The first of these lessons comes from Papua New Guinea, where Delpit did research on academic systems amongst an incredibly diverse population of people. She tracks the success of the Vilis Tokples Schools, in which students are taught primarily in their own village/culture’s language at first and then (after receiving the critical cultural lessons of their people) learning English, the language of business and government. Delpit quotes Linguist Joshua Fishman: “The quest is for modernity … AND authenticity, simultaneously, for seeing the world, but ‘through our own eyes.'”
In “Hello, Grandfather” Delpit relates similar lessons that she learned from Alaska Natives while teaching at a teacher education college program in Fairbanks. The lessons tend to buck the typical “mainstream” thinking regarding such topics as literacy and pedagogy. In some minority cultures it is crucial to understand that context is more important than in mainstream Western culture, which revolves heavily on the “decontextualized word.” Likewise, community and connectedness tend to be of greater importance in minority cultures and should be taken into account in a multi-cultural classroom. Learning styles and basic modes of understanding are shown to be different depending on cultural backgrounds, and Delpit challenges educators to take these differences into account.
The third and final essay in this section focuses on “Rethinking Teacher Education for Diversity” and incorporates the feedback of minority educators as they consider the worth (or lack thereof) of their teacher training. The interviewees express frustration with the lack of openness to ideas of the minority and lack of appreciation for their unique experiences and narratives in comparison to the codified and research-based “white” ways of talking about education.
The first scholarly article that I reviewed was about future teachers and study abroad. This article talked about how colleges are now requiring students who plan on teaching that they study abroad. The goals that these schools have for requiring studying abroad are “1) how to prepare white, middle class, female students enrolled in teacher education programs to work with the increasingly diverse populations of students that they will teach in the future. 2) how to develop global perspectives in preservice teachers. Some programs, further seek to raise preservice teachers awareness of the struggle for social justice as an international issue. The article then discussed how a major challenge in teacher education is how to prepare the predominately white preservice teacher population to work with diverse students” (Phillion).
The second scholarly article that I reviewed was about Linguistic and cultural diversity in Europe. This article talked about how “one-third of the European population under the age of 35 years has an immigrant background. This is an important, but is not the only, cause of linguistic and cultural diversity in the European educational systems. Unfortunately, these systems did not in the past adapt very well to diversity among their populations. In all European school systems, pupils with immigrant backgrounds are severely disadvantaged” (Gogolin). The article then discussed the actual diversity in European Urban Areas. “Independent of
whether or not the school pays attention to it, diversity of languages and cultural backgrounds is a common element of the socialisation of all children in European urban areas, as Europe is an attractive target for migrants. In fact, all European societies are – and will remain – immigration societies” (Gogolin).
Delpit talks about other cultures she reminds us that we have our own biases whether we realize them or not. You may not be racist towards an ethnic group but there are still attitudes that you may have towards a group of people that are inaccurate. She says, “Even when individuals believe themselves to have good intentions, their own biases blind them from seeing the real people before them (74).” I also like that Delpit points out that, “diversity…is this country’s reality.” Why is it that in one of the most diverse places in the world there is not a good enough educational system to fit everyone? Delpit says, “…children learn to read only once, and if they learn to read in a language they already understand orally, they become literate much more quickly and effectively than do those who learn in a foreign language (88).” She proceeds to say, “They might go on to learn English literacy and other outside knowledge, but by first learning their own language and their own cultural values, they would always “know how to live at home (88).” Shouldn’t it be our goal to help students succeed wherever they end up? What if they end up moving back to their native home and stay there. By allowing students to learn about their culture in school they are able to hold onto their cultural ties.
-Delpt, Lisa. Other People’s Children: Cultural Conflict in the Classroom. 1st. 2006. Print.
-Gogolin, Ingrid. “Linguistic and cultural diversity in Europe: a challenge for educational research and practice.” 1. (2002): n. page. Print.
-Phillion, JoAnn. “Reimagining the Curriculum: Future Teachers and Study Abroad.” n. page. Print.