Actions and Detail Panel
Challenging the pathologisation of non-standard language
Mon 24 April 2017, 10:00 – 18:00 BST
Aim: to provide a forum for discussion, and a springboard for collaborative working, between sociolinguists, speech and language therapists (SLTs) and educationalists.
- to bring sociolinguists, educators and SLTs together to discuss the discourses of pathology and its underlying language deficit model;
- to disseminate the outcomes of workshop discussions at a conference colloquium/panel (e.g. BAAL 2017/18 );
- to publish papers from the colloquium in a special issue of the journal Language and Discrimination;
- to create a network of scholars interested in language and discrimination
In previous work and in a previous BAAL/CUP funded seminar (2011), we have discussed a resurgence of language deficit perspectives in political, educational and media discourse (Grainger and Jones 2013). In addition, the profession of speech and language pathology has become involved in the debates, often drawn in by policy makers to lend authority to claims of linguistic deficit in children from poorer families and to support remedial communication programmes for schools and families in socially disadvantaged areas. The assumption is that the alleged lack of communicative skill in poorer children is attributable to inadequate parenting, which then results in linguistic pathology. While there are echoes here of the 'compensatory' educational initiatives inspired by Basil Bernstein's work in the 1970s (Jones, 2013), the 21st century repackaging of the issue involves extending the professional remit of SLT into the education of typically developing children and their parents (e.g. Locke et al. 2002).
While speech and language pathology (SLT) is traditionally based on a medical model of language development, a sociolinguistic perspective is missing from all such recent proposals for communicational intervention (e.g. Bercow et al. 2008; All Party Parliamentary Group on Speech and Language Difficulties, 2013). Collaboration between sociolinguists, educational linguists and the profession of SLT would therefore seem particularly timely. Such collaboration will promote knowledge and awareness of the social context of language use and will provide a more balanced evidence base on which to draw for future policy-making. It is therefore the goal of the proposed workshop to bring together educationalists, SLTs and sociolinguists who are interested in collaborative research that questions the pathologisation of poor children's communication skills, that foregrounds the role of social context in language use, and that emphasises the economic inequalities underlying differential educational achievement. The workshop will focus on the production of an action plan for future collaboration between specialists in the three discipline areas.
10-11 Registration and coffee
11-11:15 Welcome and Introductions
11:15 – 11:45 The pathologisation of non-standard language. Karen Grainger and Peter Jones
11:45 – 12:00 Discussion
12-12:30 Social Class, Language and Youth: ability versus style. Sarah Spencer and Emma Moore
2-2:30 Rethinking Literacy and Language Ontologies through Co-production. Kate Pahl and Hugh Escott
2.45- 3.15 "Low Ability", Participation and Identity in Dialogic Classrooms. Julia Snell
3.30- 4.00 Practitioner issues in SLT.Susan Edwards
4.00- 4.15 Discussion
5.00 - 6.00 Open Forum: Producing an action plan for future collaboration:
- establishing a network
- publications and conferences
- involving practitioners/the wider community
6pm onwards DRINKS AND DINNER