Skip to content
Volume 92, Issue 3
  • ISSN: 0360-9170
  • E-ISSN: 1943-2402


In this column, Anne Haas Dyson probes the persistence of deficit discourse in language arts education. Her major conceptual tool for this probing is language ideology, that is, the intersection of attitudes and opinions about language with attitudes and opinions about groups of people. In our field, assumed deficits of whole groups of children have become taken for granted, and thus children’s resources and strengths are discounted and disappeared. Moreover, the academic transformation of early schooling into a ladder of literacy benchmarks has narrowed the ways in which children can find, and be seen as finding, success in school. The “erasure”(Gal, 2012) of child strengths leads to the violation of an old pedagogical truth: Teaching every child depends on building on what that child knows and can do, to which I add, and what that child feels, fears, and socially longs for in the company of other children. To help clarify her ideas, Dyson draws on a case study of kindergartener Ta’Von whose social agency supported what his teacher deemed “amazing” success as a writer but, alas, did not allow him to merit the educational label “bright.”—


Article metrics loading...

Loading full text...

Full text loading...
  • Article Type: Research Article
This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was a Success
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error