Different, Not Deficient
Linguistic Truth Seminars
Your keynote was powerful and gracious! Thank you from everyone who attended. Dr. Clinita Ford, Director - National Higher Education Conference
The most valuable activity at this conference was Mary Berger's session, particularly the linguistic truths about dialects - it gave me a much better understanding of language and its signifigance ... The info on how to teach children to "switch" from friend to school language was so important, as was the reminder that the things we knew as children - like our first dialects - should still be valued ... I'm going right back to my elementary class and trying out some of the lessons that we viewed on the tapes! Attendees at the SPARK, Mississippi Educators' Workshop on Diversity
The language bias component is powerful ... I feel anger, remorse, hope! U. of South Carolina Beaufort 45-hour Workshop attendee
One of the best presentations I've ever attended - no overheads or laser shows - just comprehensive explanations and visceral communication ... This subject is so important - we need a whole day. Tri-State Consortium of Opportunity Programs in Higher Education
Berger's provocative presentation was, by far, the one from which I received the most 'meat.' Thank you for bringing her my way. Mississippi Teacher of the Year / Teacher Renewal Institute
I have a new perspective and a different approach - I'll never again think of students as illiterate because they don't speak standard English ... I now understand how important language is to self-esteem and have new respect for my students ... We need this workshop district-wide for professional development and more time for training in teaching techniques. National Alliance of Black School Educators (NABSE) Southeast Conference
Educational, stimulating, empowering ... Excellent person to work with diverse groups and skilled at audience participation ... Inspirational ... Thanks - it was a gift. U. of Maryland Equity Council Conference
Very enlightening! Changed my perception about language, students and myself! ... After being the 'guinea pig' in the first demonstration, I will never again randomly correct my students!! ... Excellent speaker - animated, witty, knowledgable - a superior resource ... Every English instructor should have been here. North Carolina Department of Community Colleges Seminar
Mary Berger's session on dialect was an enlightening revelation that should be shared with all teachers and administrators. Mississippi Department of Education - Minority Administrators Conference
You have provided us with a much needed theoretical framework within which we can comfortably address sensitive dialect-related issues for our tri-racial population ... One important point for faculty was the fact that nonstandard dialects are not lazy or unintelligent but rule-governed and linguistically, historically rich - this insight gives them a way to respect - if not cherish - what they otherwise assume to be a speaker's inability to pattern speech after "correct" models ... Our Chair of the Native American Studies Department is looking forward to discussing the dialect issue further with her students - you cannot imagine what an important step this is for us ... Thank you for an informative, insightful and inspiring experience.
Co-Directors, Title III CPAC, Pembroke State U., N.C.
Teach Standard, Too
This was the very best session I have attended. Mary gave us so much information that can be used at our institution. She was positive, organized and knowledgable. Thank you! ... I have been a biased person about language since I was little. I have things to change - boy, do I! You have opened my world! ... This workshop should be an Institute - we needed more time, more space, more practice (and yet) I learned so-o-o much! ... Very thorough and informative. Audio-visual tools were so effective at teaching empathy for our nonstandard English-speaking students. I particularly appreciated giving NCORE attendees the chance to participate in the workshop demonstrations. ... Wonderful presentation! I learned a lot and plan to implement the techniques and materials at my school. ... A great solution for a topic that is very important to student success but often overlooked and/or under-emphasized! 19th Annual National Conference on Race and Ethnicity (NCORE) in American Higher Education
This workshop was extremely interesting and validating, and the video clips were excellent ... I plan to promote SchoolTalk / FriendTalk where I teach ... Excellent information re "language-equivalency" ... Interesting, informative and useful - I learned so much! Attendees at Preconference Workshop - 17th Annual National Dropout Prevention Netowrk / EduAlliance Conference
Our two-day workshop and the SchoolTalk / FriendTalk scripts, which we were trained to use, are largely responsible for our students' marked improvement in reading and writing, as well as a thirty percentile increase in our standardized testing scores! The workshop and materials are wonderful. Sharon Sweet, Former Principal, Avalon Gardens Elem., LAUSD
