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FREE ß Other People's Children: Cultural Conflict in the Classroom ⚠ Winner of an American Educational Studies Association Critics Choice Award and Choice Magazine s Outstanding Academic Book Award, and voted one of Teacher Magazine s great books, Other People s Children has sold over , copies since its original hardcover publication This anniversary paperback edition features a new introduction by Delpit as well as new framing essays by Herbert Kohl and Charles PayneIn a radical analysis of contemporary classrooms, MacArthur Award winning author Lisa Delpit develops ideas about ways teachers can be better cultural transmitters in the classroom, where prejudice, stereotypes, and cultural assumptions breed ineffective education Delpit suggests that many academic problems attributed to children of color are actually the result of miscommunication, as primarily white teachers and other people s children struggle with the imbalance of power and the dynamics plaguing our systemA new classic among educators, Other People s Children is a must read for teachers, administrators, and parents striving to improve the quality of America s education system An eye opener 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 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 in power way of speaking writing learning relating.Shook me up a little when she points out the flaws in the Graves Co writing workshop instructional methods when used as a blanket curriculum because I had not yet taken a truly critical eye to it or any of my readings up til now 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 This book is based on a series of research papers written by Delpit and she makes it clear that the first two chapters have proven controversial over the years This is interesting, because it is likely that these chapters remain just as controversial today.There is a really useful divide in the theory involving teaching children to read, with right wing types likely to stress the importance of skills based methods of instruction, while left wing types are likely to stress the reader s construct This book is based on a series of research papers written by Delpit and she makes it clear that the first two chapters have proven controversial over the years This is interesting, because it is likely that these chapters remain just as controversial today.There is a really useful divide in the theory involving teaching children to read, with right wing types likely to stress the importance of skills based methods of instruction, while left wing types are likely to stress the reader s construction of meaning as the best way to learn to read This often comes down to what is referred to as either whole language on phonics Delpit presents an interesting twist on this Her point is that when many well meaning people are trying to teach young black children to read, ideology can get in the way whether right or left wing ideology while what is actually needed is a focus on what works Now, the problem with trying to simplify her ideas is that I ve immediately gone too far This isn t at all just a let s see what works and do that sort of book Her work is based on theory but her point remains simpleminded applications of ideology do not help children of colour learn how to read.The theory she proposes is similar to Freire s idea of teach the world as you teach the word to me It is not that you can get away with not teaching the word if you teach the world rather, you need to teach both and to do so at the same time This brings us to what might be understood as the other problem with her theory one that I think many people would probably get upset with her over For a long time people on the left have been concerned with what are called deficit models of education for disadvantaged groups One of the standard versions of this relates to Bernstein s theories, particularly around his ideas of linguistic codes The short version is that Bernstein did research in the 1960 s looking into how the speech acts of middle and working class children differed He found that the middle class kids spoke like books , while you really had to be standing beside the working class kids to understand what they were talking about The middle class kids had two linguistic codes they could rely on a concrete one just as the working class kids had for when they were talking with those immediately around them and auniversal one for when they were talking to the teacher or when they need to speak to people in authority This second code is particularly prized at school and it therefore gives middle class children an advantage over their working class peers, particularly in the classroom The solution seemed simple All you needed to do, to make the world aequal place, was to give working class the same access to this universal linguistic code they lacked That is, the working class kids have a deficit and so if overcome that deficit everything will be great Bernstein nether actually said this, as far as I can tell, but many of his followers certainly acted as if he had The problem is that this type of deficit idea seems to imply that black or working class children are stupid and that was certainly never Bernstein s belief This often meant that programs were developed to teach the children lacking these skills as if they really were stupid One of the great things about people is that they really do know when they are being patronised Which means that too often when people are trying to teach people the language of power what actually happens is that the people being tuught feel as if they are being made fun of or disrespected at least and that does as much to stop them from learning as anything else you can think of.Delpit s point is that you need to not only teach the highly prized language but to do so in ways that respect their linguistic codes at the same time There is a lovely bit here where a teacher comes into a room only to find her students impersonating her language That is, doing exactly what she had been trying to teach them to do, although, without the irony, but