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Books by Lisa Delpit. The Skin That We Speak. Thoughts on Language and Culture in the Classroom. Teaching When the World Is on Fire. You may also be interested in. The Discipline of Hope. Learning from a Lifetime of Teaching. Immigrant Students in Our Public Schools. She Would Not Be Moved. Economic Apartheid in America. A Primer on Economic Inequality and Insecurity. Support The New Press. Sign up to receive newsletters and event invitations. She encourages her students to distrust and be suspicious of white Americans, and argues very early in the book that teachers who disagree with her that is, those that permit the use of AAVE in speech and writing, as long as a proper point is communicated likely only feel this way as a means to protect high-status jobs.
She literally says, though the use of an anonymous teacher source's ruminations, that white teachers want their own kids to have all the good jobs, and so they actively work to keep black kids in the gutter. It's bombastic and absurd. She also attacks statistics, research, and science repeatedly throughout the work; but even so, countless times she makes statements like 'studies have shown,' followed by a completely outlandish belief.
Every time she does this, it lacks a reference or any details about the study. All information as to where she got her "facts" is absent from the text. In short, I hated this book, and found it absolutely useless. I'd rather read the Bible. View all 3 comments. Apr 26, Janae rated it really liked it Shelves: This is an excellent book to read if you're White and teaching in an urban school or if you're Black and are searching for validation for beliefs that have met opposition.
In response to whether or not students should be taught Standard English, many parents share these sentiments: In this country, students will be judged on their product regardless of the process they utilized to achieve it. To deny students their own expert knowledge is to disempower them. It will make a lot more sense. This would never be a book that I would consider recommending for gaining deeper insights into teaching children of color. I hoped to feel I had an edge to share with my teachers in dealing with and teaching children who come from culturally diverse backgrounds. Instead, I felt scolded and preached to and was unconvinced that even the author has ideas of how to best help, teach and reach our disadvantaged minorities.
I concur with her last essay, that we need to value and celebrate the heritage This would never be a book that I would consider recommending for gaining deeper insights into teaching children of color. I concur with her last essay, that we need to value and celebrate the heritage of all children. However, beyond that, she offers little to help us close the achievement gap and improve the classroom management that plagues our schools nationwide. Feb 28, Abbi Dion rated it it was amazing. Focused, honest, insightful and challenging. I took the time to type a few standout moments: We have given up the rich meaningful education of our children in favor of narrow, decontextualized, meaningless procedures that leave unopened hearts, unformed character, and unchallenged minds.
And this means that we as a country are in trouble. The troubles of our country — indeed, the troubles of our world — can be addressed only if we help ourselves and our children touch the deep humanity of our collective spirit and regain the deep respect for the earth that spawned us. We live in a society that nurtures and maintains stereotypes: The answers, I believe, lie not in a proliferation of new reform programs but in some basic understandings of who we are and how we are connected to and disconnected from one another.
Indeed, in the educational institutions of this country, the possibilities for poor people and for people of color to define themselves, to determine the self each should be, involve a power that lies outside of the self. It is others who determine how they should act, how they are to be judged.
Page 20 Those with power are frequently least aware — or least wiling to acknowledge — its existence. Those with less power are often most aware of its existence. Page I also do not believe we should teach students to passively adopt an alternate code. They must be encouraged to understand the value of the code they already possess as well as to understand the power realities in this country.
Page 40 To do so takes a very special kind of listening, listening that requires not only open eyes and ears, but open hearts and minds. We do not really see through our eyes or hear through our ears, but through our beliefs. To put our beliefs on hold is to cease to exist as ourselves for a moment — and that is not easy. It is not easy but it is the only way to learn what it might feel like to be someone else and the only way to start the dialogue.
Page Teachers are in an ideal position to play this role, to attempt to get all of the issues on the table in order to initiate true dialogue. I suggest that the results of such interactions may be the most powerful and empowering coalescence yet seen in the educational realm — for all teachers and for all the students they teach. Page 47 Forcing speakers to monitor their language for rules while speaking, typically produces silence. Page 51 Teachers need to support he language that students bring to school, provide them input from an additional code, and give them the opportunity to use the new code in a nonthreatening, real communicative context.