Absolutely fascinating - we could have used more time ... Excellent strategies for working with nonstandard English users in the higher education area ... Hands-on, interactive session with practical and useful techniques for the classroom ... Very informative, particularly regarding various techniques for teaching standard English. NCORE Conference Workshop Attendees
Our faculty loved this workshop and the materials! ... I'm so glad we had two days to absorb and practice the techniques and get accustomed to using the SchoolTalk / FriendTalk scripts - I think it built our confidence and reinforced our commitment. LAUSD Elementary School Faculty
We will definitely use Teach Standard, Too ... All teachers should attend this workshop ... would have liked another day! Austin Elementary School Faculty
The oral approach and these materials fit in perfectly - and reinforce - our current language arts program. We are going to initiate this program immediately. Principal, LAUSD Elementary School
Every English instructor should have been here ... I am going to apply the strategies and the materials in my classroom immediately! ... Can't wait to use the materials and techniques with my students - they will love this approach. North Carolina Dept. of Community Colleges Attendees
Oh how I wish we had had at least one more day to digest everything and practice - but I know my speech students will love the text, the method and most of all, the message! ... Finally - something that makes sense for our wonderfully intelligent students who speak nonstandard versions of English - thank you! Chicago Public H.S. Faculty Members
Those of us who grew up with "friend talk" knew much of the linguistic information instinctively - but now we have intellectual proof of that information as well as an affirming way to teach standard English. Our faculty will definitely use the Speak Standard, Too program for our English students as well as those who are training to become teachers. Dr. Barbara Fernandez, Chair, Education Department, Chicago State U.
The most valuable part of this conference was the training workshop that presented a 'Five-Step System for Teaching Oral and Written Standard English to English-Speaking Students.' I feel African American teachers have known for many years that dialect is a problem, but this is the first time we have been presented with a respectful and practical solution. And I will use it! Mississippi Teacher Renewal Institute Attendee
The impact of your presentations to our students and faculty was immediately positive and productive ... Even the hard-core elitists seemed more willing to modify their positions ... Placing the whole issue of learning standard dialect in a utilitarian context was a way of defusing the bomb ... Since both sides need to be defused, you were right about including students in the sessions ... Another important learning (step) for faculty was the (presentation) of various techniques you demonstrated for the acquisition of standard English ... We need an opportunity to practice these techniques in future workshops, especially for faculty who may feel insecure about their ability to identify variances and provide standard equivalencies ... Thank you for an informative, insightful and inspiring experience. Co-Directors, Title III CPAC, Pembroke State U., N.C.
Speak Standard, Too
Adult Standard English-Acquisition Classes
This class made me realize that the heritage from which I came was worthy despite the general consensus in Corporate America. Those words, 'Your dialect is different, not deficient,' will forever linger in my memory. I don't remember the exact day, but I do remember the feeling it gave me to know that there was nothing wrong with the way I spoke. It was okay! An accent did not make me less of a person ... This class provided us all with a sense of direction on a path that often ends just because of the dialect you speak. It not only prepared me for a career in radio, but also as an international speaker and training consultant. Never in a million years - when I was a little girl picking cotton in sweltering Mississippi - did I think I would be able to use my voice - even my dialect - as a way to earn a living! Thanks for making a difference in my personal and professional life. Zelda Robinson, radio personality and author of "The Passion Principles"
I'm not nervous about my speech at work, anymore - a big relief! ... I was amazed at how much progress I made after I started doing the homework! ... Now I can speak standard English at work and in some social situations, and then kick back with my style when I'm with friends ... I improved in other classes using the techniques I learned in this class - my writing got better and even my spelling ... Wow! The power of language! I learned first hand how it influences people. And, by really listening to others, I became more aware of their intelligence and less judgmental about how they spoke ... I never thought I could stand up in front of any group and speak with confidence - but I did! ... This class empowered me mentally, spiritually and verbally. Speak Standard, Too Class Attendees
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