“The Silenced Dialogue: Power and Pedagogy inEducating Other People’s Children” • Summary and Response to Lisa Delpit’s article by Amanda Rochwick
From Other People’s Children: Cultural Conflict in the Classroom• What must be done to help teachers and students better understand each other?• How can we stop training teachers to expect less of certain children?
But first, a little about Ms. Lisa Delpit… I went to Harvard!• holds the Benjamin E. Mays Chair of UrbanEducational Leadership at GSU• questions the validity of popular teachingstrategies for African American students• wants educators to recognize, acknowledge,and value the cultural strengths that a childbrings to school
The “Silenced Dialogue” -- What is it? Silence occurs when nonwhite teachers are “left out of the dialogue about how best to educate children of color” (23). Illustrations of the silence: • Native Alaskan quote • Black educator quote
Where is the Dialogue Silenced? • Skills-oriented approach vs. process- oriented approach • Writing process advocates dismiss teachers of color as “too skills oriented” which leads to feelings of estrangement (23).
The Essential Questions: How can such completecommunication blocks exist when both parties truly believe they have the same aims? How can the bitterness and resentment expressed by theeducators of color be drained so that the sores can heal? What can be done?
Ms. Delpit’s thinking:“The differing perspectives on thedebate over ‘skills’ versus ‘process’approaches can lead to anunderstanding of the alienation andmiscommunication, and thereby toan understanding of the ‘silenceddialogue’” (24).
The Culture of PowerLisa Delpit claims that aspects of power havecreated the schism between liberal educationalmovements and that of non-white, non-middle-class teachers and communities.
The Culture of Power There are Five aspects of Power:1. Issues of power are enacted in classrooms. Ex. Power of teacher over students,power of publishers of textbooks, etc.
The Culture of Power 2. There are codes or rules forparticipating in power; that is, there is a ‘culture of power.’”Ex. Linguistic forms, communicative strategies -- ways of talking, ways of writing, etc.
The Culture of Power3. The rules of the culture of power are a reflection of the rules of the culture of those who have power.Therefore, success in school is predicated upon acquisition of those who are in power.
The Culture of Power4. If you are not already a participant in the culture of power, being told explicitly the rules of that culture makes acquiring power easier.Think about going to a new place: Wouldn’t you like to be directly informed about the culture?
The Culture of Power 5. Those with power are frequently least aware of -- or least willing to acknowledge -- its existence. Thosewith less power are often most aware of its existence.
Statements from the Culture of Power Statement Made Differing Perspective“I want the same thing for everyone Parents outside of the culture ofelse’s children as I want for mine” power often want something else: “My kids know how to be black – you all teach them how to be successful in the white man’s world.” “Child-centered, whole language, Teachers do students no service toand process approached are needed suggest that product is notin order to allow a democratic state important. They will be judged on of free, empowered adults, and their product, regardless the because research has shown that process, in life. children learn best through these methods”
Statements from the Culture of Power Statement Made Differing Perspectives “Children have the right to their We must accept students but also own language, their own culture. take responsibility to teach them. We must fight cultural hegemony Tell students that their language andand fight the system by insisting that cultural style is unique and children be allowed to express wonderful but that there is a themselves in their own language political power game in America – style” they have to access the power codes. “It’s really a shame that she seems Different cultures address each other to be so authoritarian, so focused in different styles. Take Shirley on skills and so teacher directed. Brice Heath’s study, “What no Those poor kids never seem to be bedtime story means” for example. allowed to really express their We can’t judge one culture by the creativity” values of our own.
What we can learn:• Teach the codes of • Understand the need power so students can for both “skills- participate in oriented” and mainstream American “process-oriented” life. approaches.• Consult with adults • Communicate across who share your cultures, and listen to students culture to find alternative points of the best ways to teach view... them.
BUT... “To do so takes a special kind oflistening, listening that requires not only open eyes and ears, but open hearts and minds. We do not reallysee through out eyes or hear through our ears, but through our beliefs” (46).
Images for My Presentation: All images for this PowerPoint Presentation were found at the following websites: •Letters to the Next President •Voices from the Field •FIU’s Center for Urban Education •Meet the Commissioners •Other People’s Children
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