Page 60 Some youngsters may become more engaged in school tasks when the language of those tasks is posed in real-life contexts than when they are viewed as merely decontextualized problem completion. Since our long-term goal is producing young people who are able to think critically and creatively in real problem-solving contexts, the instructional —and linguistic — implications should be evident. Page 66 One of the most difficult tasks we face as human beings is communicating meaning across our individual differences, a task confounded immeasurably when we attempt to communicate across social lines, racial lines, cultural lines, or lines of unequal power.
Page My experiences in these geographically diverse settings were some of the most important of my life. I had no opportunity to see myself reflected in those around me. Under such circumstances, one learns to see much more clearly the assumptions one makes about the world, and to see that they are just that — assumptions. Some people in similar circumstances, I have discovered, hold on to their worldview with great tenacity, insisting that all of the others are wrong, peculiar, undeveloped, heathen, or uncivilized.
I found that my survival depended on my being willing and able to learn from my new acquaintances and my new setting, to see the world through other eyes. Those who have been on the receiving end of such biases understand them well […] Listening to the stories of these women and men has made me even more sensitive to the ways in which most institutions in our society are created to reflect the realities of a particular cultural group — mainly the white, academically oriented middle class.
Page 89 Academic education was fine and to be desired, but what really concerned them was social and moral education — the education that trains youngsters to become good people, who care about, participate in, and are proud of their communities. They decontextualize people as their research subjects are scrutinized and analyzed outside of their own lives.
Page 91 I realize that I am an organic part of all that is, and learn to adopt a receptive, connected stance, then I need not take an active, dominant role to understand; the universe will, in essence, include me in understanding. Page 93 In education, we set about solving problems as if they exist in a vacuum. We isolate the problem and seek a technical solution.
Page The context of a message is at least as important as, and often more important than the text of the message. The Native teacher, by contrast, almost always matched her words with her actions: The Anglo teacher asks that children attend to what he says, not what he does; the Native American teacher, on the other hand, supports her words in a related physical context. What gets done is at least as important as what gets said.
Page 99 The Scollons discuss how much of what just seems ordinary to academically oriented parents is really training children to respond to the world in very specific ways. While these modes may be reinforced in school, they are foreign to many children growing up in families not part of an academic culture.
Page When children who have been brought up to trust their own observations enter school, they confront teachers, who, in their estimation, act as unbelievable tyrants. It trains children both to seek meaning solely from the text and to seek truth outside of their own good sense. Page Era of Doublespeak.
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Page Learning solely through the decontextualized word, particularly learning something that was so much a part of their home culture, was simply too foreign for the children to grasp without careful instruction about how to make the transition. Page I have carried around the question of that child and that teacher for many years. Why do we have such a hard time making school a happy place for poor children and children of color? Page Negative attitudes in the university appear to be expressed in two ways: Researchers have found that the reactions of whites to people of color display subtle discriminatory behavior: Page Teaching is all about telling a story.
Page John Dewey advocated such a stance in Page It is vitally important that connections be examined, that the education professor highlight the narratives of the students of color and ask them to serve as resources for bringing to the fore differences in worldview, learning style, social organization, language, and so forth. Page The students of color may find their experiences both admissible and valued in the classroom, which, along with the increased opportunity for interaction, may help to reduce their feelings of isolation from the university and their white classmates and professors.
Page If we are to succeed in this quest, we must recognize and address the power differentials that exist in our society between schools and communities, between teachers and parents, between poor and well-to-do, between whites and people of color. Further, we must understand that our view of the world is but one of many, that others see things in other ways. Page Children who may be gifted in real-life settings are often at a loss when asked to exhibit knowledge solely though decontextualized paper-and-pencil exercises. Page If we plan to survive as a species on this planet we must certainly create multicultural curricula that educate our children to the differing perspectives of our diverse population.
Page If we are to successfully educate all of our children, we must work to remove the blinders built of stereotypes, monocultural instructional methodologies, ignorance, social distance, biased research, and racism. We must work to destroy those blinders so that it is possible to really see, to really know the students we must teach. They have been taught to think of themselves as the objective analysts and other people as the problem. A collection of essays by Delpit and others looking at the classroom from the minority minority in many senses perspectives.
