Date of Award

Spring 5-2014

Degree Type

Honors College Thesis



First Advisor

Constance Bailey

Advisor Department



Ebonics, currently referred to as African-American English (AAE), is a highly-controversial topic inside and outside of the classroom. Many educators, scholars, and legislators debate how teachers should approach students who speak AAE and how they can fill the gap between African-American English and Standard English in a way that disbands the dialectal prejudices that may exist. This thesis focuses on code-switching as a pedagogical tool to help teachers instruct Black students in mastering Standard English on a proficient level, particularly Black students who speak AAE. This study explores current problems and practices in the way that English teachers approach AAE while attempting to provide a solution to this problem.

This study includes various scholarly articles, information from Education Departments from Michigan, California, and Mississippi, and books from AAE scholars, such as Dr. William Labov, Geneva Smitherman, John Baugh, and Dr. Robert Williams.