Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Committee Chair

Philip Rapp


This applied dissertation was designed to examine teacher attitudes toward African-American English (AAE) and how those attitudes influence teacher expectations for students who speak AAE. Previous exposure to AAE as well as differences between teacher interaction with AAE speaking students and non-AAE speaking students was investigated. Teacher expectations are more strongly related to the later achievement of children from stigmatized groups, i.e., children from minority and/or low socioeconomic backgrounds; and teacher expectations have lasting effects on these students’ performances (Jussim & Harber, 2005). Since it is estimated that up to 80% of African-Americans living in the continental United States speak AAE (Amberg & Vause, 2009), it is imperative to look at teacher attitudes toward the dialect and to explore possible biases. Equally important is the examination of current teaching approaches used to instruct speakers of AAE. Negative attitudes or perceptions toward a child’s language may result in lower teacher expectations for AAE speakers in the classroom. Lower expectations could result in impediments to student learning. The writer used the African-American English Teacher Attitude Scale (AAETAS) to quantify teacher attitudes and perceptions toward AAE. Previous exposure to AAE was obtained through participant response. Observations of teacher-student interactions were conducted to obtain the frequency of interactions as a conveyance of expectations. Open-ended interview questions were posed to participants to gain additional insight into teacher attitudes and to understand how teachers approached teaching students who spoke AAE. This study suggests that previous exposure to AAE through coursework or professional development could possibly lead to teachers having more positive attitudes toward AAE speakers.

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.