Her presentation entitled From “Swa Swa” to “Swag”: Teaching the History of English examined and analyzed the ways in which the English language has evolved from Old English to Middle English and beyond. By learning the history of language, students gain a better understanding of the ways in which they and their families contribute to our cultural and social language as a collective whole. When we teach students to appreciate that language is a representation of society, we teach students to value their home languages and the cultural contributions they make to our collective society today.
This presentation also focused on the importance of teaching the transitions in the English language, as a means of teaching the ways in which language reflects society, as well as the ways in which society shapes language. Through these lessons, students gain insight into the power of connotative meanings, and societally-constructed understandings of language. By understanding the relationship between a culture and its language, students can begin to understand the ways in which their writing and word choice have the power to reflect their own values and continue to shape society in the future.
Mrs. Katz co-presented with Dr. Vincent Lankewish, an AP Language and Composition and Humanities teacher at the Professional Performing Arts School in Manhattan.