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 Other People's Children 
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I was a little surprised at how many black educators said that "white folk" didn't listen or always thought we knew what was best on how to teach black students. I know that many statistics used to show black students behind white students as far as test scores and college graduation rates are concerned, I'm not sure of the rates now, but I didn't think that meant we needed to teach them different. That was the vibe I was getting from the Silenced Dialogue chapter. Maybe I'm just ignorant here but I thought that we taught each group of children in a class the same way. I understand, being a Special Education teacher, that many children learn differently, but I thought that was due to a learning difficulty, not a skin color. I don't want to sound like I disagree with what the chapter is saying because it does make a good point at the end when it says that educators of all races and ethnicities should get together and listen to one another. But doesn't this happen already? Workshops, conferences, and other things like that, don't they all come together and work as a team to create new ideas and better strategies? I don't know... what do you guys think about that chapter? Am I just way off?

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Kristen Billings


Sun Nov 12, 2006 2:09 pm
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This excerpt really hit home with me because I teach process writing in my English 1000 class. I agree with you Kristen that some of the problems mentioned in this section could be brought on by different learning styles; however, I also see that differences in race and class can lead to harmful expectations placed on teacher and student. The author of this text is not asking that “we get together and listen to one anotherâ€

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April Eichmiller


Sun Nov 12, 2006 8:32 pm
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I did a little digging and found the handout Delpit gives during her conferences.
Ten Factors ESsential to Success in Urban Classrooms
1. Do not teach less content to poor, urban children, but understand their brilliance and teach more.
2. Whatever metholodogy or instructional program is used, demand critical thinking.
3. Assure that all children gain access to "basic skills," the conventions and strategies that are essential to success in American education.
4. Challenge racist societal views of competence and worthiness of the children and their families, and help them to do the same.
5. Recognize and build strengths.
6. Use familiar metaphors and experiences from the children's world to connect what they already know to school knowledge.
7. Create a sense of family and caring in the service of academic achievement.
8. Monitor and assess needs and them address them with a wealth of diverse strategies.
9. Honor and respect the children's home and ancestral culture(s).
10. Foster a sense of children's connection to community- to something greater than themselves.


Another important issue is that the teacher cannot be the only expert in the classroom. I always let the students be the teachers and myself be the facilitator. My favorite activities are the ones in which the students teach eachother. They love to be the teacher and the "students" seem to absorb more of the information when it comes from their friends- in their own language.

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Selena Hicks


Mon Nov 13, 2006 8:11 am
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Did anybody else think Ishmael when you got to the Lessons from Alaska chapter? About saying hello to Denali, and being a part of the world rather than dominating it? I had an "AHA!" moment :-)

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Nicki Boyette


Mon Nov 13, 2006 6:47 pm
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I must admit, I felt a little defensive when reading things like, "I'm not going to let any man, woman, or child drive me crazy - white folks will try to do that to you if you let them," and "They [white people] don't really want to hear what you have to say. They wear blinders and earplugs." I wanted to ask Ms. Delpit, "So what do you WANT me to do?" Therefore, that's what I focused on throughout the remainder of the article - what ACTIONS do we take? What are her suggestions? My will, my desire is to help students from all walks of life succeed, but if there is this much difference in our cultures, I'm disappointed to know that I just don't know how.

I found that in the end, she and I agree in several areas:

A. We don't really see through our eyes or hear through out ears, but through our beliefs (which is why educators must change our beliefs about populations from various demographics).

B. We must keep the perspective that people are experts on their own lives, believing they are rational beings and therefore act rationally. In essence, we haven't really trusted people who are unlike us. If we don't trust them, generally we don't listen and accept.

Selena, thanks for "digging" out that to-do list. Ms. Delpit practices what she preaches about giving explicit instructions!

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Rena Powers


Mon Nov 13, 2006 9:59 pm
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