Middle School Students’ Perceptions Towards Linguistic Diversity in the Classroom

Meghan Moran

Accentedness, Student attitudes, Perceptions, Middle school students


In 2010, a heated political controversy centered on the Arizona Department of Education's desire to prohibit "heavily accented or ungrammatical teachers” from teaching English Language Learners (Blum & Johnson 2012; Jordan 2010). However, although an administrative practice such as this would greatly affect students’, their attitudes towards linguistic diversity in the classroom have been largely neglected. By surveying 94 middle school students in a public school district in the southwestern United States, this study sought to understand students’ attitudes regarding teachers’ and classmates’ accents and the factors that may influence them, such as their language background and the presence and quality of previous exposure to accents. Results show that students overwhelmingly have neutral to positive attitudes regarding accentedness, despite differences in ethnicity or home language. These results should be one component considered when contemplating the implementation of administrative practices such as that proposed in Arizona in 2010.

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Apples - Journal of Applied Language Studies