I paid attention in my linguistics class. I know how to help AAVE speakers translate their grammar into formal, school-style writing. I use a portfolio model in my class, so students can work up to good grammar and word choice with effort.
But, sometimes, I hardly know where to start.
We read Swift's A Modest Proposal (I could see their heads jerk up each time I said something loudly about "eating babies!"), a selection from Ionesco's The Bald Soprano and a selection from Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest, and then they wrote up their own modest proposals. This one is from a senior in my class:
During the 2002 Year, the world has come to a change, when an terrible tragedy happened in New York, Our most beloved, beautiful sight seeing, twin towers, Were knocked, Well actually they collapsed, there were so many passengers who Boarded the plane and were killed as the plance crashed into the second twin tower, throughout that Following week So much confusion was Going on. Some feel that it waas an alert awakening For most of our troops, the president (as he would think in his own piece of the world) But we Really can't blame our sick president, who is suffering from an illness of "Failureness" if you Really shall thing, there are not so much meaningless faults of what he things Goes on in our world today, as a Result of higher taxes, high Gasoline prices, and not too many Jobs are available to the unemployed, making it difficult for many low income people to purchase homes (of their choice) which leaves the president with nothing but sickness in the heart, making things so complicated throughout the Nation, why are there so many soldiers dying, does bush know? Why did we start having wars when Bush became our president? Why there wasn't any wars with the president well ever since I was born? what you thing? if you feel this way then why not Register to vote?? If I could I definetlly would for the better to make life as hard as It doesn't suppose to be. Our country needs at least an Great awakening throughout the present and future, the present, president, Bush, is not there to be made fun of but to make better Government , which as I don't see, Do you?? I'm Guessing you are supposed to be living his type of lifestyle if you want his support.
Usually, even if there are a million errors, the kid is still communicating. Her essay, though, leaves me guessing.
After looking at it for awhile, I think she just likes to capitalize "R" and "G," not that she doesn't understand capitalization.
She doesn't talk much in my class, but she probably doesn't speak like this reads. It seems like maybe she is trying to make it sound schoolish and is losing her meaning in the process.
Beyond that, where to start? With a senior? That has to pass the graduation test?
I don't know.
Here are the comments I left on the top of her paper:
Try separating your main ideas and creating paragraphs--each one should contain a main point. Try writing it like you would say it if you were talking to me. Read it out loud and see if it sounds right.