Episode 9 -Navigating the Linguistic Landscape with Julie Washington

Episode Summary 
Julie Washington, PhD, and Windward’s Head of School, Jamie Williamson, discuss the impact of race and culture on the Linguistic Landscape of American schools. Dr. Washington’s research focuses on the linguistic differences in students speaking African American English and the implications on identification, literacy, and support in the classroom. Dr. Washington and Mr. Williamson discuss why teacher competence in cultural and linguistic differences is a critical element of effective reading instruction. Drawing from her expertise and experience working in a variety of research and school contexts, Dr. Washington advocates for equity and access for all students.

Top READ Bookmarks
Each episode, host Danielle Scorrano identifies key takeaways or “READ bookmarks.” 

1. An intersection exists between poverty, language, and reading problems, particularly related to identification of learning disabilities. Research shows disproportionality in the way children from low income communities are identified with behavioral difficulties verse language and academic deficits.

2. Educators must understand cultural and linguistic differences their students present and how these differences manifest in the classroom.

“One of the things that differs the most cross culturally is language… [yet] we judge people by the way we use language.” 

3. Adult behaviors and implicit expectations of a child can impact their potential for success. Negative implicit bias, in particular, can have lifelong implications for developing children.

"Low expectations that we have for kids based on the struggles and differences [they bring to the classroom]… may end up defining them in a way that adults did not mean but it does."

4. At a systems level, we need to address policies to ensure services are inclusive for all students who need it.

5. Effective partnerships between public and private schools can offer benefits in teacher training and student outcomes as well as learning for both contexts. Positive, trusting relationships between schools can facilitate more sustainable partnerships.

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READ Podcast is produced by The Windward School and The Windward Institute. READ is hosted by Danielle Scorrano.

About READ: READ, the Research Education ADvocacy Podcast connects you with prominent researchers, thought leaders, and educators who share their work, insights, and expertise about current research and best practices in fields of education and child development.
Note: All information and insights shared demonstrate the expertise and views of our guests.