A6- Controversies

Delpit admits that the “Skills and Other Dilemmas” article began, “as a letter to a University of Alaska colleague to lay out my concerns with the writing project movement and to detail the frustrations many teachers of color felt at being excluded from educational dialogue–in this case, the dialogue about literacy instruction” (Delpit, “Skills” 180). As Delpit began teaching and working with other African American teachers and students, her thoughts dramatically changed. First of all, black teachers believed that their students were already fluent. Since their students had mastered fluency, the teachers wanted to push their students to the next level. “They are anxious to move to the next step, the step vital to success in America–the appropriation of the oral and written forms demanded by the mainstream” (Delpit, “Skills” 184).

Lisa D. Delpit’s “The Silenced Dialogue: Power and Pedagogy in Educating Other People’s Children” addresses concerns about “skills” versus “process” approaches to writing instruction in regards to how these approaches affect students who do not belong to what she calls “the culture of power.”The culture of power in our schools, Delpit states, comprises white and middle/upper-middle class students. These students tend to do better in school because, claims Delpit, they hold “cultural capital;” they already possess the discourse patterns and values that are reflected in our educational system. Students without cultural capital tend to struggle, according to Delpit, because they must learn new language codes and value systems, many of which are implicit. “When implicit codes are attempted across cultures,” Delpit explains, “communication frequently breaks down.” These students often find themselves being held accountable for knowing a set of rules that no one has taught them.

In the article “Language Diversity and Learning” the author Lisa Delpit discusses the issue of varying languages and dialects in the classroom. Her ultimate argument is that our country and its schools are only becoming more diverse, and that we must pay attention and be accepting of language diversity to educate this diverse population. Delpit warns about effective filter and trying to force standard english on our students. Affective filter is something that disrupts a student’s ability to learn when he or she becomes unmotivated or anxious.

The first article I reviewed was about diversity in the classroom. The article came from a chapter in a book about innovative teaching strategies. The article talked about today’s classrooms being very different from those in the past. Also by using the strengths and originality of diverse students, the final classroom product can be much stronger than the product of an assimilated, cookie-cutter one. It also talked about how changes in the classroom are still continuing today and that classrooms in the future could look different than today. “Educators need to be flexible, aware of trends and patterns, and able to respond to continuing challenges.”

The second article that I reviewed was about how new teachers of color negotiate sociocultural challenges in the classroom.  The call to recruit and retain teachers of color in urban high-minority schools is based on an assumption of a cultural match with students. Yet new teachers of color may find themselves challenged by students with whom they are supposedly culturally matched. The study examines the induction experiences of new teachers of color in urban high-minority schools as they negotiate challenges about cultural identifications. Teachers drew on “emergent multicultural capital” to negotiate challenges in ways that shaped teaching practice.

What I learned from the Other People’s Children articles written by Lisa Delpt was all about the diversities that can exist in a classroom and how teachers need to adapt to them. Delpt brought up a lot of big controversies that exist in today’s society and education system. One of the controversies that she explored is how usually the part of society that is higher in class usually doesn’t acknowledge the power struggle between them in the lower class. Reading all these articles I was not surprised by all of it. Today’s classrooms are getting more and more filled up with kids from different diversities and backgrounds. It’s important for educators to learn the proper ways to teach and the communication skills they must use to make each student feel welcome. It’s the duty of teachers to be able to give each student the most enriching education possible not matter their background.

Work Cited:

-Delpt, Lisa. Other People’s Children: Cultural Conflict in the Classroom. 1st. 2006. Print.



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