language Ideology and Prescriptive Grammar
2.         You Are What You Speak: Language Variation, Identity, and Education
3.         Be Yourself Somewhere Else: What’s Wrong with Keeping Undervalued English out of the Classroom?

Part II: Code-Meshing or Code-Switching?
Vershawn Ashanti Young
4.         Linguistic Double Consciousness
5.         The Costs of Code-Switching
6.         Code-Meshing: The New Way to Do English

Part III:  Code-Meshing and Responsible Education in Two Middle School Classrooms
Y’Shanda Young-Rivera
7.         Code-Meshing and Responsible Education
8.         Reimagining the Classroom: Code-Meshing and the 21st-Century Student
9.         Making Sense of It All: Code-Meshing and Educational Reform

Part IV:  Code-Meshing and Culturally Relevant
    Pedagogy for College Writing Instruction
Kim Brian Lovejoy

10.       Code-Meshing: Teachers and Students Creating Community
11.       Code-Meshing Through Self-Directed Writing
12.       Composing Code-Meshing:

Thoughts on What to Do and How to Do It
Coda: The Power of Language
Vershawn Ashanti Young

Afterword by Victor Villanueva
About the Authors

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