“Miss, can you speak English?”: raciolinguistic ideologies and language oppression in initial teacher education

IAN CUSHING

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (journal)peer-review

Abstract

Racism is pervasive within the lives of racially minoritised pre-service teachers, but little work has explored how perceptions about language feature here. Based on interviews with 26 racially minoritised pre-service teachers, I describe their experiences of language oppression whilst on school experience placements, where they were instructed by mentors to modify, flatten, and completely abandon their ways of talking if they were to be perceived as legitimate. I show how language oppression gets justified by mentors in reference to state-produced policy, and how perceptions about the quality of speech are ideologically linked to perceptions about the quality of teaching. I argue that whilst language oppression often materialises under seemingly benevolent guises, it maintains the raciolinguistic status quo because it asks racialised teachers to adapt their speech so that it appropriates whiteness. I argue that language oppression is a key reason why England continues to fail to retain racially marginalised teachers.
Original languageEnglish
JournalBritish Journal of Sociology of Education
Early online date2 May 2023
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2 May 2023

Keywords

  • raciolinguistic ideologies
  • language oppression
  • initial teacher education
  • institutional racism
  • schools

Research Centres

  • International Centre on Racism

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