Summer Dialect Teacher Project (SDTP)

Workshop on African American English and Education

The Summer Dialect Teacher Project (SDTP) is one of the programs of the Center. It provides a forum to address language use and literacy skills of school-age children who use African American English (AAE) as their major form of communication. The goal of the SDTP workshop is to inform practitioners, such as teachers and speech pathologists, about students’ use of dialect in schools and its relationship to mainstream or classroom English curricula and methods of instruction. The SDTP provides one of the few opportunities for researchers and practitioners to come together and discuss research and instructional methods that are beneficial in helping to improve reading and other academic skills of children whose native English variety is not mainstream English. In addition to participating in interactive presentation discussions, participants get hands-on experience by completing activities and mini projects that they can use in teaching reading and language arts classes. The Center continues to collaborate with the Western Massachusetts Writing Project (WMWP) on programs for teachers in the Western Massachusetts region. The Site Director for WMWP is Anne Herrington, Professor of English (UMass), and the In-Service Coordinator is Susan Biggs.