Language Diversity and Education
By David Corson
Routledge – 2000 – 272 pages
This introductory text for students of linguistics, language, and education provides background and up-to-date information and resources that beginning researchers need for studying language diversity and education.
Three framing chapters offer an update on the philosophy of social research, revealing how important language is for all the processes of learning in which humans engage, whether it is learning about the world through education, or learning about the nature of social life through research in the human sciences. These chapters also review the links between language, power, and social justice, and look at dynamic changes occurring in "language diversity and education" research.
Four central chapters give state-of-the-art, comprehensive coverage to the chief areas of language diversity that affect the practice of education: standard and non-standard varieties; different cultural discourse norms; bilingual and ESL education; and gendered discourse norms.
This book is intended for graduate students of applied linguistics, sociolinguistics, psycholinguistics, the social psychology of language, anthropological linguistics, and other related disciplines; and graduate students of education, including in-service teachers taking advanced professional development courses. Special features enhance its usefulness as a text for courses in these areas:
* A clear, jargon free writing style invites careful reading.
* All ideas are well within the range that graduate students in the language disciplines or in education can relate to their work, but theoretical ideas are kept to a necessary minimum and linked with practical examples in every case.
* Extensive references guide readers to the book's up-to-date, international, and cross-cultural bibliography.
* "Discussion Starter" questions at the end of each chapter highlight key points and stimulate informed, reflective discussion.
"Highly recommended…. The writing style is clear, jargon-free, and concise….A great read!"
—TABE NEWS Article
"…his style is straightforward, and his ideas are provocative."
—Anthropology & Education Quarterly
"This book is a masterful synthesis of research in the field of language diversity: diverse language groups, cultural norms and, using Corson's most frequent term, discourse norms…the book's strongest point is its great clarity of argument. It is an impressive piece of writing, based on so much research that the bibliography will be an education in itself for most teachers and education majors. Another strength is that Corson's ideological interest in diversity makes this work inclusive and compendious."
—The Modern Language Journal
"David Corson's Language Diversity and Education moves us to the next level of specificity, seeking to directly address future teachers. The volume provides a broad overview of the applied linguistics knowledge base with which teachers should be familiar…it explicitly makes clear the reasons that issues of language should be of concern to educators: not simply for pedagogical reasons (although these are certainly important) but even more for reasons related to human rights and the quest for social justice in society."
—Studies in Second Language Acquisition
"…no teacher candidate should complete his or her training without a course on diversity in education. Furthermore, no course on diversity in education is complete without considering the role language variance plays in establishing and perpetuating peoples' differences…we now have a single text that introduces educators to this all important and yet often neglected aspect of diversity by focusing on language differences for all these diversity types….I applaud Corson's emphasis on the importance of ongoing interaction for students whose discourse norms vary from the standard, academic norms….Corson has provided the field of education a much-needed book, one that looks at student diversity through language practices. Stemming from a social justice framework and covering four main areas of language diversity (standard and nonstandard varieties, different cultural discourse norms, speakers of English as a second language, and gender differences), the book explains the research that illuminates each area and then makes suggestions for educational practices to address each area."
—American Journal of Psychology
"An accessible text that nonetheless covers a lot of ground with respect to the theory and practice of language in education….In making the issues under discussion relevant to practitioners and researchers of education, as well as those with a more general interest in language and education, the book draws on a social science and humanities literature that extends beyond sociolinguistics….There is a strong representation of research from Canada and Australia discussed, in addition to material from the USA, Britain and non-English-speaking countries, giving it a good international scope."
—Gender and Education
"…the format of the book extends the opportunity to develop thinking and action through focused questions at the end of each chapter. These invite the reader to see links between the text and the research issues and thereby reflect on ways forward within individual educational organisations and classrooms. This book is a most valuable contribution to writing in the field of linguistics and education."
"Corson is an intellectual leader in the field of language and education….In this volume, he offers a reader-friendly, unified overview of the range of issues encompassed under the broad challenge of providing equal educational opportunity in today's highly multilingual, multiethnic, and intercultural schools….Starting from the premise of what social justice means in today's postmodern world, Corson moves from there to implications for the treatment of language diversity in education, in all its forms from gender differences to differences across discourse norms, standard and nonstandard varieties, and multiple languages….bringing a current and well-informed theoretical perspective to the practical problem of educational treatment for students from diverse language backgrounds. "
—Nancy H. Hornberger
University of Pennsylvania
"Current and relevant to issues in education….A number of important features make this book unique and compelling. First, it is interdisciplinary in nature. In addressing the needs of diverse stakeholders--whether ESL, female, or minority language speakers--Corson…invites the reader to make important inter- and intra-group comparisons. Second, it draws on and explicates the work of Pierre Bourdieu, whose contribution to the field of language and education has hitherto been imperfectly understood….Third, it goes beyond research to suggest what policies and practices might enhance social justice in the field of language and education. The chapters on Ebonics, discourse norms, bilingual education, and gender are particularly pertinent in this regard….This book is an important contribution to the field of language and education."
University of British Columbia
Contents: Preface. Language in Social Life and Education. Language, Power, and Social Justice in Education. Different Cultural Discourse Norms. Non-Standard Varieties. Bilingual and English as a Second Language Education. Gender and Discourse Norms. Research Methods for Language Diversity and Education.