Through tales of Native Alaskan tribes, urban blacks, and minority student teachers, Delpit reminds teachers, parents, administrators, and students themselves about diverse upbringings and differences in linguistic cultural traditions that can easily be misunderstood in a school environment that is run by and which teaches the white, professional culture An eye-opener. Writing workshop intentions are good, and it works for many, but probably not all.
Some students who may already have the fluency and creativity of language still need the keys to the explicit grammar skills which are the keys for entering the culture of power. In the chapter where she discusses teacher education, some disheartening stories of potential teachers who gave up because they weren't being heard or felt they couldn't make a difference in a system where the prejudices are embedded, below the surface, and largely unacknowledged.
Key is to listen to really listen and understand, not just to hear, not just to gloss over their opinions, not just to refute with attitude to and form relationships with the community, the parents, the people of color who understand the children and the students we are trying to reach.
Oct 05, Crystal rated it really liked it Shelves: Some things of note from this book: Acknowledge and validate students' home language without using i Some things of note from this book: Acknowledge and validate students' home language without using it to limit students' potential.
Other People's Children (TV series) - Wikipedia
Recognize conflict between students' home discourses and the discourse of school. Acknowledge the unfair "discourse-stacking" that our society engages in. And importantly, it seemed that she was saying that to teach all students well, we must know them and if possible, know and utilize their families as resources - valuing their input. Oct 21, Daniel S rated it really liked it Shelves: In that blurred view, I have come to understand that power plays a critical role in our society and in our educational system.
The worldviews of those with privileges positions are taken as the only reality, while the worldviews of those less powerful are dismissed as inconsequential. In fact, they transmit another culture that children must learn at home in order to survive in their communities. And that product, based as it is on the specific codes of a particular culture, in more readily produced when the directives of how to produce it are made explicit. Thus, it is impossible to create a model for the good teacher without taking issues of culture nd community context into account. Actually, nothing could be further from the truth.
I believe in a diversity of style, and I believe the world will be diminished if cultural diversity is ever obliterated…each cultural group should have the right to maintain its own language style. We do not really see through our eyes of hear through our ears, but through our beliefs. To put our beliefs on hold is to cease to exist as ourselves for a moment- and that is not easy.
This can perhaps best become a reality if teacher education programs include diverse parents, community members, and faculty among those who prepare future teachers, and take seriously the need to develop in those teachers the humility required for learning from the surrounding context when entering a culturally different setting. May 27, Stephanie Folarin rated it it was amazing. Lisa Delpit examines how everyday interactions in classrooms are laden with assumptions about the competencies, aptitudes and basic capabilities of low-income students and students of color.
This hard conversation about power imbalances in our society and its effect on students is typically avoided in schools. This article is step one in that process. We hoped that it inspires you to read this book, and to join in our discussion about culture, language and power in schools. Aug 27, Donna Davis rated it it was amazing Shelves: I first ran across this wonderful research when I was working on my Master of Arts degree I read an earlier edition.
I was examining stereotypes regarding teachers' expectations and the Model Minority, based on the 's coverage in national US magazines proclaiming first-wave immigrants--i. The articles, published when the Civil Rights mo I first ran across this wonderful research when I was working on my Master of Arts degree I read an earlier edition. The articles, published when the Civil Rights movement was at a fevered pitch, was a back-handed compliment, because it inferred that African-Americans who were looking for affirmative action programs ought to do whatever it was that the Asian folks had done, and do it without government programs to help them do it.
Delpit does a great job of breaking apart stereotypes. My favorite anecdote she relays is one in which an Asian child, a quiet little girl in a Montessori-type program, stands off to the side, away from the social chaos created by children who were sometimes off-task, and the teacher tells Delpit that this child is her "best student".
Delpit moves back behind the child and observes her. The child has a variety of materials that she is supposed to sort to match the numbers on cards. Carefully, she pulls out her blocks, sticks, whatever, and sorts them each onto the cards. And almost all of the materials she sorts fail to match the numbers on the cards, but no one else sees that.
