Date of Award

January 2022

Degree Type

Open Access Thesis

Document Type

Master Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


English and Theatre

First Advisor

Erin Presley

Department Affiliation


Second Advisor

Dominic Ashby

Department Affiliation


Third Advisor

Jill Parrott

Department Affiliation



This thesis combines primary and secondary research in order to make an argument about the need for better educational practices for Appalachian students. A problem is first established that, because of how Appalachian people and their culture are represented in the media, negative stereotypes are spread about those from the region who are easily identified by their use of Appalachian English. Standard English is widely taught and students are encouraged to suppress their accent and dialect in order to mediate this. However, these practices allow no room for these students to use and embrace their own language. This thesis investigates the responses of Appalachian people regarding their perception of Appalachian English, experience in writing classrooms, and exposure to Appalachian literature which establishes that as students they are negatively impacted by the current treatment of their language. Further, this thesis lays groundwork for better pedagogical practices for Appalachian English speakers including the honoring students’ own languages, assessment of student work, teaching of code-meshing, inclusion of positive examples of Appalachian culture, and use of creative writing in the classroom. This study aims to establish a more Appalachian-focused pedagogy that promotes a greater sense of pride for the students in the area, which will in turn lead to a reinvestment into the region.