Date of Award


Document Type


Committee Chair/Advisor

Mindy Spearman, Ph D.


This study investigates the question of “What are in-service-general education teachers’ opinions about African American English (AAE), particularly regarding speech and speech therapy referrals?” Questions asked to teachers and speech-language pathologists were focused on educator opinions on topics related to African American English and discussion of students the professionals might have served in their years of experience that fit research criteria. The eleven professionals discussed various aspects of African American English in a school setting, including the effect it has on student academic achievement, the use of home versus school language, any relationship between AAE and speech therapy referrals, and what the professionals wish they had known about AAE before they had started working with children. Primarily two schools of thought emerged from interviews related to the aspects above, one group tending to believe that African American English was culturally based and were part of the student’s learning profile while the other group tended to think that African American English dialect characteristics made it more challenging for the student to succeed in a school setting.