Teachers tend to value studious behavior, and students who are not successful academically but also not noisy attention-magnets sometimes fall between the educational cracks. Jul 18, Jenny GB rated it really liked it. This is a good book for all educators to read, regardless of race. It really was an education to see the teaching styles and cultural styles of interaction that occur in different groups of people. While I resented that she claims that all white teachers don't really teach, but just stand there and expect students do the work I could get over that to learn from how other teachers work with minorities with directness and clear discipline.
I know that showing emotion in the classroom and having ve This is a good book for all educators to read, regardless of race. I know that showing emotion in the classroom and having very clear discipline are difficult things for me to use, but I should consider that when I am teaching in a majority minority student school. She says many things that are in common with all teachers in all places such as our desire to help children and form personal connections with them.
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As in her more recent book, she really hammers on the point that students must be taught skills, but that they should have a context in which to use the skills and the skills should be useful ones. That is a shift that I am currently seeing in education. There is a desire for more problem solving and critical thinking to occur in the classrooms. I did not find Delpit's book racist or an attack on my race or culture.
She seems to sincerely want changes made so that everyone is better educated, included, and understood. I wonder if I really have been less than honest when I claim that teaching is starting to make me colorblind, but this book and others help push me to continue to try to become a better teacher for my students. What does it mean to be a culturally competent teacher? How do issues of power in society show up in schools?
In a collection of academic articles, Lisa Delpit explores how issues such as asserting authority, what makes a good teacher, appropriate language, and the importance of human connection and context vary across cultures.
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She emphasizes how everyone should realize how our culture subconsciously influences how we see the world and the importance of white people listening to students and parents of color instead of assuming they know what is best for everyone. As a white educator working with predominantly students of color, I need to learn and think more about these issues. Delpit thinks anything has changed in the 15 years since she wrote this book. Jun 18, Kb rated it really liked it. This book isn't so much an indictment of teachers and their practices as teacher education programs.
This was published before The Skin that we Speak, so having read these two books in reverse order, it appears as if Delpit's ideas are becoming less refined, which of course isn't the case. In twenty years, I'm not sure if teaching programs are all that different from what Delpit describes in this book.
One of her biggest critiques is the deficit mentality that is developed by increasingly White This book isn't so much an indictment of teachers and their practices as teacher education programs. One of her biggest critiques is the deficit mentality that is developed by increasingly White students in teacher educating programs.
We are bombarded with information about underperformance of poor minorities and their lack of cultural capital to the point where it is so internalized that when we enter the classroom, we teach less because our expectations have been lowered so much. The irony of it all is that we should be doing the opposite because these students need more from schools than anyone. One major question I have for Delpit regarding both this and Skin that we Speak is how to approach older students.
Most, if not all, of her examples come from the grade school level, which is arguably a more formative period as far as developing academic expectations and habits. At the secondary level, after years of practice at failure or close to it, what can one do to right the ship? This book would be pretty dry for most people since it is a grad school book that one of the teachers I work with lent me. The main point of the book is that different cultures have different linguistic styles that often create a barrier between teachers and students, especially since the amount of "minority" children in city schools are growing while the amount of "minority" teachers is shrinking.
The other main point is that minority children should learn how to read and write academically, or This book would be pretty dry for most people since it is a grad school book that one of the teachers I work with lent me. The other main point is that minority children should learn how to read and write academically, or basically "white.
While this book practically hits you over the head with these philosophies, and can be a little heavy-handed at times, I still appreciated the insight that it offers into the realm of multicultural education. Feb 12, Doug Crook rated it really liked it. I read this as part of a group and I was surprised by how many of my peers really didn't like this book.
Personally, I found it to be a fantastic approach to a hard to discuss topic. It really confronted a lot of my viewpoints in a healthy way and made me think about how I would approach certain scenarios differently, especially in regards to the classroom environment. By far my favorite part of the book was how it used disparate articles to show that a classroom in Alaska can feel the same to s I read this as part of a group and I was surprised by how many of my peers really didn't like this book.
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By far my favorite part of the book was how it used disparate articles to show that a classroom in Alaska can feel the same to students as a classroom in Papua New Guinea if the students in either one feel like there's no point in being there. If the only prospect of an education is to be the best fish-farmer in the area then both scenarios become equally trivial. Perspectives like this are what made me really enjoy the book. The only complaint, which was shared by many in the class, is that the collection of articles offers a vast amount of insight into the problems but has almost no solutions.
