Twice as Less; Black English and the Performance of Black Students in Mathematics and Science by Elanor Wilson Orr, Hardcover | Barnes & Noble
Twice as Less; Black English and the Performance of Black Students in Mathematics and Science

Twice as Less; Black English and the Performance of Black Students in Mathematics and Science

by Elanor Wilson Orr
     
 
In this ground-breaking study, Eleanor Wilson Orr argues that the performance of black students in math and science is crippled not by lack of intelligence of diligence but by linguistic interference. Using student work from an experimental program she helped establish the District of Columbia, Mrs. Orr traces specific ways nonstandard English usage can lead not

Overview

In this ground-breaking study, Eleanor Wilson Orr argues that the performance of black students in math and science is crippled not by lack of intelligence of diligence but by linguistic interference. Using student work from an experimental program she helped establish the District of Columbia, Mrs. Orr traces specific ways nonstandard English usage can lead not merely to non-understanding but to actual misunderstanding-can lead, for example, to students subtracting or dividing backwards or to students inverting the use of twice and half.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
A veteran high school teacher of science and mathematics offers an unusual approach to the problem of underachievement among minority students. Founder with her husband of the Hawthorne School in the District of Columbia, Orr here describes the results of the school's experimental linguistic program from which her theory is developed: ``Differences between black English vernacular (BEV) and standard English can affect a BEV speaker's concept of certain quantitative relations.'' Observing the functional role of prepositions, conjunctions and relative pronouns in the identification of quantitative ideas, Orr pinpoints misunderstandings that beset students whose first language is nonstandard English. Her belief that BEV is rule-governed and not merely ``bad'' English is supported by data from her students who, for example, confuse ``twice'' and ``half'' or combine ``as'' and ``than'' in their partitive comparisons. The inquiry and explanations are complex, but Orr is generous with illustrations and invites compelling speculation on how the Hawthorne experiment might be replicated by educators seeking to unleash the scientific potential of disadvantaged black students. (August 19)
Library Journal - Library Journal
Orr believes that the structure of the nonstandard English spoken by many black students is a direct cause of their failure to do well in school, especially in mathematics and science. She examines and illustrates the function of standard English prepositions, conjunctions, and relative pronouns in the expression of quantitative relationships, arguing that speakers of black English have problems in understanding concepts. As co-founder of the innovative Hawthorne School in Washington, D.C., she was able to test her assumptions on student transfers from the public schools, 98 percent of whom were black. She developed teaching methods that appear to prove that the problems are correctable, even at the high school level. Likely to be controversial, certainly an important work. Shirley L. Hopkinson, Library & Information Science Div., California State Univ., San Jose

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780393023923
Publisher:
Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Publication date:
11/01/1987
Pages:
240
Product dimensions:
6.40(w) x 9.46(h) x 0.99(d)

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