to which they had been actively resisting for months.This is also true of second language learning If you can rely on the resources you have from you first language and to then build on that, then learning a second language is much easier But if you have never been allowed to consolidate your first language, then learning a second one is almost impossible And yet, this is exactly what we do in schools all of the time In the USA, for instance, children whose first language is Spanish are not taught Spanish in schools Rather, they are taught in English, often a language they do not understand But the tragedy of this is that it means that they don t know enough of Spanish to help them learn English With two languages known imperfectly, they have no resources to help them learn.The same goes for working class children or children of colour Because their linguistic codes are totally devalued by the schools they attend, so much so that they are effectively taught to shun their own linguistic codes, they are taught that what is most central to them as humans, their ability to communicate, is flawed But without their own linguistic code being prized I m the classroom, they effectively have nothing to use to help them learn the highly prized code.And it gets worse everyone they love speaks the linguistic code that the school is telling them is worthless If you ever needed a reason to reject learning then being told you and everyone you love is worthless would be as good a reason to reject that education as I can think of.Delpit is certainly not saying that we should not teach the highly prized language of power Quite the opposite She is also not saying that children of black or working class parents can get by with their own quaint linguistic codes Gaining access to the language of power gives access to power itself But that does not have to come at the price of the rejection of the value of your own language Just as Spanish speaking children should not have to lose their first language so as tolerant to speak English and that in fact they will learn English better andquickly the better their Spanish, so too with working class children This isn t deficit learning It is learning To learn any new language necessarily means having to learn the skills associated with that language But if learning is to occur it needs to happen in a way that leaves the child with their self and community respect intact I wasn t sure how I would feel about this book when I first started reading it It seemed the author was way into race issues in a way that would make me feel guilty as a white woman who has chosen to work with ethnic and linguistic minority communities But Delpit s message is not one of hate or hopelessness The bottom line is that everyone can learn, bias exists and that thoughtful teachers should go to whatever means necessary to educate their students, teaching them to be successful in main I wasn t sure how I would feel about this book when I first started reading it It seemed the author was way into race issues in a way that would make me feel guilty as a white woman who has chosen to work with ethnic and linguistic minority communities But Delpit s message is not one of hate or hopelessness The bottom line is that everyone can learn, bias exists and that thoughtful teachers should go to whatever means necessary to educate their students, teaching them to be successful in mainstream America She advocates neither rejecting home language or dialect nor teaching it exclusively Rather, she asserts, students must learn the tools and skills that are necessary for success in modern America, namely standard English Teaching standard English and language skills requires different things for different students Teachers should not be surprised if those who do not already have skills in standard English requirethan a self discovery or process approach to learning I for one appreciate Delpit s perspective and the high expectations she sets for all students I despised this book It s a bitter, vitriolic, insensitive, racist, unsourced, and highly paranoid attack on liberal white educators The book is literally a practice in reverse prejudice Incredibly, Delpit s argument is one I agree with that students should be taught Standard English as opposed to African American Vernacular English because the gatekeepers who are likely to decide students futures such as employers, interviewers, college admissions boards, and the like tend to hold vari I despised this book It s a bitter, vitriolic, insensitive, racist, unsourced, and highly paranoid attack on liberal white educators The book is literally a practice in reverse prejudice Incredibly, Delpit s argument is one I agree with that students should be taught Standard English as opposed to African American Vernacular English because the gatekeepers who are likely to decide students futures such as employers, interviewers, college admissions boards, and the like tend to hold variant English dialects against would be applicants However, Delpit delivers the point in such a way that it turns me off almost immediately I was variously enraged and disgusted by reading this book Delpit makes some incredibly ridiculous claims, such as black people do not trust statistics, and her main argument seems to be white educators should trust my ancedotes over decades of scientific study, because I am black It must be noted that Delpit grew up in a very volatile time period I assume she attended school under the black cloud of racist opposition to desegregation, and so it makes perfect sense that she and a cadre of black educators like her are still stuck in the anti majoritarian mindset of that time period.However, she does herself no favors with her blatant and unfair attacks against all Caucasian educators Repeatedly she suggests that white liberals are too scared to use authority in the classroom, and that they are too wimpy to properly teach African American children who Delpit treats as if they are a species apart, and so require different teaching methods as compared to all other racial groups 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