WASHINGTON (ABC7) — You may have heard of the phrase " code-switching," the process of switching one's dialect to another depending on the social context or conversational setting. Today, Chief Eyemagination Officer Dr. Lydia Carlis informed us of the benefits African-American English has on students to achieve a successful learning environment.
Lydia J. Carlis PhD, principal consultant for eyemaginED, is an educator and the visionary behind the Washington, D.C. based consulting firm. With over 20 years of experience in education, Carlis believes African-American dialect should be praised in D.C. classrooms by engaging more African American teachers, and encouraging students to speak in their home dialect.Read More
Social justice and advocacy are at my core, from my formative years growing up in Arkansas. Arkansas was where I first heard civil rights icon Dick Gregory (prayers for his family in their time of bereavement), where I was first called a nigger, and where I first realized that "to whom much is given, much is required."Read More
A few weeks ago, my friend asked/told (in the way your good black girlfriends can do so expertly😂), "I know you haven't stopped helping kids to take pictures of successful women?!"😳😂
The answer, of course, was no. I am happily doing both, and honestly see my photography work as an extension of and support for my education work.
I was saddened by Trayvon, Eric, Sandra, and all the other named victims we have learned about over the past few years. This past week, however, felt different - more personal, more disappointing, more infuriating, more urgent. I honestly thought through whether what I am doing now, education consulting and photography, is "enough" with all of the real, immediate issues plaguing our country (and abroad).
This week, I have the opportunity to sit in on a training started by a very smart white ally, Dr. Katie Gottfred, called Language for Scholars. Today, the guest speaker was a Mexican American first-gen college graduate who would definitely be considered a #CSuiteChick! The 59 diverse 8th graders participating in the weeklong training are learning to code switch between their home dialects and academic business language. These teens are heading to prestigious college prep programs across the country, and I have no question they will be instrumental in changing the world they will inhabit as leaders in a few short years.
What today reminded me is that we all can be allies in the movement for social justice and equality, doing work that takes many forms -- raising children who see, respect and value difference; teaching preschool or graduate school; law enforcement; capturing and documenting history with words, photographs, video, or art...the list of possible contributions is limitless.
My education calling and photography gift aside 😉, the real question is not what we need to be doing to contribute to the movement, but if we are willing to do so. Wouldn't it be amazing if we could co-create a world with slightly better problems to solve by the time these 8th graders become Generation Now? On weeks like last week, that seems an impossible dream.
Today, I'm reminded that good outweighs bad, hope outweighs despair, and the realization of our hopes and dreams for our country and her children looks a lot like the fruits of the labor (physical and introspective) each of us need to be doing every single day. It will not take a miracle to change things, it only takes you and me.
I see education triumphs and struggles everywhere I am. And so when I headed to the movies recently with my family to see Annie, the remake that now featured an illiterate African American girl struck me as the perfect re-imagining of today's struggles to learn and overcome that so many African American and Latino children face.
Read more in my opinion piece, published in Education Week.