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The Mental Health Cost of Code-Switching on Campus

What assumptions do they make about people based on the way they speak? Continue the discussion by asking what assumptions they think people make about them when they speak, and invite them to share any examples of when they have been misjudged.

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Point out that their examples are evidence that people's assumptions about others have consequences. Scholars describe assumptions tied to race that are negative as "implicit bias. Ask students if they noticed any examples of implicit bias in the film clips or in their own experiences. Discuss what they think the consequences of "implicit bias" are on students in their own school, especially as it relates to students who speak in ways associated with a minority culture, or students who are minorities but, like Idris, are accused of "talking white.

As an assessment, assign students to write persuasive essays supporting one of the following arguments:. Allow students to choose the positions they want to take. Require each to use at least one specific example to illustrate his or her argument, either from his or her own experience or from U. Students who do the optional activity may be required to include a discussion of implicit bias in their essays.

Consider facilitating students sharing their essays, perhaps on a class wiki or blog. Talk about whether or not the students think it is important to arrive at a consensus opinion on this topic and how agreement or disagreement about "code switching" affects school climate. Invite students to share their own stories involving code shifting using the media of their choice. Encourage them to decide whether or not it is important to share these stories with their entire school or community.

Assign students to do an online search of the phrase "code shifting" and report on what they find, including a detailed report about at least one of the sources they discover. Consider extending the practice of persuasive writing by asking students to defend or debunk one of the sources.

Adapting to the dominant culture

Contrast that with the way they react to people who speak the way Idris speaks off the court. Therefore, Embedded Language islands are under the constraint of Matrix Language grammar. The name for this is "code switching. However, the correct way to finish the sentence is not "for wewe", switching back to Swahili; rather, it should end with "for you", which would be an Embedded Language island. Online Submission Here.

Refer to any writing assignment that students have completed and have them re-write the same content using a different "code. Watch American Promise in its entirety.

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Ask students to imagine traveling back in time with the knowledge they have now. What would they want to say to Idris's and Seun's parents when the parents were making the initial decision to send the boys to Dalton? Explore code switching specific to black youth by reading posts, and perhaps responding to posts in a blog community, such as Black Youth Project. McREL www. Faith Rogow, Ph.

Code Switching in Speech

She has written discussion guides and lesson plans for more than independent films. Download the Lesson Plan Jump to: Overview Objectives Activity Extensions Resources Standards OVERVIEW In this lesson, students will practice writing, listening and discussion skills as they learn about "code switching" -- who does it, when, where and why they do it and how it is problematic when it reinforces discrimination.

Code-Switching - The BenZi Project

Video clips provided with this lesson are from the film American Promise. Depending whether you want students to practice reading skills or listening skills, assign them to read either Heather Coffey's description of code switching , skipping the section on "How to Move from Corrective to Contrastive," or, to read aloud this description of Code Switching from NPR : So you're at work one day and you're talking to your colleagues in that professional, polite, kind of buttoned-up voice that people use when they're doing professional work stuff.

Your mom or your friend or your partner calls on the phone and you answer. And without thinking, you start talking to them in an entirely different voice -- still distinctly your voice, but a certain kind of your voice less suited for the office. You drop the g's at the end of your verbs. Your previously undetectable accent -- your easy Southern drawl or your sing-songy Caribbean lilt or your Spanish-inflected vowels or your New Yawker -- is suddenly turned way, way up.

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In linguistics, code-switching or language alternation occurs when a speaker alternates between two or more languages, or language varieties, in the context of. Code-switching, process of shifting from one linguistic code (a language or dialect) to another, depending on the social context or conversational setting.

You rush your mom or whomever off the phone in some less formal syntax "Yo, I'mma holler at you later" , hang up and get back to work. Then you look up and you see your co-workers looking at you and wondering who the hell you'd morphed into for the last few minutes.

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That right there? That's what it means to code-switch. Have students write one-paragraph summaries of what they heard or read. Although code-switching can sometimes refer to switching quickly between languages, it more commonly references a habit of conforming to the dominant culture through a change in dialect — which can have much higher stakes for some than it does for others.

For Black college students especially, code-switching can at times feel like a requirement for fitting into a space so heavily saturated with white peers, professors, and standards of academic excellence.

What Is Code Switching?

Many have noted that people who use AAVE are incorrectly viewed as less intelligent, making white English the language of academia. Experts have noted how harshly people are judged based off of dialect and pattern of speech. Studies show that teaching students to efficiently code-switch at a young age can help them get jobs or gain acceptance into highly ranked colleges later in life. For the students who feel they must conform to that to succeed, a code-switch can be not only an inconvenience, but a huge emotional toll and a detriment to mental health.

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Not only must Black students read and write in a different dialect to perform well in class, they must do so to be accepted by white peers and authority figures. On campus, that can mean dealing with a constant internal monologue telling Black students they are not smart enough — or white enough — to fit in or thrive in university. Just as Black people across America slip into white English to appear more professional or be taken seriously in academic settings, there is a long history of non-Black people using AAVE to seem hip, casual, or cool. This reverse code-switch is a particular form of cultural appropriation that allows the dominant culture to explore and enjoy a form of Black culture without judgement in a way that African Americans are not afforded.

For Black people who grew up speaking in AAVE, the reverse code-switch can be particularly hurtful — proof that the only thing keeping Black Americans from speaking naturally is the color of their skin.