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Lisa Delpit Presentation EDEL 505
Transcript of Lisa Delpit Presentation EDEL 505
How did that exercise make you feel?
Did you even
to read the text or share why you became a teacher?
Even if you didn't attempt the "iz" activities, imagine if you would be likely to participate in similar activities in the future. Why or why not?
"Here, finally, is multiculturalism with a human face."
- Teacher Magazine
What Should Teachers Do?
How do/can you include the cultural backgrounds of your students and their families in your classroom?
How do/can you integrate your students' interests into the curriculum?
The Culture of Power & The Silenced Dialogue
Curriculum in Canada has standards throughout the subjects intended to enhance understanding and
respect while accommodating for differences. However, are the objectives too broad and vague leading
to unclear teaching and assessment (Peck, Sears, Donaldson, 2008). The authors of this study ascertain
that these objectives are not being met; children’s understanding is often ignorant and can be hostile.
If they are willing to accommodate for differences this is most commonly based on passive goals rather
than based on values of justice and equality. How can we teach these values so they shape student’s
thoughts, feelings and actions?
Three of the guiding principles in Alberta Education for curriculum development are to (Government of
reflect the essential knowledge, skills and attitudes that Alberta students need to be well-
prepared for future learning and the world of work.
anticipate and plan for the needs of the future by considering the changes and developments in
society such as trends in employment, globalization and advances in technology.
incorporate values of good citizenship and respect for different languages and cultures.
All three of these principles require Alberta children to develop understanding and respect for all people
while accommodating for differences through empathy and thoughtful action. Banks outlined five
broad dimensions to guide this curricular construction: integrate content from a variety of cultures,
encourage children to critically think about the issues, reduce bias by reflecting on materials and
methods used, modify teaching practice to assure achievement of diverse cultures, and empower the
school culture by reflective programs and practices. (Banks & Banks, 1997)
Cultural and Linguistic Diversity
Delpit explains that racism is a toxin that we unconsciously breath in.
In the following clip, CNN has done a study which reveals that racism continues to be deeply embedded into the belief system of children. The children from various ethnic groups and various socioeconomic groups describe negative attributes to darker colored dolls and positive attributes to the lighter colored
This is an activity similar to one that Lisa Delpit has used to demonstrate that forcing speakers to monitor their language typically produces silence.
Constant corrections (while reading) may cause students to resist reading and to resent the teacher.
Lisa Delpit writes about multiculturalism in the classroom. She poses the urgent question: "Why do we have such a hard time making school a happy place for poor children and children of color?" Although much of her work focuses on African American culture in the United States, the concepts that she expresses are relevant in all classrooms.
In her work, Lisa Delpit questions the validity of popular teaching strategies for African American students. She encourages educators to recognize, acknowledge, and value the cultural strengths children bring to school.
Although much of her work focuses on African American students in the United States, her writing has implications for multicultural education on a global scale.
Multiplication is for White People
Delpit writes that a "Culture of Power" exists. There are five aspects:
1. Issues of power are enacted in classrooms.
2. There are codes or rules for participating in power; that is , there is a "Culture of Power."
3. The rules of the culture of power are a reflection of the rules of those who have power.
4. If you are not already a participant in the culture of power, being told explicitly the rules of that culture makes acquiring power easier.
5. Those with power are frequently least aware of- or least willing to acknowledge- its existence. Those with less power are often most aware of its existence.
Delpit writes that granting minority culture students access to this culture of power is paramount.
Just as Delpit truly appreciated a kind soul explicitly explaining the unspoken etiquette and customs in Papua New Guinea to her, Delpit advocates for the same explicit instruction in the classroom in order to provide an understanding of the culture of power so that all students might be granted access to it and therefore the ability to fully participate in mainstream [American] life.
Delpit struggles through the "skills" vs. "process" debate- a consideration of the best instructional methodology- and concludes that understanding the differing perspectives on the debate (pro "skills" and pro "process") can lead to an understanding of the alienation and miscommunication, and thereby to an understanding of minority culture perspectives, or the "silenced dialogue."
She goes on to explain that she does not believe that students should be taught to passively adopt an alternate code. They must be encouraged to understand the value of their own code and culture, as well as to understand the power realities of the culture of power.
Our language embraces us long before we are defined by any other medium of our identity. Our language plays a pivotal role in determining who we are.
We cannot constantly correct children and expect them to continue to want to like us or develop a relationship with us.
Delpit explains that if students are to learn a second language at school (Standard English, for example), teachers must not only see their students as nondeficient, they must understand their brilliance, and the brilliance of their home language.
If we are truly to add another language form to the repertoire of minority children, we must embrace the children, their interests, their mothers, and their language. We must make them feel welcomed and invited by allowing their interests, culture, and history into the classroom. We must reconnect them with their own brilliance and gain their trust so that they will learn from us. We must respect them so that they feel connected to us. Then, and only then, might they be willing to adopt our language form as one to be added to their own.
Delpit believes that with some attention and thought, any teacher should be able to create curriculum connections for many school-based subjects with the interests' of minority group students. When students' interests are addressed at school, they are more likely to connect with the school, with the teacher, with the academic knowledge, and with the school's language form.
The quality of the following video clip is very poor. Follow this link for a better version.
In her article "Lessons from Teachers," Lisa Delpit offers 10 suggestions to assist teachers in including minority students in classrooms:
1.Teach more, not less, content to poor, urban children
2. Ensure all children gain access to conventions/strategies essential to success in American society
3. Whatever methodology/instructional program used, demand critical thinking
4. Provide the emotional ego strength to challenge racist societal views of the competence and worthiness of children and their families
5. Recognize and build on children's strengths
6. Use familiar metaphors, analogies, and experiences from the children's world to connect what children already know to school knowledge
7. Create a sense of family and caring in the service of academic achievement
8. Monitor/assess children's needs and address them with a wealth of diverse strategies
9. Honour and respect children's home culture
10. Foster a sense of children's connection to community
Education for all children should be “special”—that is, specially designed to discover the strengths and accommodate the needs of each child.
If the curriculum we use to teach our children does not connect in positive ways to the culture young people bring to school, it is doomed to failure.
Successful instruction is constant, rigorous, integrated across disciplines, connected to students’ lived cultures, connected to their intellectual legacies, engaging, and designed for critical thinking and problem solving that is useful beyond the classroom.
Minority students must be helped to overcome the negative stereotypes about themselves and their communities that permeate our culture. We can and must build curricula that connect to our students’ interests, thereby allowing them to connect the knowns to the unknowns. We cannot allow an expectation gap to result in an achievement gap.
Much of Delpit's work pertains to specific geographical regions and specific cultural and linguistic minority groups. Although the presence of Ebonics, for example, is very rare in Canadian schools, we can make connections and draw similarities to our Canadian multicultural school context.
Think of the students in your class this year. Is there a uniform cultural and/or linguistic population?
This video clip is taken from a documentary called "Speak It: From the Heart of Black Nova Scotia," made in 1992.
What connections can you find to "the culture of power" in this video?
How do you think Lisa Delpit would respond to this?