In the first-year composition classroom, language and how it is taught are an important part of the curriculum. Often, the only variety of language that is valued is Standard American English, or SAE. Language change and variation is natural, and as language changes, dialects begin to develop. Although dialects are all linguistically equal and capable of meeting communicative needs, social perception of dialects divergent from SAE are often considered inferior and are expected to not be used in formal settings like the classroom. Students who speak divergent dialects, including regional dialects like Appalachian English and ethnic dialects like African American English, or AAE, are often expected to code-switch for the academic setting and stifle their linguistic diversity. This can cause linguistically diverse students to get left behind in the world of higher education. In order to combat linguistic discrimination in the classroom, instructors can implement a linguistically diverse pedagogy within first-year composition courses. This pedagogy includes instructor education; race, class, and culture talks; diverse literature representation; optional code-meshing; in addition to SAE education. Implementing a linguistically diverse pedagogy in the first-year composition classroom is a key step to dismantling educational inequity in the wide realm of higher education.

Semester/Year of Award

Fall 2021


Sarah Y. Tsiang

Mentor Department Affiliation

English and Theatre

Access Options

Restricted Access Thesis

Degree Name

Honors Scholars

Degree Level




Department Name when Degree Awarded

English and Theatre