Quite a bit of inference needs to occur to implement any of this in the classroom but it is also a commentary on the idea that there is never going to be a one-size-fits-all approach to any of these issues. Teachers and anyone interested in equity in the classroom. There is really not much to say for this book: Lisa Delpit doesn't shy away from plainly stating the issues that face students of all ages. People who grow up in different communities have different expectations and ideas about getting and giving respect.
In order for a student to succeed, she or he needs to be able conversant in the language that There is really not much to say for this book: In order for a student to succeed, she or he needs to be able conversant in the language that is used by the dominant culture if that's who is influencing the school. There's nothing wrong with helping students consciously acquire this knowledge; there's nothing wrong with teachers from the dominant culture admitting that they come from a place of privilege; there's nothing wrong with all of us meeting on common ground and hashing out a way we can all understand each other and get on with the work of building a stronger community.
Oct 31, Danni Green rated it it was amazing. The author's other book, Multiplication is for White People, was recommended to me recently, and when I looked that one up, I discovered she had written this book first, so I decided to read this before I read that one. It really illuminates many of the specific ways that racial inequities The author's other book, Multiplication is for White People, was recommended to me recently, and when I looked that one up, I discovered she had written this book first, so I decided to read this before I read that one.
It really illuminates many of the specific ways that racial inequities and in some cases, other forms of oppression harm students, as well as giving concrete examples of things that can be done and are being done to improve things in classrooms, centering the voices and work of people of color including both students and educators.
I highly, highly recommend this. Feb 06, Liz Murray rated it it was amazing Shelves: A must-read for any teacher anywhere. Lisa Delpit draws on personal experience to put forward her ideas regarding culturally responsive pedagogy. I didn't find anything she said controversial, simply humanistic. Neither did I find her preachy. Her comments stand on their own. Lisa Delpit confirmed many things that I intuitively felt. As a white teacher I was struck by her comments regarding white teachers feeling they needed to hold back in order to be culturally sensitive. E An incredible book.
Educators need to be aware of hegemonic practice in order for students and teachers to effectively question and change the status quo. I'm sure I'll be using this book as an educational tool, along with works by Freire and hooks as long as I'm teaching. Jun 27, Charlie rated it it was ok.
Other People's Children
This book is about how students from minority backgrounds are failed by teachers with little understanding about different cultures. Little was shared about ways to address this issue, but it did open my eyes to the subtleties of racism. View all 9 comments. Sep 04, Sarah Land rated it it was amazing. The first section, Controversies Revisited, was a little challenging for me to get through as a reader. But every section after that and each article after that were brimming with such hope! This will be a book I revisit through the years and should be required reading for teachers!
Sep 04, Connor Oswald rated it it was amazing. I wish I had read it earlier in my teaching career. Nov 08, Tippy Jackson rated it it was amazing Shelves: This book basically sums up my experiences and philosophy regarding education in diverse classrooms. It was so validating to hear that so many people have reached the same conclusions I have and had the same issues. This is a collection of essays, so there is a little repetition, but it's not bad. There is a chapter describing the isolation and difficulty teachers of color have in being heard by their colleagues. The chapter is called "The Silenced Dialogue.
They clearly aren't hearing what she's actually saying. Some reviews say she leaves out white teachers or implies that white teachers can't do anything. But she clearly gives many, many examples of white teachers implementing fantastic culturally sensitive classroom techniques. Some say that she offers no solutions, only problems. Yet every chapter offers some solutions. From pairing student teachers with mentors to help prevent the feeling of isolation, to hiring a more diverse workforce, to making sure you're giving explicit directions to students, to details of how you can teach students standard english while not devaluing their linguistic differences from home, to educating yourself about the cultural history of your students as well as learning from their communities and families.
If you walked away from this book without at least one new idea, there's just no helping you. One review actually complained that it didn't provide information on how to "deal with" diverse students and problems in classroom management. If you're looking for some easy "tricks" for "dealing with" students, this isn't the book for you. Some cultural backgrounds require you to earn respect- it's not just given to you because you have a title.
I suppose this makes sense from cultures where people with authority positions haven't always had their best interest at heart.