- That the authors were men. During class I had to correct some students who'd say, "I think he__," because he is really a she (based on the assigned readings for today's class). I then asked why they assumed the authors were men, some pointed to the academic writing style employed by the texts. Others weren't sure, and one students said that his/her English teacher instructed him/her to use he when they didn't know the author's gender. So much for gender neutral style guidelines for editors and writers in the academy. LOL!
- That academic texts should cite people in order to be credible. Some students questioned Smitherman's lack of citations (in the traditional sense -- parenthetical citation, etc.). While this is not a new criticism of Talkin and Testifyin, as many have pointed out with her supposed lack of empirical work, my students were intially wary of the fact that no citations from secondary sources from sociolinguists were referenced in this chapter (this doesn't mean there weren't any citations in the rest of the book; they just don't appear in this chapter). Many students thought initially that Redd and Schuster Webb would be more credible since there are tons of citations. But one of my students brought up the idea of who Smitherman would cite, since most of her research in this chapter was original: In fact, Redd and Schuster Webb cite Smitherman's work just like er'body else and they momma doing work on Ebonics.
- That a text can be academic, yet draw on different IAR strategies from those typically found in academic discourse. For example, in "It Bees that Way Sometime," students pointed to the idea that Smitherman includes a poem and comic about the ways in which people miss the point of an argument by focusing on whether or not the argument was presented correctly in Standard English. They concluded that comic was arranged in the middle of the text (right after the dense analysis of the grammatical features of Black English) in order to help explain the analysis visually, or to help the reader recover from the dense nature of the previous analysis. They concluded that the poem was arranged at the end of the text to help audiences members change their own attitudes about BE and linguistic prejudice (revision), as a lesson readers can take away
BTW: My students' analysis of the IAR strategies they see in Smitherman's or Redd's/Schuster Webb's text can be found on the side of this blog where links to their blog responses appear. Check them out if you want a better understanding of IAR.